Holocaust survivor celebrates long-awaited Bar Mitzvah
AVENTURA, Fla. (WSVN) -- After 67 years, a local Holocaust survivor has received the birthday party of a lifetime.
Family and friends of Ivan Gabor gathered at a synagogue in Aventura for a surprise Bar Mitzvah on Sunday. "It's for me? I am dreaming? Or is this real?" recalled Ivan Gabor.
"I thought he was going to faint," said Rebecca Gabor.
Rebecca Gabor organized the big event to not only celebrate his 80th birthday, but to give her husband the party he had always dreamed of. "What resonated with me is that he always said two things to me," she said. "The first thing is that his father died when he was 13 years old, and he never got to have a Bar Mitzvah."
In the Jewish faith, once a boy turns 13, he is thrown a Bar Mitzvah to celebrate his coming of age, but a tragic mark in history over-shadowed any notion of celebration. "To me, that doesn't happen. I'm a Holocaust survivor and the time of the Holocaust and after, it wasn't a time for celebrating," said Ivan Gabor, "and my parents weren't able to organize for me some Bar Mitzvah."
Ivan Gabor grew up to become a businessman and an author, but he still longed for his right of passage. "He kept on saying to me was, if I live to be 80, what will happen? And I figured this is the opportunity for me to finish what his parents couldn't do for him," said Rebecca Gabor.
His son, Gabriel, never thought he'd be attending his father's coming of age party or give a speech, reading a letter written by his grandfather to his own dad several years ago. "Today is 67 years in the making. I've dreamed of making a speech at my son's Bar Mitzvah, but I never thought that I would have an opportunity to speak at my father's Bar Mitzvah."
An emotional moment for Ivan Gabor, whose father left behind a speech he would never give at a bar mitzvah his son would finally have. "This is a wonderful feeling for me and as long as I'll be alive, of course I never will forget."
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