Jamie’s family built their house in Caesarea, a few years ago. Naturally, they chose to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah with their family and friends at their Israel home.
Caesarea, placed in the Israeli central coastline, is surrounded by natural and historic sites but, hey, guests came to have fun not only to observe history…
The celebrations began on Tuesday. This was the ‘get together’ day guests arrived at the hotel, straight from the airport and awaiting their arrival were the heartwarming, friendly smiles of the hospitality crew, together with rooms at the Dan Caesarea hotel.
In each room a unique gift box awaited Jamie’s guests. The box was filled with special goodies, all products of Israel. The (Kosher for Pessach) sweets, chocolates, dried fruits and nuts, together with the Bar Mitzvah program and a map of Israel, all accounted for a wonderful welcome gift.
On Tuesday evening the celebrations began with a Welcome Cocktail at the Dan Caesaea hotel’s garden. The garden received a ‘make-over’. Designed to enchant and amaze, lit lanterns were hung with blue and green ribbons from the shading trees, alternative furniture was spiced up with decorative pillows and the main feature for the night, the ‘Slow Mo’ booth was placed in the center.
This booth was the star attraction of the evening and fun for kids and adults, alike. Staged by video director, Guy Sadot, and equipped with various fun props and gadgets, including lots of confetti, guests were asked to do all sorts of wild poses and this, no doubt, got the celebrations rolling and everyone got into the party spirit! Little did guests know that their movie would be projected two nights later, at the main Bar Mitzvah party.
The following morning guests boarded the coaches and headed for the Druze village of Usfia. Here, the group received guided tours of the village and learnt of the special story of this unique religion and community, living in Israel and the Middle East region. The tour ended in a private home of a Druze family, where everyone sat down for a traditional Druze lunch.
Upon having finished lunch, four jeeps awaited the teenagers, as they headed for an adventuress outdoor experience including backward rappelling at the quarries of the Kedumim in the Carmel Mountain. The rest of the group headed back to Caesarea and, whilst the adults enjoyed a perfect afternoon in the Cesar SPA, the young kids had an afternoon full of fun with arts & crafts and storytelling, at the hotel’s kids’ club. Everyone reunited at the SPA’s front yard, in order to take pleasure in a delicious, outdoor dinner, in a calm and relaxed ambiance.
Thursday morning began with the Aliya Latora ceremony. We wanted this meaningful event to take place in a location with miraculous scenery: a setting that would teach of the history of Israel. The Shuni fortress was just the place. An ancient Roman amphitheatre built on the remains of a pre-existing Jewish village, and then re-owned by Jewish settlers in the early days of the state of Israel. That very morning, began with heavy spring showers. The rain very nearly forced us to activate our backup plan, but at the last minute we rearranged the scenery, bought in dry chairs, and just minutes before guests arrived- we were prepared for the ceremony. We gathered the guests at the fortress pavilion and handed light blue Kippot and shawls and asked the guests to sign Jamie’s scroll. Shofar blowing was the cue to open the fortress gates and entering the fortress.
The Bar Mitzvah Ceremony was one of the most touching services I have ever attended. Jamie’s teacher and mentor, together with his a family friend, led the service. The entire service was accompanied by the ‘kippa live’ choir who began with the well known Jewish tune of Adon Olam (Lord of the Universe). The ‘Kippa Live’ choir accompanied the Rabbis throughout the entire service, by singing in acappella. Jamie read his Bar Mitzvah piece wonderfully and, towards the end of the service, the father of the Bar Mitzvah got up to say a few words and a special prayer for the sick. This was an extremely emotional moment and tears of hope and happiness were shed. The service ended with ‘Kippa Live’ and song of Halleluya sung to Leonard Cohen’s tune. The guests joined in the chorus and the powerful voices of hope and happiness continued as they descended the stairs of the amphitheater and headed for Brunch.
The Bar Mitzvah Brunch was situated on the rooftop of the Fortress. Greens and blue shades continued to act as the leading color scheme. Tables and chairs were set in a Parisian like style, and market type, bright white carts were set up as buffet stands. The kids had their own special corner and they enjoyed the space to its full.
After brunch, all the guests returned to the hotel in order to relax a few hours and prepare for the big party.
