Bar-Mitzvah Ceremony at the Western Wall
A Bar-Mitzvah is one of the most significan events in the life of a Jew, and having a Bar-Mitzvah at the Western wall is truly a unique and a once-in-a-life experience. The Western Wall, known also as the “Wailing Wall” or “Kotel” in Hebrew, once supported the Jewish Temple. Since the destruction of the Temple by the Romans some 2000 years ago, the Western Wall stands and represents the most sacred, significant and tangible remnant of the ancient Temple. It is unclear when it started developing this reputation, but today it is the most important place of prayer in the Jewish world. Especially among the Israeli Jews, a Bar-Mizvah ceremony at the Western Wall is a popular tradition. Every week hundreds of families gather in great joy to mark this joyful event.
The Western Wall is open 24/7 and is open for all menkind, but reading from the Torah can only be done on Mondays and Thursdays, and it has to be pre-set through the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. It is only set for boys, is also done only on the Men side, and the women can only view it from the Women’s side of the Plaza. Being outdoors, in the summer it can also get quite hot, and in the winter it might rain. There is an option of setting the event at the covered part of the Western Wall, under “Wilson’s Arch”, yet women will be able to see it only from the Women’s court which is set in the back of the hall.
If you wish to conduct the event in a less regulated area, in 2013 the state of Israel turned a certain part of the Southern Wall Archaeological Park into a public area for a more liberal or Reform style Bar-Mitzvah ceremonies (Azrat Israel). No gender based seperation, and girls can also read from the Torah and wear a kippah. But it still has to be pre-set, and it is better to have a rabbi to lead the ceremony.
Either way before or after the ceremony you could set a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels, a tour of Chain of the Generations exhibtion, or a virtual tour of the Second Temple (A look into the Past). All are great educational experiences that will enhance the appreciation of the child and the family of the event and the significance of the Western Wall in Jewish History.
Of course no Jewish event is complete without a festive meal, and a BAr-Mitzvah party is no exception :-). You can set it back at the hotel is you wish, and there are a few optional venues also near the Western Wall, although, let’s say, some are better then others. Best if you contact us for a recommendation.
Seting the Ceremony
You can reach out and contact the “Western Wall Foundation” directly, but they will also recommend an event producer or a tour agency. Timing the Torah reading should be synched with the Celebaroty meal and the activity set for the rest of the day. An agent / event producer can also set for you a photographer, videographer, the new trend of band of drummer and Shofar players, a Kleizmer band, and more.