Off many significant moments in the life of a young Jewish boy, perhaps none is so special as the celebration of moving into the adult world – Bar Mitzvah.
Bar Mitzvah represents great importance in Jewish heritage – it’s when a child enters a phase where he acknowledges being more responsible for his actions and, in more a traditional sense, he’s embraced into the set of Jewish rules and guidelines for living one’s life.
The celebration is not meant to signify adulthood in every sense of the word, however it does signify that a person is qualified for fulfillment of the Commandments. The Bar Mitzvahceremony marks that qualification – and obligation – as well as the ability to take part in and lead religious services, to form binding contracts, and to testify before religious courts.
A Bar Mitzvah Celebration Rooted in Ancient History
While it’s a celebration of great meaning for Jews around the world, many choose to make their way to Israel as a way to enhance the meaning and connect with the true roots of this tradition. Choosing to celebrate Bar Mitzvah in Israel is often referred to as a Bar Mitzvah tour.
Imagine a young Jewish child perched atop a hill overlooking the City of Jerusalem, standing in front of the Western Wall (Kotel), or standing proudly on the top of Masada during sunrise. Each of these, and many others, can be part of the setting of a Bar Mitzvah celebration. Significant, symbolic and powerful…
Top Locations for Bar Mitzvah Tours and Historical Relevance
Bar Mitzvah tours to significant historical sites are very popular. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular, and important sites that are typically considered when planning a Bar Mitzvah tour.
- Tel Marisha Archeological Dig – Sift through the past at a real archeological dig and feel the sands of time flow through your fingers. There’s no greater connection to Israel’s past than to unearth it right before your eyes.
- Israel Museum – The Israel Museum is the biggest cultural institution in the State of Israel and is ranked among the world’s top museums of archaeology and art. The Museum houses encyclopedic collections, including works from prehistory to more modern times. It features the most extensive holdings of biblical and Holy Land archaeology known to man in its half-million-piece collection, including the Dead Sea Scrolls – the world’s oldest biblical manuscripts.
- Masada – It’s the nation’s most popular tourist attraction, and Israel’s greatest national symbol of resistance. The ancient fortification sits high atop an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaea Desert, and overlooks the Dead Sea. Since the first century, this location has been a significant historical landmark.
- Tel Megiddo – Excavations have exposed 26 layers of civilization beneath Megiddo. The site was of great importance in the ancient world as it guarded a branch of a narrow pass that connected Egypt and Assyria. Its strategic location caused it to be the site of several historical battles. The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 BC to 586 BC. It is currently a national park and a World Heritage Site.
- Safed – Safed is a city full of spiritual people and artists. Wrapped in mystery, and engrained in sacred atmosphere, visitors to this city feel its comforting character as they meander through alleyways past stone homes where artists have their studios and workshops. Safed is one of four holy cities within Israel. It has been a center for spiritual activity since the 1600s when Kabbalist mystics lived, studied, taught, and wrote there. Many of the graves located in Safed are objects of veneration.
- With no shortage of historical sites to celebrate during a Bar Mitzvah tour in Israel, it’s easy to see why so many orchestrate this kind of trip to support the rich, deep meaning of this significant Jewish event.
Author: David Ben-Sira knows every trail and every stone in Israel. A passionate traveller, full time tour guide at Kenes Tours and part time history teacher.