If you live outside Israel, then you know that one of the greatest joys in life is having a family Bar Mitzvah in Israel, and particularly in Jerusalem. To make it a success, however, you need to do a lot of planning and coordinating that takes time and tons of patience. So where do you start?
Jerusalem hotel reservations
Depending upon the time of year, you might have to make your hotel reservations six months ahead or even up to a year in advance, especially if you’re staying in one of the Jerusalem hotels for the event. Once you’ve decided on your hotel, reserve a number of rooms for out-of-town guests.
Will the Bar Mitzvah be on Shabbat or during the week? Do you want it to take place at the Western Wall or at one of the many synagogues in the city, or even at one of the Jerusalem hotels? If you want it at a particular synagogue, make sure the date is free. Decide if you want a Kiddush following the event.
If you want a formal Bar Mitzvah party, then you’ll need someone in Israel to check out the various rental halls. Most Jerusalem hotels have elegant banquet rooms that can be used for parties such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Keep in mind how many people will attend – a room too big can be overwhelming, while a room too small can be suffocating.
After the party
Make arrangements for touring the country after the Bar Mitzvah. With so many family members and out-of-town guests in one location, it’s your opportunity to spend time together on a group holiday. Call up travel agents or search the Internet for private Bar Mitzvah tour packages. Besides planning your Jerusalem hotel stay, they can also coordinate complete tours that include transportation, hotels, and sightseeing around the country. For example, you can plan your itinerary to include a tour of the mystical city of Tzvat or fun-filled activity such as apple picking in the Golan. Perhaps the Bar Mitzvah boy wants to visit Eilat, which is almost a five-hour drive from your Jerusalem hotel, and swim with the Dolphins. That’s also a possibility. The most important thing is to have a memorable time with your family and friends at your son’s Bar Mitzvah.