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Remembering the Children B’nei Mitzvah Project

Honor someone who is easily forgotten – return their memory to the Jewish people and the world.

Thank you for deciding to honor the memory of a child who experienced the Holocaust and was unable to celebrate their bar/bat mitzvah or live a life of mitzvot. The decision to share the honor of your ceremony with this individual is a very special opportunity to reflect not only on their life and experiences, but it is also a chance to think deeply about your own life and experiences as member of the Jewish people. Please follow the instruction steps below for completing your project.

Program Steps

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Complete Application (with student photo) and $36 Donation Online

Application completed at https://hcofpgh.org/bnei-mitzvah/

Click here to submit your $36 registration fee (write "Remembering the Children B’nei Mitzvah Project" in the comment field), and use the form below to submit your application.

(We cannot guarantee acceptance of applications within less than 6 weeks of your bar/bat mitzvah ceremony.)

A staff member will reach out by email with further information
  • A staff member will send a questionnaire by email for your child to complete to help us match them with a child who experienced the Holocaust 
  • You can also call 412-939-7293 
Additional Option - Taking on a Mitzvah

While it is not required, we encourage students to take on a mitzvah of their choosing in honor of the child they are sharing their milestone with. To remember is a mitzvah in itself; yet, your remembrance is not limited to telling the story of their life. Through your mitzvot, you can be the hands and feet of a child who never had the opportunity to live a Jewish life, which we should not take for granted. Through this project of reflection, we encourage you to honor a child’s memory by sharing their story in words and in actions: acts of Chesed and Tefillah on their behalf. This act could be something as big or as small as you choose – it only has to be meaningful to you! In choosing to do a mitvah on their behalf, you thereby elevate their memory, serve the Jewish people, and can make the world a better place. Some examples could include:

  • Saying Kaddish for the child you honored every year on a certain date (perhaps on Yom HaShoah or the date of your ceremony), OR another form of Tefillah or prayer.
  • Lighting Shabbat candles every week or once a year/month in honor of their memory
  • Giving Tzedakah or charity in their honor every year
  • Chesed, or doing loving acts of kindness in their honor (volunteering time toward your favorite cause, visiting the sick or the elderly, tutoring a fellow student for free, and donating to local shelters are just some ideas…)

If you choose to incorporate this option into your project, we ask that you please let us know!

FINAL NOTE: Creative Allowances due to COVID19 Restrictions and/or Religious Adaptation:

This version of the project is EXACTLY THE SAME, with one exception – you honor your child by gathering with your family/friends for a Shabbat meal and discussion. It is customary that during Shabbat meals, individuals may offer words of Torah to their guests in honor of someone else’s memory. In this version of the project, you would wholly complete the first two steps, but you would honor your child among family and friends at a celebratory Shabbat meal – and you would meaningfully incorporate their memory into the discussion with your guests. In this sense, you may also have a family member present your certificate to you. To learn more about this option and its variants, please reach out!

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Claire Holthaus via email (cholthaus@hcpgh.org). We are happy to discuss options and help facilitate your project in any way we can. To learn more about the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh’s events and opportunities, please visit https://hcofpgh.org!

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