(JTA) — Ivan and Rebecca Gabor have been married for 34 years. And for 34 years, Rebecca had heard her husband lament that he never had a bar mitzvah celebration.
Born in Transylvania, Ivan and his family moved to Hungary when he was a young child, changing their last name from Grossman to Gabor. When the Nazis came, his father was sent to a forced labor camp; Ivan and his mother went into hiding.
His father returned at the end of the war but was very sick, said Gabor, whose self-published memoir, “Echoes of My Footsteps,” tells the story of his survival and his life in Israel and Argentina before settling in the United States in 1977.
“He was planning my bar mitzvah,” Gabor said. “He even wrote a speech. But he passed away. I never had a bar mitzvah.”
“Every time we would go to a bar mitzvah, he would say ‘I never had a bar mitzvah,’ ” Rebecca said.
Their son, Gabe, adds, “I can’t remember a time in my life when he didn’t remind me of the fact that he didn’t have a bar mitzvah.”
Rebecca decided to do something about it — without telling her husband. READ MORE