Oldest Man in the World Celebrates His Bar Mitzvah

Usually a Jewish boy will celebrate his bar mitzvah at the age of 13.

By Israel Heute Redaktion |
Photo: Israel Kristal

By doing so he is showing that from a religious point of view he has become a man. Believe it or not, Israel Kristal from Haifa took his official step into manhood 100 years late, at the age of 113.

Kristal was born in 1903 in Poland. When he was of bar mitzvah age World War I broke out. Shortly after the war his parents died, and Kristal moved to Lodz, where he worked in a candy store belonging to relatives. Later, the Nazis deported Kristal to Auschwitz and then to other concentration camps. He was the only member of his large family to survive the Holocaust. Kristal was a skeletal 82 pounds (37 kilos) when he and the other Jewish prisoners were liberated.

In 1950, Israel Kristal, who in the meantime had started his own small family, came to the Jewish state. Here, too, he opened a candy store, and has been working in that trade right up to the present day. As a religious Jew he always dreamt of making up his bar mitzvah. This year he fulfilled that dream. His now large family enthusiastically took part in the ceremony, with his daughter commenting, “Our father Israel Kristal already has 30 great-grand children. He is still strong and healthy and renowned for his intellectual curiosity. Father likes to tell stories from his life. For example, when he saw a car for the first time and asked himself how it could move without any horses.”

Why he has lived to such a great age Kristal cannot explain, but according to the Guinness Book of Records he is currently the oldest man in the world.

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