Classic Venues for Your Outdoor Bar or Bat Mitzvah

December 11th 2013

Masada Bat MitzvahIf your family is dreaming of celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel, it’s important to consider that some Israeli venues are more iconic than others. It’s certainly possible to find meaning and enjoy your experience at any number of spots, but for the classic Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience, you may want to consider these spots in Jerusalem’s Old City and at the Judean Desert. The Western Wall, the Southern Wall and Masada are considered by many to be the ultimate hearts of Jewish identity and therefore unparalleled options for hosting your family’s coming-of-age ceremony.

In the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City is the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall, hands-down the number one, most popular classic location for a Bar Mitzvah. Since the Kotel is the last vestige of the Second Holy Temple that was destroyed by the Romans 2,000 years ago, it remains the most sacred site in the world for the Jewish people. On any given Shabbat, Monday or Thursday morning, there are several dozen families celebrating their family’s milestone event, generally at one of the tables situated near the mechitza, the divider between the men’s section and the women’s section of the Kotel.

Since the Kotel is such a popular spot for Bnei Mitzvah, a knowledgeable tour guide will help you navigate all the logistics necessary here to ensure that your son’s Bar Mitzvah is both meaningful and a tremendous source of Jewish pride.

Families celebrating a Bat Mitzvah, or those who prefer an egalitarian service, have the opportunity to use the nearby area known as the Southern Wall. Situated adjacent to the Kotel, the Southern Wall is part of the wider Jerusalem Archaeological Park complex. This point of interest includes Robinson’s Arch, an alternate classic Old City venue for family ceremonies. Ceremonies held at Robinson’s Arch can be conducted with more space and privacy by your family’s rabbi. Men and women can sit together, sing together and participate as fully as your family prefers. At Robinson’s Arch, your guests will be able to sit on the historic Hulda Steps, the stone steps that the priestly caste once ascended to the Second Temple. At Robinson’s Arch, you’ll be surrounded by a stunning view of the nearby Judean Hills and the Mount of Olives.

Another classic venue for an outdoor Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony in Israel is the desert fortress of Masada, which is among Israel’s most popular tourist destinations. Either a single family or several families celebrating their children’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah together, can participate in a ceremony in the modest open-air synagogue on Masada. Girls also have the option of participating in a challah baking workshop, coordinated by Chabad of the Dead Sea.

Any ceremony conducted at Masada can be paired with a tour of the site to learn about a group of valiant Jews who defended Masada against a Roman siege during the 1st century.