A Bar/Bat-Mizvah is the most significant event for any Jewish child, marking his or her entry into full Jewish Adulthood. It can be done in the local synagogue and venue, yet a Bar-Mitzvah tour to Israel is possibly the best way to celebrate this festive event, connecting the child, and the whole family, to the ancient and modern history of the Jewish People. One of the pick moments of the tour is setting a venue for the ceremony of reading from the Torah and a celebratory meal to follow. Many will choose to set this ceremony at the Western Wall, its less regulated alternative “Azrat Israel“, or at Masada.
But if you are looking for something that is a bit different, or a location that has privacy, A/C, or other specifics, you might want to consider one of the following alternatives:
Bar-Mitzvah at the Southern Wall Archaeological Park
The Southern Wall archaeological Park, known also as “Jerusalem Archaeological park”, was formed by large scale excavations following the six days war in the 1967. In 2013 part of the park facing the Western Wall was set for non-Orthodox style events and was given the name “The Egalitarian Kotel” or in Hebrew “Azrat Israel”.
Nevertheless a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony can also be held in the archaeological park itself, at two locations:
- Under Robinson Arch, facing the Western Wall.
- In front of the Huldah Gates, facing the Southern Wall.
And it must follow these rules:
- The desired spot must be reserved in advance.
- The event is not private and tour groups might be passing by during the ceremony.
- No dancing, loud music, or throwing candies is allowed.
- No food or refreshments are allowed as well.
Bar-Mitzvah at “Aish Hatorah” Yeshiva Rooftop
After the Six Days war in 1967 “Aish Hatorah” Yeshivah was given a prime property in the Jewish Quarter, facing the Western Wall Plaza. It’s rooftop has possibly the best panoramic view of the Western wall and the Temple Mount, and in one of its corners a model of the Jewish temple from the 1st century is presented. The rooftop vista is an ideal location for a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony.
Bar-Mitzvah at the “Hurvah” Synagogue
Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, the “Hurvah” Synagogue is the biggest synagogue in the old city of Jerusalem. The first synagogue built at the its location was destroyed several times due to various conflicts between the Jews and the Arab world. In 2010 the synagogue was well restored to its grandeur before its last destruction in 1948. An orthodox Ashkenazi style Bar-Mitzvah ceremony can be set in the synagogue in the morning hours during the week, connecting your family event to the specific history of the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Jerusalem.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Four Sepharadic Synagogues
Situated in the Jewish Quarter of the Old city as well, the complex of the Four Sepharadic synagogues represent the centuries old “Mugrabi” Jewish community of Jerusalem. Any one of them could be set for a Sepharadic style Orthodox Bar-Mitzvah Ceremony during the week.
The “Ben Zakai” synagogue is said to be 500 years old. It’s somewhat Gothic design is special in having two Torah arks. One may have been used to hold a Quran, which was forced on the Jews by the Ottoman authorities. To this day the chief Sepharadic rabbi of Israel is appointed at this Synagogue.
The “Istanbul” synagogue was constructed some 200 years ago by Jews coming from Turkey, and accordingly was designed in Ottoman style.
The Middle Synagogue was originally an open space between these two synagogues that eventually was covered up and set as a small and intimate synagogue.
“Elijah the prophet” synagogue began as a study hall, but following a miraculous appearance of stranger for a Minyan on Day of Atonement, it was converted into a synagogue with a special chair set for Elijah the prophet who is supposed appear one day and announce on the Messiah by Jewish tradition.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Tower of David Museum
The Tower of David Museum was built within the medieval citadel of Jerusalem. Its permanent exhibition presents the history of Jerusalem in 10 different halls. The Tower of David museum offers its halls for Bar-Mitzvah or Bat-Mitzvah venues that can combine the ceremony with a celebratory catering meal and also a private guided tour of the Museum, fun and educational activities for the whole family, and a private screening of their popular Audio Visual night show (“The Tower of David Night Spectacular“).
