Aliyah Latora in Massada's ancient synagogue.
(photo credit: Harel Rintzler)
A Bar Mitzvah is a journey. It is a path from childhood into manhood, a
time to reveal insights. Israel is the perfect location to have such a
Bar Mitzvah journey - the place where old meets new, where east meets
west and past, present and future are a natural combination of daily
life. Jews from all over the world see this occasion as an opportunity
to strengthen their family bonds with their roots, religion and
When we begin to plan a Bar Mitzvah for families
coming from outside Israel, we usually ask ourselves the following
questions: Where are the guests coming from? Have they been to Israel
before? How many children are coming and most importantly, what our Bar
Mitzvah boy is like?
We start with his name. Since most of our
Bar Mitzvah grooms have names with Biblical origins, we use the origins
and combine the name in the theme and content of the event. This adds on
another layer of meaning. For a boy named Zohar we planned an event in
the north of Israel visiting Tzfat, the Kabbala capital. For Jamie
(Jacob) we planned the concept of "I have a dream" (based on Jacob
ladder dream). Asher's Bar Mitzvah was inspired by the quote "I will be
wherever I shall be" (Aheye Asher Aheye). The options are endless.
guests to visit Israel for the occasion needs further thought. It's
important to think about whether it's their first time in Israel or not.
If it is their first time, Jerusalem should be the "home base" for your
journey. The reading of the Torah by the Bar Mitzvah boy can be
performed at the Kotel or in the Davidson Center
Another option is in one of the city's synagogues
such as the Safaradi synagogue in Mishkenot Shaananim
or the Hecht synagogue on Mount Scopus campus overlooking the old city.
A guided tour in the city is a must, and if there are non-Jews among
your guests it would be suitable to visit the major Christian sites as
well. If there are children in the group consider having a scavenger hunt
,a cooking lesson or a chocolate workshop.
is on the way to the Dead Sea and many first time visitors to Israel
consider it a "must visit." If you are into the extreme side of things
you can climb Massada early in the morning. For an extra treat, you can
arrange a Bar Mitzvah Challenge for the younger members of the group,
which is a unique extreme experience, tailored for young hearts that
includes a competitive pursuit for treasures, dinner around the campfire
and overnight camping.
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If it's not the first time in Israel for
most of your guests, you can plan your journey from Tel Aviv or from
the north of Israel and have the Torah reading ceremony in an ancient
synagogue. A rolling event (spending each night in a different location)
is an option for groups who are not afraid of going from one point to
another having "tastes" of Israel's finest highlights along the way.
for accommodation, we highly recommend boutique hotels where you are
the majority or the only guests. This way you will be able to "brand"
the hotel and get special treats from the personnel.
the date of the Bar Mitzvah is set based on the Bar Mitzvah boy's
Hebrew date birthday. The Torah reading ceremony can take place on
Mondays and Thursdays and on Saturdays along with the weekly Parasha.
Many of our clients wish to combine the event with school vacations.
It's important to book accommodations at least six months in advance.
Booking the synagogue is also crucial since the popular synagogues get
booked up fast. Ensure with the synagogue Gabai (synagogue
administrator) that the date is free. Make sure you agree everything in
writing, and payments are on time. You will need to set up a meeting
with the synagogue's Rabbi who will conduct the ceremony. Some will
prefer bringing the Bar Mitzvah boy's teacher or a local Rabbi who
speaks the guests’ language.
It's important to remember that
this is not only a journey of spiritual learning, but also a birthday
celebration in a gorgeous vacation country. Leave time for fun
activities for the whole family such as horseback riding, jeep tours,
extreme tours and of course a beach hang out.
If you are planning
to bring a large group of guests or have guests from Israel to join
you, don’t forget the Bar Mitzvah party. Many boys at this stage are
interested in sports, music, street art or computer gaming so it's
important to create the Bar Mitzvah party to suite their preferences and
that will introduce the "true them" to the guests.
to celebrate this meaningful event and creating a special program and
unique activities is not enough. There needs to be someone who will make
sure the outcome is what you aimed for and will meet your expectations.
An event planner will make sure the schedule is kept and that every
detail that surrounds the visit is being taken care of. This includes
all the little details such as an experienced tour guide, handling soft
drinks and sunscreen, caring for special diet needs as well more serious
issues such as emergency medical treatment.
well as a coordinator/event planner, we advise having a bi-lingual
hospitality crew to oversee the events, who will make sure that guests
are having a great time so that you do not have to worry about a thing.
an opportunity when all family members and friends hang out together
for a few days is worth keeping. Adding stills and video photographers
who accompany the journey will assure you have the best memory of the
Having a Bar Mitzvah event in Israel strengthens the
young generation’s relationship with Israel and bringing guests adds a
Zionist flare to it giving people the chance to discover the beauty of
the country. Whether it is a "rolling event" or located in central
location, whether you are a small or a large group, it will be a journey
you will remember and treasure your entire life.
Eldar is an event planner with over 18 years of experience with many
successful Bar Mitzvah events for clients from all over the world. More
about our Bar Miztvah events in www.signature-events.co.il
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