Sur­rey man’s bar­mitz­vah held in Czech ‘an­ces­tral’ town

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS/ -

RE­FORM MOVE­MENT head Rabbi Tony Bay­field was one of four rab­bis of­fi­ci­at­ing at the bar­mitz­vah of a North West Sur­rey Syn­a­gogue mem­ber held in the home town of his Czech an­ces­tors.

More than 60 of Richard Barth’s friends and fam­ily made the trip to Kla­tovy in the south west of the Czech Repub­lic to cel­e­brate his bar­mitz­vah. Dur­ing the week­end, guests also toured sites of Jewish in­ter­est, visit­ing the Jewish ceme­tery in Kla­tovy, where past mem­bers of the Barth fam­ily were buried, as well as the rel­a­tives of other mem­bers of the group go­ing back more than 100 years.

On Fri­day evening, a ser­vice was held at the Pilzen syn­a­gogue. Rabbi Larry Tabick of Shir Hayim, Hamp­stead Re­form Syn­a­gogue, con­ducted the ser­vice and Rabbi Bay­field gave the ser­mon, re­mind­ing the group that this was prob­a­bly the first bar­mitz­vah in Kla­tovy for at least 64 years. The Kla­tovy Jews were trans­ported to Terezin in 1942.

The Shab­bat ser­vice was held at the Town Hall, with all four rab­bis — Rabbi Jackie Tabick of North West Sur­rey Syn­a­gogue and her hus­band Rabbi Tabick, Rabbi Cliff Co­hen of Thanet and Dis­trict Re­form and Rabbi Bay­field — tak­ing part. The Mayor of Kla­tovy was also present at the cer­e­mony.

Af­ter read­ing his por­tion, Richard’s fa­ther Thomas handed him the Kla- tovy Scroll, which he had brought over from Wey­bridge.

Mr Barth ex­plained the rea­son for the trip: “I wanted Richard to ap­pre­ci­ate where his grand­fa­ther and many pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of Barths had come from, and what hap­pened to the Jewish con­gre­ga­tion of Kla­tovy dur­ing the Holo­caust. The Kla­tovy com­mu­nity was about the same size as our com­mu­nity in Wey­bridge. We are grate­ful to those fam­ily and friends who made the jour­ney to Kla­tovy with us.”

Michael Reik, a North West­ern Re­form Syn­a­gogue mem­ber who made the trip, com­mented: “Tom’s idea to re­turn to his roots has en­abled 60 of us to re­live our Jewish iden­ti­ties.”

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