There are so many ways to celebrate a Bar or Bar Mitzvah (BBM) in Israel but Shatour has some tried-and-tested ideas that we recommend for visiting families.
1. We love Eretz Bereshit because it offers highly original and fun activities for all the family with a biblical theme. You can spend the day camel trekking or take thrilling jeep rides across the desert landscape. You can all dress up as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, learn parchment writing and pitta baking, or create a family mosaic to commemorate your event. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, 20 minutes from Jerusalem, Eretz Bereshit can host BBM events for up to 400 people with an original biblical-themed menu and a fully-equipped dance floor. Dancing under the stars in the desert, you can be sure that the neighbors are not going to complain about the noise!
2. Continuing the biblical theme, The Eucalyptus is a unique restaurant in Jerusalem that offers simultaneously cutting edge cuisine with a historic flavor. Owner and chef Moshe Basson investigated recipes, spices, and local and wild herbs that were part of Israel’s original diet in order to create his modern interpretation of biblical cuisine. The restaurant is located facing the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, in an ancient stone building with a huge scenic balcony. They have a private event hall that seats 100 guests, and an outdoor seating area that can hold up to 200 guests when the weather is fine.
3. The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the most traditional place to celebrate your Jewish coming-of-age, and there are a number of alternatives on offer. The main Kotel Plaza, with separate spaces for men and women, is best suited to an Orthodox ceremony, using one of the many Ashkenazi or Sephardi Sifrei Torah provided for that purpose. If it is too hot or too cold on your chosen date, there is also a small synagogue adjoining the Kotel where the women can watch and listen from a raised gallery. Alternatively, there is a large open area set aside for mixed family and group celebrations, and Shatour has our own Sefer Torah that we can supply for your ceremony.
4. For a completely different type of celebration, we love the Darna Authentic Moroccan Restaurant in Jerusalem. Up to 200 people can enjoy a fantastic meal, seated around small tables on comfortable sofas and intimate corner niches. The sumptuous food matches the rich furnishings, and the staff exudes traditional warm Moroccan hospitality. They can arrange traditional music and entertainment including belly dancers. Whether or not your family has Moroccan roots, this delicious and unique restaurant is the perfect venue for an intimate and memorable Bar or Bat Mitzvah party.
5. One of the oldest synagogues in Israel is the 5th century synagogue at Ein Gedi, discovered in the 1970s when members of the kibbutz uncovered a superb mosaic floor. There are visible inscriptions including the names of Bible characters from Adam through the patriarchs to characters from the Book of Daniel. What a perfect place to celebrate your coming of age and becoming a link in the chain of Jewish history. Shatour can arrange a ceremony and a meal, as well as nature walks or a guided tour of sites in the area, including the Dead Sea and Masada.
6. Masada has to be the most stunning setting for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, with its dramatic mountain-top setting and unique history. You can ascend by cable car and hold a morning ceremony at the ancient synagogue at the top of the mountain. Catering is not permitted within the archeological site, but we can organize a stunning meal overlooking the Dead Sea. After lunch there are salt caves that you can explore in this area, or head to the beach and enjoy the unique experience of floating in the Dead Sea. There are great hotels in the area if you want to organize an evening party and extend your visit.
7. Many people choose to twin their Bar or Bat Mitzvah with disadvantaged children in Israel, and there are many different charities that can arrange a visit to their project and a party for your family together with a group of Israeli children. This can add a trans-cultural dimension to your celebration and also allows you to pass on the Jewish tradition of philanthropy to your children. There are also options for packing food parcels for poor people and other volunteering projects that can be incorporated in your BBM celebration in Israel. If you don’t have a particular organization that you are connected with, we would be happy to provide a list of suggestions.
We have many more ideas for making your Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration in Israel truly special. We work with top service providers to organize external catering, where required, and we can put together a customized family-friendly itinerary for your group during their entire stay in Israel.
Let your imagination run wild and then talk to the experts at Shatour about actualizing your vision!