Bar-Mitzvah at the Great Sepharadi Synagogue in Yemin Moshe
The great Sepharadi Synagogue was constructed in 1897 when Yemin Moshe was founded. It served the local community until 1948 when the whole neighborhood was abandoned as it was in the range of Jordanian snipers from the Old City. Following the Six Days war in 1967 the neighborhood was revived, and so was the synagogue. After a conservation project, it was rededicated in 1974 and is operating ever since. The humble stone structure with its “old world” interior design nestled in the picturesque neighborhood of Yemin Moshe is ideal for a private Bar-Mitzvah event, followed by a celebratory meal at the excellent Touro restaurant nearby. Both are facing the breathtaking views of the Old City Walls and are a short walk from the King David hotel.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Askenazi “Beit Israel” Synagogue in Yemin Moshe
Founded in 1899 for the Ashkenazi community of Yemin Moshe, the “Beit Israel” Synagogue is in the heart of the neighborhood, next to the Old city of Jerusalem. The stone structure facing the breathtaking view of the old city walls is a perfect setting for a private and intimate Bar-mitzvah venue.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Ades Synagogue in Nachlaot
Ades synagogue was founded in 1901 by two cousins of the Ades family for the Syrian “Halabi” Jewish community. Despite its full name – “The Great Synagogue Ades of the Glorious Aleppo Community” – the synagogue is rather humble in size, but Its outstanding architecture and lavish interior makes Ades Synagogue one of the nicest in Jerusalem. The Torah ark is detailed woodwork with mother-of-pearls inlay from Damascus, and its walls are decorated with great murals. Set in hidden like location in the picturesque Nachlaot neighborhood, the Ades Synagogue is a great venue for setting a Sepharadic style Orthodox Bar-Mitzvah ceremony. It is especially an appropriate location if the celebrating family relates to the Syrian Jews.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Italian Synagogue on Hillel Street
In 1701 the Jewish community in the small town of Conegliano Veneto, north of Venice, founded a synagogue for community use. Designed in a distinct Italian Baroque style, the synagogue was in active until the World War I. After the state of Israel was established, in 1952 the interior of the synagogue was relocated in its entirety and re-installed in the Italian Jewish cultural center in Jerusalem. The synagogue is in use to this day and is both an active synagogue and a tourist attraction, which includes also a museum of Italian Judaica. Among its many items is the oldest known Torah Curtain (“Parochet”), dating to 1572. Known simply as “The Italian Synagogue”, the place welcomes also families wishing to celebrate a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony at this unusual and charming spot.
Bar-Mitzvah at the “Shira Hadasha” Synagogue, The German Colony
“Shira Hadasha” (In Hebrew “New Chanting”) was a Jewish community founded in 2002 in the German Colony of Jerusalem aimed to achieve gender equality in the Ritual in the synagogue. Being so, unlike the Orthodox, women also participate in reading the Torah and function as cantors. This format was adapted by some Jewish communities in Israel as well as Canada, Australia and the US. Being So, the egalitarian “Shira Hadasha” synagogue, is an excellent choice for an Bat-Mitzvah event set in Orthodox fashion.
Bar-Mitzvah at the Haas Promenade
The Haas promenade is set along a ridge that faces the old city of Jerusalem. A stroll along this promenade provides some great panoramas of the holy city, an ideal view also for a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony. There are no special restrictions on setting the event along the Promenade, but you might be “competing” with tour groups visiting the site. If you prefer, the ceremony can be set in an events hall along the promenade (“Olamya”) which is also a good option for a Celebratory meal following the ceremony.
Bar-Mitzvah at “Beit Hahoshen” Rooftop, Mount of Olives
Another alternative for a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony at the panoramic viewpoint of the Old city is “Beit Hachoshen”. “House of the breastplate” in Hebrew, “Beit Hachoshen” is located on the top of Mount of olives, in Eastern Jerusalem. Its rooftop vista provides one of the best views of the Old City and the Temple Mount, and upon request it can be set for any private event.
Alternative Locations for a Bar-Mitzvah Ceremony aside Jerusalem
If these options are not creative enough, we have a whole additional list of suggested site for a Bar-Mitzvah ceremony at different locations across the country – One of the synagogues in Safed, in Caesarea, at the ancient synagogues of Ein-Gedi, Sepphoris, Umm el-kanatir, Gamla, Bar’am, Capernaum, or Magdala, and more.
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