At 18:30 guests were driven to Jamie’s Bar Mitzvah Party. Upon approaching the location, the beam lights could be seen from a mile away. Nine big lit up balloons paved the way from the pavement to the marquee. Upon arrival at the entrance of the marquee, were large walls with ‘Jamie’ spray painted in large. Spray paints and overall awaited the guests whom were invited to graffiti on the field canvas which stood tall at the entrance of the large tent.
Yes, we built a large marquee as an events hall as an attachment to the family’s private home. This production included umpteen approvals and careful planning involving numerous bodies, including; the Caesarea local council, architects, construction and safety engineers, and many more. All this accounted for the ultimate venue at the perfect location. The outcome – A miraculous party and and unforgettable experience for all.
Guests entered the dark marquee in astonishment. As the Bar Mitzvah boy and his family were originally Londoners, now living in New York, we decided to use the streets of London and New York as the main concept for this party. The party theme was evident in many aspects of the party, beginning with the floral table center pieces that emerged from styrofoam models of red busses and Yellow and black taxis, as well as seat cushions printed with the maps of the New York Subway and the London Underground (Planned by Heart Co. and Designed Aylona and Yado).
Video arcade games, a hokey table, an interactive play station, an arts and crafts corner, one large bar (Supreme bar), one even bigger stage, and various buffet tables serving fine Israeli street food (Assenheim catering), were all prepared for kids and adults to enjoy.
The stage acts began with an eye catching bubble act; this was followed by an out of the ordinary hip hop duet dance, performed in the dark and accompanied with light up clothing. The entertainment continued with a performance of a ‘Poi’ dancer who created all sorts of shapes using led lights. Jamie, the Bar Mitzvah boy, was bought onto the stage and as he swung the led light rods his name was created. In between acts, we projected ‘A day in Jamie’s life’ movie (NY and TA corproduction) and the Slow Mo movie, taken at the first evening, Welcome Cocktail. This was a great delight for all the guests, who enjoyed watching themselves on a large screen.
The evening continues with the MC inviting Jamie’s Mother and two of his friends to say some very moving, funny, and well presented words. All this was then topped by Jamie himself. Way to go Jamie!
Around 10pm Joker figures in extravagant lighted costumes, came off the runway of the main bar and together with flashing lights handed out by the hospitality crew, led the guests out of the marquee and straight into the house’s backyard.
The second part of the evening began with a performance of the international group the Voca People and carried on into a fabulous dance party. The music was pumping, the bar was serving drinks at full force and everyone enjoyed a fabulous outdoor party. At 11pm, in order to abide by the laws of noise, the music turned into a headphone party. The hospitality crew distributed headphones and cool light up gargets to all the guests and the party continued up until the early hours of the morning. At a point throughout the night another buffet opened inside the family’s yard grill and guests were welcome to help more food. Even a sleeping area was set up for the younger children; with bean bags, blankets, and children’s movies.
The Bar Mitzvah celebrations came to an end on the Friday morning. At 10:00am guests, most of which having had little to no sleep, gathered for a calm and relaxing Farewell Breakfast. Designer, Dorit Ben Israel, created yet another relaxing atmosphere, and guests got together one last time.
Guests returned home after an action packed few days, with smiles on their faces and (for some) a great first visit to Israel.
“Amazing, thank you for organizing a wonderful trip & experience!Definitely something to tell my grandchildren!” Suzan
“Thanks for organizing such a spectacular event – unforgettable and wonderful memories shared.” Baum Family
“The Bar Mtizva was wonderful ! A real joyful event and a real treat. We were very impressed by the family and Jamie in particular.” Cohen Family
Jamie’s four days Bar Mitzvah Celebration was a 9 month project that consisted of planning, producing, and many more endless amounts of details taking no “NO” as an answer and facing last minute misshaps. There were approximately 150 guests, many of which had never visited Israel before who enjoyed a lifetime experience filled with unforgettable memories.
Thank you our beloved suppliers and vendors for making it possible. Enjoy the Behind the scene of Jamie’s Bar Mitzvah” clip
See you soon in the next Israeli Bar Mitzvah of your dreams.
* Photography: Ilan Spira