Quill of the Heart – Experiential, Preparatory Gathering with the Bar Mitzvah Boy and His Family in One of the Western Wall Tunnel Halls before His Laying of Tefillin and Being Called up to the Torah
The tefillin that the Bar Mitzvah boy will wear on his special day, and the Torah scroll from which he will read include the holy Torah verses. They are also continuous traditions dating back thousands of years and passed on from generation to generation. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation invites families celebrating their Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall to participate in the special program, “Quill of the Heart”.This program further connects the celebrant’s family to Jewish sources and to our ancient tradition of the scribe’s writing of holy parchment items of tefillin, mezuzot, and Torah scrolls. This special ceremony takes place in one of the impressive halls hidden within the complex of Western Wall Tunnels, led by a professional scribe.
The ceremony begins with the participants examining a 150 year old Torah scroll that comes from ancient Babylon – today’s Iraq. It will be open to the Sh’ma prayer. The Bar Mitzvah boy receives the honor of reading a section of this prayer from the Torah, if he wishes. Our scribe continues by explaining the process of preparing a set of tefillin – a tradition dating back to the days of Moshe Rabbeinu and continuing to our times. The Bar Mitzvah boy himself will be able to write some holy letters using the actual quill and pen used by the scribe, as his excited family looks on. A section of the writing will be taken from a chapter of Psalms about Jerusalem, and it will be written on the same parchment used in making a Torah scroll. A framed parchment of this chapter of Psalms will be presented to the “man of the hour” as a memento of this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Finally, the Bar Mitzvah boy’s mother will present him with his tallit (prayer shawl) as she blesses him, and his father will present him with his tefillin and bless him as well. It is recommended that the parents prepare this special blessing in advance, due to the high emotional state of this ceremony.
At the ceremony’s conclusion, the young man will lay his tefillin and wrap himself in his tallit. Then the entire party will proceed in a joyous procession to the Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall.
The “Quill of the Heart” ceremony is a meaningful and moving event that provides a unique, shared family experience. The program can accommodate up to 50 people.
Length of Program: about 45 minutes
Cost of event: 650 NIS. If adding an additional child (e.g. twins) there is an added fee of 60 NIS each.
*Due to construction in the Tunnels, unfortunately the halls used by the project (Achar Kotleinu / Ohel Yitzhak / Hashmonaim) currently are not wheechair accessible and may not be suitable for people who have difficulty walking. We apologize for the inconveniance.