Brothers and Sisters,
From the holy city of Jerusalem, from the Western Wall – a place from which the Divine Presence has never departed – I send my blessings to you and yours: May G-d bless you from Zion and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your lives.
A bar or bat mitzvah celebration is our opportunity to invite our son or daughter to look back into the past, toward the magnificent chain of generations in which they themselves are the newest and most gleaming link. It is our opportunity to tell them about their grandmother and grandfather, and the grandparents of their grandparents; about parents’ devotion to their children; about values that will never be eroded or corrupted – even in the most difficult of times; and about the wonderful journey of a nation that stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and there inherited the Torah, morality, and goodness for the sake of the entire world.
There is no better location in the world than the Western Wall at which to tell this story. Here, standing in the shadow of the Wall’s ancient stones, which saw our ancestors ascending to the Temple, which cried with them when it was destroyed, and which were privileged to see the Return to Zion – here the stones themselves urge the bar or bat mitzvah boy or girl to follow the commandment to “remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.”
Each year, thousands of families from Israel and abroad celebrate their child's bar or bat mitzvah at the Western Wall. I invite you to join them here, at the Western Wall, and to give your child a Jewish experience that they will never forget.
I look forward to seeing you.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch
Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel