CBNNews.com - SDEROT, Israel - Hundreds of Israeli Air Force (IAF) officers and soldiers arrived in Sderot Sunday to help 50 boys celebrate their Bar Mitzvah.
Jewish boys traditionally mark their 13th birthday by becoming a Bar Mitzvah (son of the commandment), when they are called to the synagogue's bema (platform) for the first time to read from the weekly Torah (law) portion.
"There has yet to be such a Bar Mitzvah of hundreds of officers and soldiers in Israel," said Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who took part in the ceremony.
"I am overwhelmed by the Air Force soldiers' spirit of giving," he said. "You have proved that your heart is sweet not only on the security-military side," Rabbi Metzger said.
During the ceremony, IAF Brigadier General Yaacov Bortman addressed the gathering.
"This act of volunteering shows that the people of Israel are one people. The situation [in Sderot] is complicated," General Bortman said. "As a person in uniform and as an Israeli citizen, value what you do," he said.
"The people of Israel have lived by the sword for years," said the general. "We have had a war with Iran [Persia] since ancient times, and this war continues," he said.
"Finish your studies, go on and take the take the torch forward," the general told the Bar Mitzvah boys. "I want you to remember this evening and the many people who came here to be with you," he said.
Source: YNet news service