Bar Mitzvah at The Western Wall: Planning Guide for 2020

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Table of Contents

Father and son celebrating their bar mitzvah ceremony at The Western Wall, June 24, 2019. (Moshe Rozenbaum/KTV).
Father and son celebrating their bar mitzvah ceremony at The Western Wall, June 24, 2019. (Moshe Rozenbaum/KTV).

The Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish ritual that symbolizes the passage of a boy from childhood into early adulthood. Celebrating the Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the Old City of Jerusalem, is a singular experience that the Bar Mitzvah boy will cherish for the rest of his life.

As with other major Jewish lifecycle events, preparing a Bar Mitzvah event can be overwhelming. There are many details that need to be planned out. We’ve put together this guide to make it easier for you to plan and host your ceremony.

How to reserve your Bar Mitzvah at The Western Wall

Online Reservation Form

You can reserve your Bar Mitzvah event at The Western Wall using the link below. You can reserve your prayer space, transportation, ceremony guide (chazzan), photographer and any other event requirements. We will be happy to answer any questions and inquiries you may have. We receive and process all requests within 24 hrs.

In Person Reservation

You can reserve your prayer space and bar mitzvah guide directly through the Western Wall Foundation by calling them at 02-6271333. Remember that this only covers the morning prayer service. You will still need to arrange the transportation, food, photography and other services for your event.

Why you should celebrate your Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall?

Celebrating your son’s Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel will strengthen his connection to the Land of Israel and his people’s history. He will have a chance to experience the beauty and excitement of Israel and mark this momentous life event at the place where it all began.

Why is the Western Wall Important in Judaism?

The Western Wall or “Kotel” is the holiest site in Judaism. It is the last remaining part of a greater wall constructed by Herod the Great that encircled the Second Temple. Its stones have withstood unparalleled trials and tribulations starting with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70CE, and exile of the Jewish people from their land 66 years later. It returned to its rightful owners in 1967 at the height of the Six Day War when the Old City of Jerusalem was liberated by the IDF.

The Wailing Wall, nicknamed for the tears and suffering the Jewish people have suffered, has withstood the test of time. Therefore, it has remained the permanent testament of our willpower and determination to return to our Holy Land. It is the epicenter of 3500 years of history, archaeology, tradition and Jewish longing.

Bar Mitzvah Ceremony Options at The Western Wall

The Western Wall welcomes Jews of all denominations. As such, it has designated two main areas for families to celebrate their bar mitzvah events.

Traditional Orthodox: Main Western Wall Plaza

The traditional orthodox prayer space is located at the main Western Wall plaza. It therefore features separate seating for men and women and a traditional prayer style. Only men can lead the service and read from the Torah.

The Western Wall foundation provides a local guide to lead the prayer service for the family, so there is no need to hire a rabbi in advance. They offer prayer guides in multiple languages including english and you can choose between ashkenazi and sefardic styles. The ceremony lasts about 1 hour and includes the morning prayer service and torah reading .

If you want to speak to an event coordinator to reserve your ceremony at the main Western Wall, go to the reservation form below.

Egalitarian: Robinson’s Arch

The egalitarian reform and conservative prayer space is located at the Robinson’s Arch. Located south of the main western wall plaza, it features mixed seating for the whole family and the option to have whichever prayer style you want. Men and women can lead the service and read from the Torah.

The Robinson’s Arch does not provide a prayer guide for the family, so you will need to connect with a local rabbi in advance. They offer prayer guides in multiple languages including english and you can choose between ashkenazi and sefardic styles. The ceremony lasts about 1 hour and includes the morning prayer service and torah reading.

If you want to speak to an event coordinator to reserve your ceremony at the egalitarian Robinson’s Arch, go to the reservation form below.

How much does a Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall cost?

One of the key things to know ahead of time is how much you’ll be spending on each aspect of the Western Wall Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Take into considerations factors such as: 

  • How many invitees have confirmed attendance? 
  • Will you be hosting a pre-event reception? 
  • Cost of catering 
  • Post-event reception
  • Miscellaneous items such as: hotel stay, cost of Bar Mitzvah training, transportation to and from event, parking, etc. 

Planning Your Bar Mitzvah at The Western Wall

 In order for the Bar Mitzvah at the kotel to go as smoothly as possible, thorough planning that will allow you to make the right decisions is required. It will make the event that much better and more fun for everyone involved. Here are some tips for making this happen.

