A Jewish child becomes an adult all at once, in a single day. A boy becomes a bar mitzvah on his thirteenth birthday; a girl becomes a bat mitzvah on her twelfth. At that time, this fresh initiate suddenly finds him- or herself a full-fledged member of the Jewish community. In many ways, one's bar- or bat mitzvah is the most important day in the life of a Jew.
Throughout the generations, children have awaited this great event with excited anticipation – and rightly so. Their joyous excitement is not only a natural result but a necessary component of this transition. That joy and that excitement give a child the desire and the strength to cope with the major changes that are about to occur in his or her life.
But what about a child who will be going through this major life passage without his father? Without her mother? Who will buy him tefillin and a new suit? Who will sit beside him/her at the head table, as he accepts wishes of "Mazal Tov!"? What about a child whose home life is shadowed in poverty and the struggle to survive, with no extra money for celebrations, no matter how significant or long-awaited the milestone? An orphaned child faces countless obstacles and lives with inner wounds that will never heal. How can we inject the joy of celebration into a young orphan's life – a life in which there may well have been precious little to celebrate until then?
For over a century, Diskin - the Diskin Home for Orphans has accepted responsibility for thousands of young people whose lives have been shattered by tragedy and loss, working with and supporting these precious souls. When the time comes for a bar or bat mitzvah celebration, Diskin provides all the needs for the celebrant and his/her family: help buying tefillin, full sets of clothing for the bar/bat mitzvah celebrant and his/her siblings, a festive meal for family and friends, and other related expenses.
No one will ever be able to restore what these children have lost. But Diskin offers these children the gift of joy, self-confidence, and celebration -- giving them the chance to feel like full-fledged members of the Jewish People, "just like everyone else."