#Israel_Tour_Guide – A Conservative or Reform Bar-Mitzvah or Bat-Mitzvah at the Kotel (Western Wall of Temple Mount)
The Second Temple was destroyed in the year 70 AD/CE by the Roman army at the end of the Great Jewish Revolt in Judea.
After the destruction the Jews were exiled from Jerusalem and mainly settled in the Galilee and later in the Diaspora.
One day a year – the 9th day of the month of Av (usually in August) Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and stand next to the Western Wall and lament (cry/wail) over the destruction of the beloved Temple. Hence the name – Western Wailing Wall or as it is usually called in Hebrew – the Kotel.
The Kotel is a small 75 foot portion of the great 1400 foot long western “containing wall” of the Temple Mount platform and part of it is called the Western Wailing Wall (the Kotel). It is not part of the Temple building or complex – only part of an adjacent wall.
The Kotel itself is not holy but it is the closest place to the Holy of Holies of the Temple and over the years traditionally it has become a place where you are more observant.
One of the beautiful traditions is to have your Bar-Mitzvah service there.
The Orthodox Jewish establishment controls that area and it is traditional to separate between men and woman. To have a Bat-Mitzvah (for a girl) there is unacceptable.
The Masorati Movement has organized an alternate place for Bar/Bat-Mitzvas and for holding a service with all the family, men and woman, participating together.
This site is called Robinson’s Arch inside the Davidson Archaeological Garden. It is part of the great Western Wall – just south of the Kotel and to my taste is just as relevant as the Kotel.
Services can be held there every Monday, Thursday and Jewish Festive holiday. The service can be Reform or Conservative with any special changes that you may want.
There is no charge for the services if before 9AM (although a donation is welcome). They supply a Torah, prayer books and a table.
After the service a tour of Jerusalem is possible and also a brunch/lunch at local establishments.
It is possible to get a local Rabbi and a photographer for the service. The Rabbi can teach your child the portion using Skype and a CD.
One of my specialties is arranging a service as part of your tour in Israel.
Here are some pictures of a Bar-Mitzvah service of a family from North America – their 5th one here: