It’s never too late to have a bar mitzvah. The world’s oldest man, 113-year-old Yisrael Kristal, a Holocaust survivor living in Israel, is living proof of that. His daughter, Shulimath Kristal Kuperstoch, recently told the DPA news agency that 100 family members will gather in Kristal’s home city of Haifa in the next few weeks to celebrate with him.
Kristal had his birthday last week, and was recognized as the world’s oldest man in March. So why did he skip his bar mitzvah celebration to begin with? Because of World War I. His dad was in the Russian army and his mother had died three years earlier, so there just wasn’t the opportunity.
During World War II, Kristal’s two children died–and then in 1944, he was sent to Auschwitz, where his wife was killed.
Eventually, in 1950, Kristal moved to Haifa with his second wife and their son, working as a candy confectioner. When asked what the secret to living a long life, Kristal aptly said:
“I don’t know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why. There have been smarter, stronger and better-looking men than me who are no longer alive. All that is left for us to do is to keep on working as hard as we can and rebuild what is lost.”
Well said. And mazel tov!