99-yr-old Isaac Volinsky was ready to celebrate his Barmitzvah last week in his room at a Woollahra care home. He had his tall it. He had his tefillin…but there was no kiddush cup and no kosher wine. The Emanuel Synagogue came to his rescue.
Chabad Rabbi Eli Schlanger was all set to perform the ceremony when he realised that the Ronald Coleman home was not a Jewish institution and would not have Kosher wine for the kiddush. A quick call to neigbouring Emanuel Synagogue and five minutes later administrator Andrina Grynberg was knocking on Isaac’s door with an unopened bottle of wine and a brand new Kiddush cup.
Rabbi Schlanger helped Isaac put on his tallit and tefillin and said the brochot and Shema with him before pouring the wine and saying kiddush. Andrina stayed for the celebration joining Eva Weitzen who had introduced Isaac to the 120s club she runs at Chabad House in Bondi.
Isaac, whose birthday is on March 16, paid his first ever visit to the club and has put on tefillin for the first time in his life. He told J-Wire: “I can remember my grandfather putting them on when I was a little boy in Odessa.”
Rabbi Eli Schlanger added: “Moshe Rabeinu was born on the same day as Jacob….and Abraham was circumcised at the age of 99 so it’s a big day for him!”
Isaac Volinsky came to Australia in 1995 to join his son. He has a daughter who still lives in Odessa.
Putting on tefillin will be a regular occurrence for Volinsky who has found new friends and a rekindled aspect to his Jewish life at the 120s club.
Volinsky, a former colonel in the Russian army saluted J-Wire as we left…but he refused out salute in return as we were not wearing caps! And he got to keep the Kiddush cup…a Barmitzvah gift from Emanuel Synagogue.