This is a photograph of Avram Scheinfeld at his bar mitzvah in Iasi in 1945 or 1946. Avram’s parents were Paulina (housewife) and Strul (scholar and schochet). Avram currently lives in Germany, and is a light industry engineer.
Would you like to know more?
Bar/Bat Mitzvah – Bar mitzvah for boys or bat mitzvah for girls refers to the ages, 12 and 13 respectively, at which a Jew becomes obligated to fulfil the Jewish commandments and is allowed to participate fully in Jewish ritual and law. Since the Middle Ages, Jewish families have celebrated this milestone with a variety of different ceremonies and celebrations that have developed over time and place. In the past only boys celebrated their coming of age, though in recent years almost all communities also celebrate the girls' Bat Mitzvah. Bar and bat mitzvahs may consist of the celebrant being called up to the Torah for an aliyah, reading the weekly Torah portion or Haftarah, giving a sermon about the Torah reading, or leading the prayer service. Parties are probably the most common way of celebrating this milestone with family and friends. In recent years, participating in a social action project has also become quite common in some communities.
Jewish Community of Romania – The Jewish history of Romania began in Roman times when a small number of Jews settled there. Jews began arriving in Romania in large numbers at the end of the fourteenth century after they had been expelled from Hungary. The community grew after the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 and then, later, after the Chmielnicki massacres in Poland in 1648–1649. The Jews of Romania suffered anti-Semitism and were denied citizenship and faced many restrictions. In the 1800s, Romania fought for independence, first against the Ottomans and then against Russia. Romania gained independence in 1878 but, despite pressure from the world community, they continued to deny citizenship to Jews. Many Jews left Romania due to the anti- Semitic atmosphere in the country. In the years before World War II, there were over 750,000 Jews living in Romania. Although there was a Sephardi, Ladino-speaking community in Romania, most Romanian Jews were of Polish or Russian descent, spoke Yiddish, and followed Ashkenazi customs. When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, the Romanian government enacted additional exclusionary laws against Jews. Romania became a satellite of Germany in 1940, and by the end of the Holocaust over half of the Jewish population had been killed. After World War II, Romania came under Soviet rule but was allowed to have a level of religious freedom that was unavailable to others living in the Soviet Union. Large numbers of Romania’s surviving Jews moved to Israel and other countries. Today the community consists of approximately 15,000 people.
Tallit (Prayer Shawl) – A tallit is a large garment that is worn over the clothing during morning prayers. A tallit katan refers to the smaller garment that is worn underneath one’s clothing. Both garments are square or rectangular and have tzitzit (fringes) tied to the four corners. Many tallitot are made of white woolen material with black stripes; however, nowadays, tallitot are designed in a variety of colours and designs. The tzitzit contain a total of 613 knots, representing the traditional number of 613 mitzvot (commandments). The biblical source of wearing tzitzit comes from Numbers 15:38: “Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner.” Different traditions exist regarding when a tallit is first worn: some begin wearing a tallit when reaching the age of bar mitzvah, while others begin after marriage. Traditionally, a tallit is only worn by men, but in some communities it has become customary for women to wear a tallit.
Tefillin – Tefillin or phylacteries are a set of black leather boxes and straps. The boxes contain small scrolls of parchment on which are written verses from the Torah. Tefillin are worn by adult men in Orthodox communities for weekday morning prayers. In reform and liberal communities, tefillin may also be worn by women. The purpose of tefillin, according to the Torah, is to be a sign and a way to remember the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt. One box of tefillin is placed above the forehead and another is strapped along the right arm (or left arm if right-handed).