See the emotional moment 50 Holocaust survivors finally got bar mitzvahed.

Solomon Moshe was only 4 years old when Hitler's armies invaded his home country of Greece.

He recalls spending his childhood fleeing from house to house with his mother — never having friends, never having a home, and constantly seeing the fear in his mother's eyes.

Before long, 60,000 Greek Jews would be murdered in World War II, nearly 80% of the country's Jewish population. Moshe moved to Israel in 1956 to try to start a new life.


On Monday, May 2, 2016, Moshe got to celebrate becoming a bar mitzvah, finally, at the ripe old age of 79.

Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images.

For Jewish people, the bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies are incredibly important.

Typically occurring around the age of 13, the ceremonies are holy events for friends, family, and communities that mark a coming of age in Jewish culture and a confirmation of faith. There's also usually a big party.

This week, 50 people, including Moshe, traveled to Israel to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvot. All of them are in their 70s and 80s.

All of them are Holocaust survivors.

Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images.

To be born in Europe in the 1930s meant being born into a world turned upside down. Adolf Hitler's Nazi party invaded or occupied over a dozen countries and systematically murdered an unfathomable number of people, including 6 million Jews.

Even those who survived the horror of the Holocaust had their lives taken from them in other ways — from childhoods tainted by memories of fear and despair to families permanently torn apart.

The survivors were invited to host their ceremonies at the Western Wall in Jerusalem — one of Judaism's holiest sites — by the Israeli government.

Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images.

They wrapped themselves in talits (Jewish prayer shawls) and affixed tefilin (small leather boxes containing sections of the Torah) strapped to their foreheads and arms.

They recited special prayers and read holy passages, all two days before Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As they left, Israeli soldiers gathered to pay their respects.

Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images.

"I am not embarrassed to say that I was moved to tears," recalls Moshe. "Soldiers were saluting us like we were heroes."

It's impossible to set right the wrongs of World War II.

Millions were killed, and those who survived still feel the effects of the war today. A coming-of-age ritual might seem like a small gesture, but it's a deeply significant one.

Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images.

During the war, being Jewish was a crime punishable by death. Millions of families had to hide and suppress their faith for fear of being persecuted and sent away.

For these survivors, being able to become a bar or bat mitzvah now isn't just a gesture of kindness or a ceremony of faith. It's an act of healing.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

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