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How to celebrate the bar/bat mitzvah kid in Israel

Just because throwing a grand reception with 200 of your kid’s closest friends and family members may not be on the agenda for your family’s Bat or Bar Mitzvah Tour in Israel, that doesn’t mean that the party has to stop as soon as the Torah scroll gets closed. Celebrating your child becoming bar/bat mitzvah in Israel can be just as special (if not more so), and the possibilities are limitless.

The (Not So) Basic Brunch Option

Taking the family out for a celebratory meal after the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony is a great way to continue the festive mood and honor all the hard work and preparation that went into your child’s Aliyah to the Torah. If the Torah-reading is going to be at the Kotel or Robinson’s Arch (the egalitarian section of the Kotel plaza), there are plenty of good choices right in the Old City (many places will require a reservation, and for larger parties you may be asked to choose from a limited number of closed menu options).

If the ceremony won’t be taking place in the Old City of Jerusalem, your choices for restaurants are virtually endless (the culinary scene in Israel has been exploding in recent years, with top-notch establishments sprouting up all over the country). There are even numerous options for less conventional celebratory meals, including everything from a gourmet meal in a private tent to a desert picnic at sunset. Your Tour Specialist can help with recommendations and arrangements that will fit in well with your family tour in Israel.

Beyond the celebratory meal

After the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony, you might be interested in enjoying a short activity for the family to participate in together. There’s something for everyone, depending on your tastes and interests.

Workshops and interactive activities

Spend a couple of hours learning a new skill, creating a lovely piece of art, or going off the beaten track with an interactive urban exploration. Enjoy a hands-on workshop led by a skilled professional: traditional cooking, bread-baking, or chocolate-making workshops for the culinarily inclined; pottery, mosaic, or graffiti workshops for art lovers; and more! You might also enjoy a competitive scavenger hunt through an open-air market, a tour of local street art, or a combination tour and workshop.

Mitzvah projects and volunteering

Visit one of the many worthwhile organizations that aim to improve society through service to the community. You may be interested in spending time with Holocaust survivors, working with guide-dogs-in-training, serving meals to the hungry, making care packages for lone soldiers, or any number of other service projects. It’s a wonderful way to learn about Israeli society while pitching in and doing your part to make someone’s life a little better.

Celebratory activities

Kick it up a notch and celebrate the bar/bat mitzvah kid with an adrenaline-filled activity that everyone will love. Go off-roading on a thrilling ATV adventure; try rappelling down the side of a mountain or even down the walls of the Old City; train with elite Israeli Special Forces security experts; go zip-lining or bungee-jumping; or even take off on a flying ATV or helicopter ride.

Commemorative experiences

You may wish to take some time for more reflective and commemorative experiences as your child reaches this major milestone. Many families choose to plant a tree in honor of a loved one. You may also wish to plan a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust Memorial and Museum. You may also be interested in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program at Yad Vashem, which will allow your family to honor the memory of an individual child who died at the hands of the Nazis before becoming a bar/bat mitzvah.

Planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel

If you’re planning a Bat or Bar Mitzvah Tour in Israel, it may be useful to have some local support to help with logistics. There’s a lot to think about: finding an amazing location for the ceremony, connecting with a local rabbi, choosing an amazing photographer, organizing a celebratory meal, and more! Your bar/bat mitzvah kid has dedicated so much time and energy in preparation for this momentous occasion, you’ll both want the whole day to be absolutely perfect.

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Bar or Bat Mitzvah on Masada

The centerpiece of any Bar or Bat Mitzvah tour in Israel is the ceremony itself. Many families from across the Jewish spectrum choose to hold this rite of passage at Masada, which stands as a national symbol of bravery, resilience, and perseverance.

Family trips to Israel with teenagers

At Dekel Tours, we understand that families come in all shapes and sizes, so our approach to trip planning for families with teens is all about personalization. While there are plenty of sites around Israel that have broad appeal, we think it’s best to find ways to incorporate sites that match your teens’ specific interests

Planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Israel

Celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah in Israel can be an incredible experience for the whole family. Marking this significant Jewish milestone in the Land of Israel is especially meaningful for many families, so it may be helpful to start thinking early about how you and your bar/bat mitzvah kid would like to commemorate the occasion.
A rabbi blessing a boy at his bar mitzvah ceremony in the Old City of Jerusalem.
A rabbi blessing a boy at his bar mitzvah ceremony in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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