This is the seventh year that a bar mitzva mega event for orphans was held - an initiative that evolved from a project originally geared toward olim (new immigrants) from the FSU. MK Yair Shamir (Likud - Yisrael Beiteinu) was among an array of officials present at the event, and he noted that his father, late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir had attended the first event held for 1000 Russian olim and he was continuing the tradition.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan attended the celebration alongside a host of other MKs.
Bar mitzva boy Yehuda Habernas of Kfar Adumim told The Jerusalem Post that his father died of Cancer six years ago, and he appreciates being with other children who understand his position and don't treat him differently. "They know you're a normal person - it's not that you're special or something," he said.