Over the last 18 years Rabbi Anchelle Perl has officiated at some 300 bar and bat mitzvah celebrations at Congregation Beth Sholom Chabad in Mineola, L.I.
But last week was a first.
The Matuszak triplets, brothers Alec and Ian, below left and right, and their sister Sydney, below center, marked their religious coming of age together.
Alec and Ian have cerebral palsy. Using walkers, they stood on the bima, made the blessings for their aliyot, read sections of the week’s Torah portion and delivered short speeches of thanks.
Sydney also gave a speech and recited some prayers,
“I started to cry at the bima,” Rabbi Perl says. “All of us were wiping our eyes. It was very moving.”
The family lives in Westbury. The children’s parents, Edward and Kerri, in top left picture, had arranged private tutoring in preparation for the bar-bat mitzvah. Rabbi Perl had trained the boys in putting on tefillin.
“You could clearly hear the effort they put into it,” the rabbi says of their Torah reading.
The Torah portion last week was Re’eh, which means “look” or “behold.” “We saw with our own eyes the good that the boys expressed,” Rabbi Perl says.
He gave each child a mezuzah. And a blessing.
“A very intimate crowd” — some shul regulars and some friends of the family — sat in the pews.
“Our children have shown us there is hope for everybody,” Kerri Matuszak says.
“It was very moving to see the parents making this effort — no shortcuts,” Rabbi Perl says. “This one stands out.”