Since our ideal model for a Bar or
Bat Mitzvah consists of three parts: the event itself — prayer services
and a festive meal; an appropriate Torah Tie-In Adventure; and a Hands-On
Mitzvah project, we had to zero in on each part separately. But first
things first. Where should we hold the event?
We decided that the Bat Mitzvah would take place during the holiday of Passover
since the holiday coincided exactly with the spring break from school in
the U.S. So in addition to planning a Bat Mitzvah, we are now planning to
celebrate Passover in Israel with our extended family. Family seder,
Bat Mitzvah, nothing we couldn’t handle! Our next step is to settle
on a location and we have started thinking about different possibilities.
Mountain Desert Setting
A desert setting would be beautiful in the spring.
Perhaps the simplest and most interesting option would be to have Passover
at the Ramon Inn in Mitzpe Ramon. The actual Bat Mitzvah could be a sunrise
prayer service in nature overlooking the Ramon Crater followed by a catered
picnic feast in the desert. To top off the day, we could take our guests
camel riding in the Nabatean city of Avdat or along the crater rim.
Seaside Villa Option
On the other hand, maybe a more central location in Israel would be
better for our guests. So we are also exploring the idea of renting a large
villa in Caesarea to house parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and us
for the entire week of Passover. We could host a minyan (prayer service)
at the synagogue in Caesarea and then a poolside catered breakfast back at
the villa. The kayakers among us could then take off for a half day of sea
kayaking along the Mediterranean coast.
That would be different!
We are still considering options. We have decided, however, to hold a women’s-only
prayer service and to this end, my daughter is learning her Torah trop
(chant). A woman’s prayer service will allow even
the most Orthodox of our friends and relatives to participate in the service.
My daughter’s nearest and dearest male relatives will be allowed to observe
the service from behind a partition.
And in response to questions about whether the violence in Israel is making
us rethink our plans, we answer with a firm no.