Make a list of attendees

Jewish families tend to be big so it’s crucial to make sure you don’t leave out any of your close friends and relatives. Making a detailed PowerPoint list of invitees and checking off whether they’ve been sent invites, RSVP’d their attendance, and amount of attendees from each family is an important part of the planning process.

Transportation

jerusalem taxis
Israeli white taxis traveling the noontime streets of Jerusalem. Photographed at intersection of King George St. and Jaffa Road, July 13, 2009. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Old City of Jerusalem is notorious for its heavy traffic during peak hours. Therefore you need to make sure you have prearranged your transportation so that you will not miss your event. There are various efficient methods to get to the Western Wall from within Jerusalem.

Shuttle

The Western Wall Train and Shuttle bus depart and return from Yaffo Gate every 20 minutes between 8:40am and 13:20 as a free-of-charge service for Bar Mitzvah families.

Taxi

In Israel it is very popular to use the taxi application Gett. Make sure you have it installed on your phone before you get to Jerusalem to ensure you can order a taxi on short notice. The apps default language is Hebrew, but you can easily change it to English.

Preparing the Bar Mitzvah Boy for Reading the Torah Portion

One of the most overlooked aspects of celebrating a Bar Mitzvah, is preparing the boy for the Torah reading…

Online Courses

Chabad.org has a library of resources…

Skype Lessons with a Jerusalem Rabbi

As part of the service in jerusalem, you can study with the rabbi that will perform your event here via skype.

Lessons at Your Local Synagogue

As with other types of learning, having a private teacher in person is the most effective way to learn something new. If you need help locating your nearest Jewish Community Center, search this database.

Professional Photography and Videography 

The The best way to cherish your event for years to come is to get custom photos and videos done for your event. Our professional team at Kotel.tv has over 10 years of experience providing top-notch photography and videography services for Bar Mitzvahs in Israel.

Jerusalem Bar Mitzvah Photographer

Hire a local professional bar mitzvah photographer to capture your event in an unforgettable way. It is a great investment. Families often realize what a great investment it was years later when they look at their memories.

Our #1 goal is to make an awesome Bar Mitzvah video and photo album that you and your family will enjoy for years to come, allowing you to sit back and enjoy your time. If you’re interested in our photography services for your upcoming Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall, go to the photographer page in the link below.

Jerusalem Bar Mitzvah Videographer

You can now get a professional jerusalem videographer to make a cinematic movie of your event. Some of the family can’t make it to the event? Send them a live stream, without breaking your pocket!

If you’re interested in our videography services for your upcoming Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall, go to the videographer page in the link below.

Western Wall Bar Mitzvah Musicians

You can make your event extra special. We offer a special discounted package for families who want to enjoy their event to the max! It includes 2 musicians, a chuppa and dancing from the time you get to the Old City until your ceremony begins.

Custom Judaica and Gifts

You can order custom kippot, Tallitot and bags, Tefillin, Custom embroidered kippas, Siddurim, Custom embroidered bentchers…

Event Reception

Bar Mitzvah boy being lifted by a crowd at a bar mitzvah reception in Jerusalem, Oc 20, 2019. (Moshe Rozenbaum/KTV).

If you’re planning a reception, it’s important to have your guests’ needs in mind so that everyone can have a relaxing time before the Bar Mitzvah. It’s a good idea to have things like: number of elderly/disabled attending (so that you can ask for the necessary accommodations ahead of time), number of kids planning to come (games, entertainment, kid-friendly food, etc.), level of invitees’ observance, etc.

Once everyone has had a chance to enjoy the big event, it’s a good idea to host a refreshment party in honor of the Bar Mitzvah. There are a number of morning/early afternoon dining locations as well as event halls around the Old City. Here are a few good ideas: 10 Best Restaurants in Jewish Quarter.

Western Wall Bar Mitzvah FAQs

How do I reserve a Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall?

The easiest and most efficient way to reserve your event is through our reservation form. You can access it here.

What is the best time to have my event?

In Jerusalem, people like to celebrate their events all year. If you’re planning to have your event in the winter the best time to have the morning service is anytime between 8am and 11am. In the summer, when it’s hot, most people prefer to celebrate their events earlier.

Can I choose the prayer style for my event?

Absolutely! You can choose from Orthodox and Egalitarian. You can also choose the nusach of the prayer text between Ashkenazi and Sefardi.

Related articles