Bar Mitzvah stolen by the Blitz

The date of Samuel Lyons’ bar mitzvah passed by uncelebrated. But then, almost nothing was regular for the hardy souls living in London’s East End during the German bombings. “We spent the nights in the shelters, listening to the booming of the bombs,” recalls the feisty 85-year old in a cockney accent peppered with Yiddish. “They shuffled us from school to school. Every few days, the school would close down and we’d begin again in another. We kept busy picking through the rubble searching for shrapnel.” Although he had begun preparing for his bar mitzvah before the war began, taking “cheder” classes at the Jews’ Free School (JFS), the school closed down when its students were evacuated to t

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