From The S. Diego Union-Tribune:
Born into a Jewish family, Lazar Abramovitch was supposed to have his bar mitzvah when he turned 13. Except he turned 13 in 1941, in the Soviet Union, a communist country where religions of all kinds were frowned upon, and a country that happened in that year to be newly involved in World War II, fighting Nazi Germany.
With his family fleeing from their hometown in the Ukraine, “a bar mitzvah was not possible,” Abramovitch said.
So he had his Thursday, at age 88.
He stood in front of family and friends in a room at the Jewish Family Service campus in Kearny Mesa and said a blessing in Hebrew over the Torah. He gave a short speech about how he’d wound up in this moment, his eyes brimming as he talked about his grandparents, his parents, his wife — all gone now, but with him on this day in spirit, he said.
And he grinned under his tallit shawl, pulled over his head for protection as the audience of about 100 people showered him with pieces of candy, the traditional way of wishing the celebrant a sweet life ahead. “Because you’re just getting started,” Rabbi Motte Fradkin told him.