Hi! This board was so helpful 3 and a half years ago when we planned my oldest son's bar mitzvah. I even posted the slide show I made of our 3 week trip to Israel In Aug. 2009.
Now it's my second son's turn- we hope to come to Israel for 2 weeks in January. I do have a couple of questions though:
1. We are orthodox and want him bar mitzvahed at the kotel like his brother. However, it is winter. Are all bar mitzvahs held in Wilson's arch? Is it a mad house? last time around it was on the plaza and we hired a Rabbi who got us a spot at the mechitza and ran it for us--- is that even possible in the winter? I am sort of picturing it as a NYC subway during rush hour. Is it very crowded/noisy. Or is it still nice/women can see over the mechitza/kotelly feel?
2. We learned since the last time that our little one has a very severe allergy to peanuts. He almost died just before he was 3 (he's now 4 and a half). He ate 2 peanuts and his blood pressure dropped, he got covered in hives & his throat closed up. Luckily we got him to the hospital and he was okay. Since then we carry epipens everywhere and are very vigilant. He has had some airborne reactions to dusty peanut foods and some skin rashes, but not anaphylaxis.
Last time we did our brunch at between the arches--- and now I'm looking for a venue (possibly still between the arches) that is walking distance to the kotel (up to a mile away) but seriously 'gets' food allergies and will be able to keep my little one safe. He cannot eat any peanuts or tree nuts and should something accidentally be 'contaminated' with peanuts, he can react with anaphylaxis too.
Last time around we spent a week in Jerusalem, eating out all the time, we were a night at Masada, a night in Eilat, 4 nights on Lavi, 2 nights in Galil, at friends houses etc... now we are planning on doing most of the meal planning in a place with a kitchen and are hoping to find a few places that would be safe for him for whenever (would Deck's be safe/ some pizza stores on ben yehuda?)
The biggest hiccup though is figuring out how to handle the bar mitzvah day itself/the venue/the food, while not making our bar mitzvah boy feel very short changed while keeping the little one safe.
Thank you so much for reading this & any help is greatly appreciated!