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A Bar Mitzvah Celebration

Monday morning, at a shul in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, a Russian Jewish boy was called to the Torah in honor of becoming a Bar-Mitzvah. Alex Tkach, still raw from his father's passing three weeks ago, donned tefillin like his dad did shortly before his death, with the help of F.R.E.E.'s Rabbi David Okunov.

BROOKLYN, NY – July 24, 2007

A bris, a death, a bar mitzvah. Here’s a story about a Russian Jewish family, and an organization that holds their hands, walking them them through life cycle events, the Jewish way.

Monday morning, at a shul in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, a Russian Jewish boy was called to the Torah in honor of becoming a Bar-Mitzvah.

Alex Tkach, still raw from his father’s passing three weeks ago, donned tefillin like his dad did shortly before his death, with the help of F.R.E.E.’s Rabbi David Okunov.

“Igor –Alex’s father–wrapped tefillin with me just two months ago,” said Rabbi Okunov. Igor spoke of wanting to strengthen his Jewish commitment, and “he specifically expressed his desire to be careful about eating kosher.” He was concerned that his son learn to live more fully as a Jew.

In his remarks to Alex and the guests, Rabbi Dr. David S. Halpern, spiritual leader of the Flatbush Park Jewish Center, spoke glowingly of the work of Lubavitch around the world and especially in the former Soviet Union, where he recently visited.

F.R.E.E.’s relationship with Alex’s family began when they arrived to the United States after the fall of communism in 1991. Thirteen years ago, when he was an eight-day old infant, Alex had his bris through F.R.E.E.