By Reuven Fenton
September 8, 2019 | 7:34pm NY POST
He may not be able to move, talk, breath or eat on his own anymore, but Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz is still a dad — and he wouldn’t miss his son’s bar mitzvah, even if it meant a grueling cross-country trip to New York.
The Brooklyn-born rabbi, a father of seven trapped in his own body by ALS, flew with his family from their home in California over the weekend for his youngest child’s religious rite of passage back in his home borough.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s a beautiful thing,’’ friend and fellow rabbi Shlomo Bistritzky told The Post on Sunday.
“Yitzi wanted to do this trip because this is his youngest son,’’ and he wanted “to bring his son, like a healthy father would bring his son, and to give him that experience.’’
Hurwitz, 47, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — the neurodegenerative disease that attacked Yankee great Lou Gehrig — around 2013.
But the remarkable rabbi has refused to let his all-consuming condition hold him back.
He writes a weekly column on the Torah, as well as an advice blog — not to mention daily messages, sometimes cheeky, to his devoted wife of 23 years — using eye movements that direct his computer.
“You kvetch so nicely,’’ Hurwitz occasionally kids his spouse, Dina.
When Hurwitz first suggested that the family — including all of their kids, ages 22 to 13 — make the trip to Brooklyn for their son’s bar mitzvah, his wife and friends balked, worried about his health.
But Hurwitz put them in their place.
Dina Hurwitz told The Post that her husband, when he talks about his disease, he “tells me we got a promotion.”
“It gave us a certain mission that now you could reach people that you couldn’t reach before,’’ she said.
“There are thousands and thousands of people going through their own hardships, their own sicknesses, their own tragedies, that look to my husband for guidance, for love, for support, for somebody who understands them.
“He knows what’s going on, and he chooses to be happy.’’
The family arrived by ambulance Sunday at the Queens gravesite of famed late Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson to pay their respects.
Tears ran down Yitzi’s nearly frozen face.
“It’s been a tough year. There’s a bit of exhaustion setting in at this point, of living in a constant state of life and death issues and panic, and there’s less energy than we had in the beginning,’’ Dina said.
“So we came to pray that doctors find a cure, that things be better for the kids, better for me, for sure better for him. But he usually doesn’t pray for himself.
“He doesn’t usually cry,’’ either. “But he cried for our kids. And he cried a lot when I asked him to pray for me.”
A nurse was on hand to occasionally suction fluid from Yitzi’s lungs or adjust his head to make it more comfortable.
He couldn’t communicate as he usually does because he didn’t have his computer set-up.
On Monday, the family will proudly be on hand to watch the youngest child read from the Torah in Schneerson’s former study in Crown Heights.
“When Yitzi was diagnosed, this boy was 7 years old. So [the child has] lived most of his life with this reality,’’ Bistritsky said. “And they really wanted him to have a celebration.
“This disease really effects all muscle movement, but [Yitzi is] able to smile, which requires a lot of muscle movement,’’ Bistritsky said. “His soul just radiates from his eyes.”
A fund has been set up on Yitzi’s behalf: Hurwitzfamilyfund.com.