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Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

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Fair Lawn, New...
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Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

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!

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11. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

Hi Stacey,

If you asked about Decks, in Tiberias, it hasn't changed much over the years. It is beautifully sited on the Kinneret, and you can certainly have just meat from the grill, with total confidence that it's not nut-contaminated.

Since you're getting Hebrew tips, i'll chip in: "nuts" are EGOZEEM in Hebrew (the initial E like in Energy); "all types of nuts" are "KOL SOOGEI HA EGOZEEM".

Destination Expert
for Israel
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12. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

Despite the advise just posted, I would still be sure to talk to the chef and verify everything - in this case assumptions, or what seems "logical" can be quite dangerous.

Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
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13. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

I second Oreets' comments - this is not mild allergy or long-term health concern but an acute, life-threatening condition. As the OP is well aware it's not something where you can make any assumptions.

Sydney, Australia
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14. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

I have a similar allergy to your son anaphylactic to cashews and pistachios and milder reaction to other nuts. We just got back from a 3 week trip and as a general rule I noticed nuts is prevalent especially in desserts and salads less so in meat dishes although I have found occasionally nuts used in some mince meat type dishes like koftas. I ate safely in Burgers Bar, Moshikos , Frangelicos and Sushi Elo in Jerusalem although in most sushi places peanuts are used in stir frys. As suggested by others, I always checked with the chef at the hotel and everywhere we went although this again is not a guarantee. I also always go with top travel insurance as from experience travelling in other places, despite my vigilance there has been some close call. Good luck!

Jerusalem, Israel
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15. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

There is an indoor women section at the Kotel, so if it's cold the men and the women could go all the way inside. The women section raised on a platform is right above the area in the covered Men section in the Kotel. You could see all the way below.

Your son should go all the way inside the covered area in the Kotel (i.e. the most southern part). The Entrance to that women section is found near the southern security gate to the Kotel Plaza (in the arches more or less below the Netiv Arye Yeshiva). We just had my oldest son's Hanachat Teffillin cermony there, and my wife and her mother were able to see and hear everything.

16. Re: Winter bar mitzvah at the kotel? Severe peanut allergy too.

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