Wesley Baer, born with Down syndrome, a genetic condition in which an extra chromosome causes varying degrees of mental retardation, celebrated his bar mitzvah at Chabad-Lubavitch of Palos Verdes. With the assistance of his father Avi, the youth put on tefillin and said the Shema.

He was then called up to the Torah, reciting the blessings in Hebrew.

Rabbi Yitzi Magalnic, co-director of the Chabad House in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., spent a year studying with Wesley, teaching him Hebrew, Jewish history, the Jewish holidays and the religion's traditions.