Just a month before Samuel Heider’s bar mitzvah, World War II started. Nazis invaded the village in Poland where he lived and his family was split up and sent to concentration camps, where his parents, siblings and brothers died. But now, just days before he turns 94, Heider has finally received his bar mitzvah.
Heider says he feels blessed but also a little sad about finally getting to celebrate the milestone. The congregation at his temple came up with the idea after Heider told members that he’d still wished to have his bar mitzvah, a rite of passage for all Jewish teens.
"God gave me strength... This day is, for me, a happy day and a very emotional day too," Heider explains. "I am blessed to have my family."