Most possibly the oldest Jewish man to undergo a bris since Avraham Avinu 3,736 years ago, 96-year-old Armin Konn celebrated his bris together with the bris of 8-day-old Elazar Zaltzman.
By Mendel Super and Yaakov Ort – Chabad.org
Most possibly the oldest Jewish man to undergo a traditional bris milah since the 99-year-old patriarch Avraham was circumcised at G‑d’s command 3,736 years ago, 96-year-old Armin Konn entered into the Covenant of Avraham on May 4 at the Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario, Canada, and announced that his name is now Avraham.
Born in Zhvil, Ukraine, in 1926, Konn’s family lived under the burden of Communist oppression and suppression of Judaism throughout his early life, and his parents were unwilling to risk circumcising him during his infancy.
As a teenager, he fought with partisans in the Ukrainian SSR against the Nazis when the country was under siege and then enlisted in the Red Army’s air force.
When his plane was shot down over Lithuania, Konn was interred in a German POW camp until the war’s end. After the war, he emigrated to Canada.
In a commendation from the government of Canada, Konn was cited for his many voluntary activities over the years. He has volunteered his services to the Alzheimer Department of the St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Seniors Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children and the Agincourt Community Services Association.
The commendation noted that Konn has devoted innumerable hours over the past 20 years to the Air Cadet League of Canada, chairing local squadron sponsoring committees; raising funds to support training; and organizing field trips, sports competitions and social events for the squadron.
Distinguished War Veteran and Volunteer
“Konn’s tireless efforts on behalf of the Squadron have been an inspiration to cadets and have led to a greater bond with and a better understanding of veterans. He often entertains seniors and veterans with his accordion and also volunteers for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a firearms verifier.
In recent years, Konn became involved with the Toronto Jewish community, and after talking to his rabbis and consulting with his doctors decided that the time was right for him to follow in his ancestor Abraham’s footsteps and be circumcised.
Konn belongs to Chabad-Lubavitch’s Jewish Russian Community Center of Ontario (JRCC), and when one of their rabbis, Rabbi Yisrael Zaltzman, and his wife, Shaina, had a baby boy last week, everyone decided that it was the perfect opportunity for Konn to have a bris along with the rabbi’s son.
Surrounded by friends and family, after undergoing a bris milah by an expert mohel on Thursday, May 4, 96-year-old Armin Konn chose the Jewish name Avraham as he entered into the Covenant of Abraham alongside 8-day-old Elazar Zaltzman.
Reprinted with permission from Chabad.org.