Why Did the Chief Rabbi Attend This Unusual Bat Mitzvah?

Why Did the Chief Rabbi Attend This Unusual Bat Mitzvah?

Yesterday I attended a bat mitzvah, and towards the end I was mightily surprised to see Israel’s chief rabbi, Rabbi David Lau.

Rabbi Lau is one of the busiest rabbis in the world. Why did he consider this bat mitzvah important enough to take the time out of his packed schedule to give a speech and his blessings to the bat mitzvah girl?

I’ll give you some hints.

Rabbi Lau didn’t come because:
He knew the bat mitzvah girl or her family.
Or because the bat mitzvah girl and her family are famous.
Or because she comes from a family that is wealthy or powerful or in the headlines for sad or happy reasons.

And he didn’t come because she’s a top student or a student leader or won a national essay contest on the vital importance of the Chief Rabbinate.

In fact, the bat mitzvah girl, and the 5 classmates who celebrated with her, will never write or read or talk or walk.

In this video, Rabbi Lau shares why it was so important for him to come to celebrate with the 4 girls and 2 boys celebrating their bar and bat mitzvahs at Aleh, Israel’s center for children with severe multiple disabilities.


  1. I too have a special child and seeing how Rabbi Lau spoke to each of them with such respect and dignity, acknowledging each one of them, made me cry. Thank you so much for posting this. May he be blessed and the children and their families as well.

    • JewishMom

      when I was there, one of the mothers came up to me and said, “jenny weisberg! are you going to write about this on your blog?” small world, out of 6 mothers, one of them happened to be a JewishMOM.com reader.
      I’m so very happy that this video is reaching so many more mothers of special children…

      • Hadassah Aber

        I am curious what was your connection to this event? Thanks for writing and sharing the video of Rabbi Lau. As a mother of a son with special needs I appreciate his respectful and positive comments.

        • JewishMom

          the youth group of my 13-year-old, Moriah, took on the bar-bat mitzvah as a volunteer project, they raised money to buy balloons and food for the buffet, and made big banners. I was interested to see it, so I also went…

  2. How beautiful! Such nachas 🙂

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