Considerations for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the Western Wall

December 31st 2013

Western Wall Bar MitzvahOn any given Monday, Thursday, Saturday and other days when the Torah is read publicly, scores of Bnei Mitzvah celebrations can be seen taking place at the Kotel. An experienced tour agency will be able to assist you with the information and bookings that your family needs to make a Kotel coming-of-age ceremony everything you’re hoping for.

Organizing a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall Plaza

Many parents feel more comfortable consulting with an expert about specific customs at the Kotel with which they may be unfamiliar, such as what time to begin the prayer service, where to get a Torah scroll and prayer books, how best to prepare your son for his Bar Mitzvah, when to conduct the Bar Mitzvah service so women guests can see and hear and so forth. Depending on the type of ceremony you’d like, talit prayer shawls and sets of tefillin may also come in handy.

If you prefer, your tour guide can arrange for a rabbi or cantor to lead the Bar Mitzvah service and read from the Torah. Your tour guide can also arrange for your party to be escorted to the Kotel with festive drums, cymbals and shofar blasts!

Arranging a Bat Mitzvah in Jerusalem’s Old City

While the Bnot Mitzvah celebrations of girls do not take place at the Kotel itself, adjacent areas of the Southern Wall excavations offer two options. Robinson’s Arch and the Hulda Gates Stairs are both ideal locations to hold a Torah service for families celebrating a Bat Mitzvah, for families who are not Orthodox or who simply prefer a venue where men and women can participate together.

These areas are located within the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. If desired, a ceremony in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park can be combined with a tour of a Second Temple-era virtual display and a brief film about the custom of journeying to the Temple Mount to celebrate holidays during Second Temple times.

Getting Deep

In addition to, or in place of, a Torah service at the Kotel or at the Southern Wall, arrangements can be made for either Bar Mitzvah boys or Bat Mitzvah girls to conduct a tour of the Kotel tunnels for your guests. English-speaking tutors are available to help prepare your child to lead the tour.