Los Angeles Jewish Home Resident and Holocaust Survivor Frieda Thompson Celebrates Bat Mitzvah on 92nd Birthday
History was recently made at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, as beloved resident and Holocaust survivor Frieda Thompson celebrated her 92nd birthday on the same day she was called to the Torah for her Bat Mitzvah.
The date marked another historic milestone: the 100th anniversary of Judith Kaplan, at age 12, becoming the first American girl to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah on March 18, 1922.
Frieda, whose parents were murdered by the Nazis, still recalls that one of her mother's final actions was to ensure her brother was called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah even as there was chaos all around.
Frieda studied for her Bat Mitzvah a few years ago, but COVID-19 prevented gathering as a community at that time. Now, joined by family who flew in from Colorado for the big day, Frieda celebrated her special occasion during the weekly Shabbat Eve Service, in the Weinberg Courtyard of the Jewish Home. She was surrounded by loving family, volunteer leadership, caring staff, and dozens of fellow Jewish Home residents.
When asked what this day meant to her, Frieda responded, "Moses was loyal to his family and to the Jewish people. I, too, have always felt loyal to my family and to the Jewish People."
In commenting on the significance of the event, Rabbi Karen Bender, the Jewish Home's chief mission officer, commented, "As a small child, Frieda was forced to raise her hand and call out 'Heil Hitler.' Today, her voice rings out as a cherished leader among her peers."