Barmitzvah boy at 21

June 13, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Jake Campbell celebrated his Barmitzvah today…at the age of 21!

Rabbi Eli Feldman (l) watches Jake Campbell perform his Barmitzvah all photos: Henry Benjamin

The Sutherland-based student was celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut with friends from AUJS in a Watson’s Bay hotel when Rabbi Eli Feldman approached Campbell’s companion Glen Falkenstein to let him know he would be visiting the University of New South Wales campus the next day. The Director of Young Adult Chabad asked Falkenstein how long it had been since he had put on tephillin…and then asked Campbell the same question. Campbell told Rabbi Feldman that he had never put on tephillin and that he had not had a Barmitzvah…but wanted one. They made a date for the following day for Campbell to put on tephillin for the first time. Rabbi Feldman got to work quickly. Following the Pizza and Parsha session on the following day at the University, the Rabbi set about preparing Campbell for the long-awaited Barmitzvah which he performed today at the Yeshiva Centre in Bondi as his family and friends looked on.

Jake and Rabbi Feldman watch the Torah being displayed

Campbell’s Polish-born mother Lilia was married to a non-Jew from whom she separated when Jake was a little boy. Throughout his childhood, Jake stayed close to his father but was always aware of his own Jewishness. “We kept a very Jewish home,” Lilia told J-Wire. But Jake did not want to make his father uncomfortable and his thirteenth birthday came and went without a Barmitzvah. All that slipped into the past this morning when he confidently mounted the Bimah and performed the long-overdue Barmitzvah. Jake got a new name. Jake Campbell became Yakov Israel ben Hersh, Hersh having been his mother’s father’s name. Mum Lilia also received her Hebrew name of Leah. She told J-Wire: “You can be the first to record my new name. I have decided to drop Campbell and take my maiden name of Rozenbaum.” A beaming Jake told J-Wire : “This is my dream come true.” Rabbi Feldman was also bursting with pride. He said: “I have been a rabbi for eight years and this is the proudest moment of my rabbinical career.” Every Thursday, Rabbi Eli Feldman holds his Pizza and Parsha sessions on the University of New South Wales campus. Arts/Education student Jake Campbell will take his place by  his side as the complete Jew he has aspired to be since childhood.

Jake, Rabbi Eli Feldman and Jake's friends

Rabbi Eli Feldman presents Jake with a Chumash

Lilia Rozenbaum with son Jake Campbell

Jake celebrates with his family

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