Gabriel’s Bar Mitzvah in March was held at Chabad Shule. He was very pleased that his aunty was able to fly over from London, as he hadn’t seen her for a few years; lots of his Year 8 friends from school also attended.

At 6.00am on the Thursday before the event, Gabriel went to Shule to put on tefillin for the first time, an important step on his Jewish journey. He was surprised that he wasn’t nearly as tired as he thought he would be, given that he usually gets up at 7:15am!

Gabriel had been practising reading his parsha (Vayikra) in Hebrew with Rabbi White since December last year.

He was a bit nervous when he arrived at Chabad Shule for the Shabbat afternoon ‘mincha' service – there were lots of people there.  He wore a proper suit – navy blue - with a blue shirt with a design on it. They went straight in and the service was around an hour and a half, with Gabriel’s Torah reading the main focus. Despite his nerves, he knew it pretty fluently and was pleased with his Torah reading. Gabriel also led the entire service from beginning to end and he was very proud of this too.

The ‘seudah shlishit’ (third Shabbat meal), afterwards consisted of salmon bagels with cream cheese and pita bread with hummus, falafel and salads, so you could build your own pita according to your individual tastes. There was so much food, there were lots of leftovers and the family is apparently still enjoying some of the falafel which were frozen from the day!

Gabriel explained that the main difference now he is Bar Mitzvah is that he has to put on tefillin every day at school.

For Gabriel, the best thing about Carmel School is that you know everybody and every teacher. His favourite subject is Maths because he’s good at it.