6 Places in Jerusalem to Take Your Kid Before Their Bar/Bat Mitzvah

April 17th 2019

A Bar Mitzvah or a Bat Mitzvah is a momentous occasion for any Jewish family, marking the joyous milestone when a Jewish child has all the rights and obligations of a Jewish adult. Before such an important event, it’s vital the boy or girl understands their new status as well as the meanings behind the mitzvah ceremony. One of the best places to educate a young person about their religion and heritage is in the very center of the Jewish world – Jerusalem.

The Holy City – capital of the modern state of Israel – provides teenagers approaching their Bar/Bat Mitzvah with an opportunity to explore their new identity in a wide variety of educational, cultural, and historical settings. All of which are situated on the same ground on which the patriarchs once walked. Where better to go deeper into Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics?

Here are 6 places in Jerusalem we think are ideal for families taking a boy or girl approaching this momentous mitzvah:

  • The Western Wall Plaza

One of the most awe-inspiring sites in Jerusalem is the Kotel (commonly known as the Western Wall). The Kotel is the last remaining wall of the Temple Mount, which unfortunately today is off limits to Jews. Many thousands of people visit the plaza every year to pray and, on Shabbat, even to sing and dance. The Kotel is considered the holiest site in Judaism due to it being the closest accessible place to where the Temple once stood.

  • City of King David Excavations

The City of David is believed to be the site of ancient Jerusalem. Situated on a narrow ridge south of the Old City, the earliest permanent settlement ruins have been dated back to the 3rd millennium BCE. Throughout the many centuries, different peoples built upon the site, including King David, who named Jerusalem as his capital 3,000 years ago. Today, visitors can explore the remains of David’s palace as well as aqueducts, tunnels, a fortress, and more.

  • Jerusalem Archaeological Park

A perfect place to discover more about the ancient history of the Holy City is the Jerusalem Archeological Park. Also known as the Davidson Center, the site is next to the Kotel and features, among other things, the fallen stone remains of the Second Temple. Visitors can explore ancient streets and archways, as well as learn more about the different eras via computerized media (incl. a virtual reality reconstruction of the pre-destruction Herodian Temple Mount), artifacts, exhibitions, and archeological finds.

  • Israel Museum & Dead Sea Scrolls

For a comprehensive study of Israel and its fascinating history, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is a must-visit, especially for children. It’s best known worldwide for housing the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish manuscripts found in the Judean Desert’s Qumran Caves.

There are many different exhibition areas within the Israel Museum which cover various periods and subjects relating to the Holy Land, including archeology, history, fine art, religious life, Jewish culture, and so much more.

  • Jerusalem Time Elevator

If you’re visiting with children of various different ages, then the Jerusalem Time Elevator show will be well worth a visit. This 35-minute long show is a fun and exciting multimedia ride through 3000 years of Israeli history. A motion platform, multiple screens, and special effects bring history to life, in a way that will enthrall every kid.

  • Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

An essential part of every child’s learning is a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum just outside Jerusalem (next to Mount Herzl). The museum, which was established in 1953, serves as a memorial to the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. It features photographs, personal stories, survivor testimonies, and artifacts from many of the victims. It provides a very poignant experience for all who visit.