WW II Vet, 91, celebrates bar mitzvah

2010-11-07 18:21

Jerusalem - A 91-year-old Dutch Jew who fought the Nazis in World War II has marked his bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony - decades after the traditional date.

Hans De Leeuw says he was "shaking" during the service - usually meant for 13-year-olds - at Jerusalem's Western Wall on Sunday.

De Leeuw put on phylacteries, ritual objects strapped to the arm and forehead, and donned a prayer shawl.

He called the ceremony "a tremendous event," saying he didn't do it earlier because of his secular upbringing and the war.

He said "there was always something missing in my life until now".

Earlier this year, De Leeuw met a retired Israeli ambassador at a gathering for war veterans and expressed his wish to have a bar mitzvah.

The diplomat arranged it.