It may be seven decades late, but 16 Holocaust survivors have finally gotten to celebrate their bar mitzvahs.
The survivors gathered in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where they were joined by friends and family for a moving ceremony to mark the Jewish rite of passage that they missed during World War II.
Eighty-two-year-old Ayal Kalman wasn’t able to celebrate his bar mitzvah when he turned 13, since at the time he was confined to a Romanian Nazi ghetto.
Ayal Kalman, Holocaust survivor:
"I retired, and I have the pleasure to be here in order to participate in this very emotional celebration."
One attendee, who survived a Nazi ghetto in what is now the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi, said although he doesn’t consider himself religious, the ceremony was important for Jews who lived those tragic years.
Menashe Tirkfeld, Holocaust survivor:
"Today was an amazing day... I'm still very excited, I never thought I can still go through all of this. This is something really divine. I'm not a religious man at all but this thing is very exciting, very exciting. It's a good thing that I had this."
Jewish boys traditionally celebrate their Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, while girls celebrate their Bat Mitzvahs at 12. The religious ceremony is held in a synagogue where the boys read verses from the Torah in front of the congregation for the first time, taking on full religious responsibilities.