June 25, 2019

High-flying to low-lying Israel offers a world of B’nai Mitzvah fetes

Have you thought about planning your child’s bar or bat mitzvah in Israel? Are you looking for an out-of-the-box idea that will be memorable and match your child’s personality, interests or hobbies? Jerusalem is a versatile city filled with history, nature, art, culture and fun. Now the hard part begins: What to choose?

For the Adventurous
Dinner in the Sky

Take the bar or bat mitzvah celebration to new heights with Dinner in the Sky (dinnerinthesky.net). A special table can accommodate up to 22 guests and is lifted 150 feet above the ground for a gourmet experience in the sky. Locations include Yafo, with a 360-degree view of Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem, overlooking the Old City.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor.
• Food: Catered dinner, appetizers and cocktails available.
• Cost: Varies based on food and location.
• Contact: Alon at (54) 670-7470. In the United States, call (954) 889-7099 or e-mail {encode=”info@dinnerinthesky.net” title=”info@dinnerinthesky.net”}.

Challenge Tours

In Israel, snappeling has nothing to do with iced tea. The word is slang for rappelling. Take your bar or bat mitzvah guests on the experience of a lifetime by snappeling in the Ben Hinom Valley, just outside of the Old City. Challenge Tours (challengetours.org) can arrange snappeling, rock climbing and jeep tours throughout Israel.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: $400 for 15 people and one guide (larger groups are possible).
• Contact: Yaakov at (52) 893-8921 or {encode=”challengetours@gmail.com” title=”challengetours@gmail.com”}.


DeerLand (deer-land.co.il), located in Gush Etzion, includes the longest zip line in Israel (1,200 feet), a climbing wall, horseback riding, paintball, jeep tours, a petting zoo and more. Its rustic atmosphere is similar to an American-style ranch.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor; can entertain up to 600 people in the park or in the nearby forest reserve.
• Food: Meat restaurant on premises.
• Cost: Price varies based on activities chosen.
• Contact: Ohad at (50) 204-1201 or {encode=”madaroh@yahoo.com” title=”madaroh@yahoo.com”}.


AMITZ Outdoor Adventures (amitz.biz) specializes in memorable paintball experiences at an abandoned army base in the Jerusalem Forest. AMITZ makes the arrangements and provides the party with all needed supplies. Children ages 11 and under are included in target-shooting activities.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor.
• Food: Not available.
• Cost: $30 per person for up to 15 people or $25 per person for 15 to 50 people.
• Contact: Yoni at (52) 977-2357 or {encode=”jewishleader@live.com” title=”jewishleader@live.com”}.

Customized navigational game

Yes to Where offers a customized two-to-three-hour navigation game in the Old City. Guests are divided into small groups and are given maps, clues and a cell phone. After sending answers to clues via SMS, players are then sent the next clue. The game can be played in English or Hebrew and customized to suit the bar or bat mitzvah.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor.
• Food: Not available.
• Cost: $13 per person.
• Contact: Avner at (50) 252-4013 or {encode=”yestowhere@gmail.com” title=”yestowhere@gmail.com”}.

For nature lovers
Biblical Nature Reserve

Neot Kedumim (neot-kedumim.org.il), a 650-acre nature reserve located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is filled with trees, plants and flowers mentioned in the Bible. The setting is a unique place for a family event surrounded by the beautiful landscape of Israel. Tours can be linked to the Torah portion or haftarah. And for the bat mitzvah, special tours focus on women of the Bible.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: Groups begin at $160 for 15 people; larger groups can be arranged.
• Contact: Ronit at (08) 977-0782) or {encode=”tourism@neot-kedumim.org.il” title=”tourism@neot-kedumim.org.il”}.

For the history buff
Tower of David

The Tower of David Museum (towerofdavid.org.il) offers the opportunity to host family events and ceremonies in the open air of the Citadel courtyard. The celebration can include a visit to the museum’s galleries, a tour of the site (led by a guide or by the bar or bat mitzvah), a panoramic view of the entire city of Jerusalem from the Citadel’s towers or even a private showing of the new Night Spectacular at the Tower of David.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor, with indoor exhibit halls.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: Price varies based on activities and number of people.
• Contact: Rachel Weiss at (02) 626-5321 or {encode=”rachel@tower.org.il” title=”rachel@tower.org.il”}.

Museum of the Underground Prisoner

Take your guests back to 1948, when the brave men and women of the Underground fought for independence. Take a private tour of the museum and former prison, and arrange private art workshops as well. Although this is a former prison, it can be a very uplifting visit and a truly unique experience. 
• Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor, but outdoor courtyards are available for events.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: $4 (adults), $3 (children).
• Contact: Hadar at (02) 623-3166 or {encode=”hamachtarot_jerusalem@mod.gov.il” title=”hamachtarot_jerusalem@mod.gov.il”}.

For the future financier
Bank of Israel

The Bank of Israel Visitors Center (bankisrael.org.il) is a great place for a young up-and-coming financier to celebrate and learn about the history of Israel’s currency. The main hall contains exhibits of coins used through the ages as well as four video games for teens (English or Hebrew), including “Catch the Counterfeit” and “Be a Bank Supervisor.” A guide in English can be arranged for groups of 20 to 50 people.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor.
• Food: Not allowed.
• Cost: Free.
• Contact: Zadok Alon at (02) 655-2828 or {encode=”zadok.alon@boi.org.il” title=”zadok.alon@boi.org.il”}.

For children with special needs

Shalva (shalva.org), an organization dedicated to children with mental and physical disabilities, has a beautiful synagogue at its facility. At Shalva, you will find a kind and generous staff who can help you create a memorable experience for special-needs children.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor facilities include synagogue, cafeteria and classrooms. Outdoor space includes a playground with a view of the Jerusalem hills.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: Price varies based on activities chosen.
• Contact: Eliezra at (02) 651-9555 or {encode=”info@shalva.org” title=”info@shalva.org”}.

For the volunteer
Zichron Menachem

Celebrate and give back to the community at the same time. Volunteer with Zichron Menachem (zichron.org), a Jerusalem charity that assists children with cancer and their families. Customize the activities with the Zichron staff so guests can enjoy time together with the Zichron children.
• Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor and outdoor space is available.
• Food: Catering available.
• Cost: Price varies based on activities chosen.
• Contact: Efrat at (02) 643-3001 or {encode=”efrat@zichron.org” title=”efrat@zichron.org”}.

Joanna Shebson is editor of funinjerusalem.com.