Bar Mitzvah in Jaffa

Limor, Idan’s mother, a talented Israeli chef, wanted to cast as many meanings to his Bar Mitzvah events, as possible. It was not a problem since he lives in Jaffa – the city of many meanings. On an historical-mythological level ; Andromeda in the Greek mythology, the prophet Jonah in the Bible, and Tabitha and Saint Peter in the New Testament and in the present days a place where East and West meet on a daily basis. The fact that the event occurred on the eve of Shavuot (Pentecte), was a bonus. The morning started with the traditional Aliya LaTorah ceremony, in the ancient Libyan synagogue. The building was built in the 18th century, and it looks as if time stood still there. Idan made his Aliya La Torah in a most dignified way, accompanied by the prayers of the small community of worshipers. From the synagogue, two percussionists, with drums and horns, led all the guests in a happy marching parade, through the alleys of magical old Jaffa, to the alleys of the flea market. They reached the Shaffa bar, a location which carries the characteristics of the appealing flea market. Here, bountiful breakfast trays, assorted by zucchini flowers fresh from the grower, omelettes and fresh pastries “Jaffa Style”, all awaited their arrival. Live music gave ethnical joy, and filled the dance floor.

In the late afternoon, eve of Shavuot, we had an ‘Open House’ event. Guests were asked to come dressed in white, and received colorful, floral head wreaths, at the entrance. The boy’s father, a known gallerist, hung up a special piece of art, especially for the occasion. The piece was chosen to match the high ceiling of the typical Jaffa house. On our behalf, we arranged the seating to match various alternate spaces: Garden seating and buffet on the terrace garden, using the open kitchen as a central buffet, mosaic tables were set in the living room, bar and cocktail tables on the balcony overlooking the port of Jaffa, and in the children’s rooms, games and a buffet were set up. The designer Dorit Ben Israel added touches of Shavuot symbols everywhere; using wheat, grapes and vines in a color palate of off white, light green, and bright orange. In the basement we installed a station, with a special activity, for younger children; preparation of Shavuot baskets. At a point, we invited the younger crowd to march with their baskets, accompanied by the holiday’s classic songs.

The event was set at a perfect location, with perfect timing. This delivered the holiday’s spirit suited the Bar Mitzvah occasion perfectly. The guests enjoyed a charming holiday party.