First Bar Mitzvah at Jewish Care’s Princess Alexandra Home

06 Aug 2015

Jamie Wilford has become the first Bar Mitzvah boy to celebrate his special day during a Shacharit Service at Jewish Care’s Princess Alexandra Home last week.

Jamie read his Bar Mitzvah and Haftorah portions to the pride of his grandma, Mavis Roth, 81, where she is a resident, and his grandpa Joseph Roth who is a long standing volunteer there.

As well as their family and friends Jamie’s family welcomed all the residents, staff and volunteers to enjoy the service and celebrate together with Jamie who will be starting Haberdashers School this September.

nullAviva and John, Jamie’s parents are members of the Northwood United Synagogue and Aviva originally had the idea for Jamie to have a Bar Mitzvah at the Home; she says

We couldn’t have a Bar Mitzvah without Jamie’s grandmother participating in some way.  As Mummy couldn’t get to the Shabbat Morning Service which was at our home in Northwood, it seemed ideal for him to read the first part of his Bar Mitzvah Sedra and the Haftorah at the Home at the previous Thursday’s Shacharit Service.  We felt it would be really meaningful for Jamie to share this special Simcha with his grandma and all the residents, volunteers and staff at the Home who know him well now.”

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The Bar Mitzvah service was followed by a le Chayim celebration and a special Bar Mitzvah lunch given by the family.

Jewish Care encourages families and friends to bring simchas into their homes and centres celebrating special occasions with the wider Jewish Care family. It isn’t the first time the Roth family have had a celebration in the home. Joseph commented;

“We always arrange Mavis’s birthday party with an entertainer for the residents and we did the same for our 60th anniversary last year - it’s encouraging to see more relatives following us. This is the first Bar Mitzvah at the Home and we hope there will be many more. We are all very proud of Jamie.”

Jamie said,

I didn’t realise how emotional it would be for me to have a Bar Mitzvah at grandma’s home.  She was so happy and proud and all her friends loved it too

Jamie’s grandpa, Joseph, has been a volunteer at the Princess Alexandra Home since Mavis became a resident nine years ago. Joseph organises the rotas for Friday night Kiddush and Shabbat services and other activities to ensure that residents can enjoy and celebrate all the Jewish festivals as well as being involved in various activities for the daily programmes.  Joseph says,

“I aim to make a real difference for the residents by encouraging them to maintain a positive and cheerful outlook through helping with the activities programme where I am able to.”

“It was only after I became so closely involved with Jewish Care that I realised how essential volunteers are in the successful running of homes such as Princess Alexandra by helping with the various activities -  and we can always do with more of them.”

Elizabeth Mandeya, the Home Manager said,

“We’d like to thank Jamie and his family for all that they do to bring Jewish life into the home and especially for organising the celebration here and sharing his Bar Mitzvah with residents, staff and volunteers.

“Now we’ve had a Bar Mitzvah lunch and a wedding tea so all we need now is a Berit Milah baby naming breakfast at the Home – it’s a real joy to celebrate all the stages of Jewish life together.“

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