Arrival at the Western Wall and meeting your guide
Your escort will meet you at the Bar Mitzvah booth located near the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza (on the side leading towards the Dung Gate) The reception desk is there between the hours 8:30 am and 12:00 pm,
After 12:00 pm and until 3:00 pm you can go to the Bar Mitzvah desk at the entrance to the men’s section. From there you will walk together to the upper Plaza to start the ceremony. Your guide will discuss with your group the special privilege and significance in holding this event at the Western Wall, and its special connection to the chain of Jewish generations. Before heading to Western Wall Prayer Plaza, you will have the opportunity to take a short refreshment break and then the main part of the ceremony will begin. The men will move to the men’s prayer area, gathering around one of the many prayer stands available for public use, set up along the mechitzah (separating wall). The women will gather in their prayer area along the mechitzah to observe the ceremony from there. Separation of men and women is required at the Western Wall and we will do everything possible to provide the women attending the ceremony the most convenient and comfortable access to the event.
After the security check at the entrance to the Western Wall which is near the Dung Gate, there is a reception desk between the hours 8:30 am and 12:00 pm, there you will meet the guide who will accompany you during the ceremony.
After 12:00 pm and until 3:00 pm you can go to the Bar Mitzvah desk at the entrance to the men’s section.
The Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall
The Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall is divided into two parts: The first consists of the blessings, putting on the tefillin (phylactries), reciting the sh’ma. The second is the high point of the ceremony – calling up the Bar Mitzvah boy to recite the blessings on the Torah reading. The ceremony includes various honors to be given to other men in the party, which should be decided on in advance: Taking out the Torah scroll from the Ark, passing it to the Bar Mitzvah boy, raising it up before and/ or after the Torah reading, and of course the Torah reading itself. These are privileges that are special ways to honor family members and have them take part in the ceremony. From start to finish the ceremony will be accompanied by singing and great joy, and all the while your escort will be with you – accompanying, assisting, leading and blessing as needed by the Bar Mitzvah boy and your family.
After the Torah reading and the returning of the Torah to its place, time will be given for personal prayers and for placing a note between the Western Wall’s ancient stones. At the ceremony’s conclusion the entire group will gather at the upper level of the Plaza for final summation and continuing on to whatever plans the family may have made for the rest of the day.
Families who wish to provide refreshments and drinks to their guests can do so at the conclusion of the event in the covered area built especially for Bar Mitzvah groups. This is located on the wooden deck at the upper level of the Plaza, opposite the Western Wall.
Full prayer service
Families interested in conducting a full prayer service are requested to notify the events coordinator ahead of time. Our Bar Mitzvah escorts are not prepared to conduct a full prayer service, but would be happy to assist you in all logistical issues dealing with the event. (Details, such as the exact location of the registration booth, where to park, how much time it takes to get from Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall, etc., will be provided on a separate information sheet you will receive.)
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is happy to provide several other features that will add to your special event. These are available at an additional cost.