In recent years, Bar/Bat Mitzvah Vacations' Ellen Paderson has planned celebrations throughout Central America and the Caribbean. This year, client feedback has prompted her to extend event planning to Europe including the Mediterranean.
The company's focus on the European market began when clients began inquiring about celebrating on a cruise ship. Paderson began collaborating with an Italian-American rabbi to plan celebrations in Italy, as well as developing bar and bat mitzvah cruises throughout the Mediterranean. The first woman rabbi in Italy, the Italian-speaking American heads Ner Tamid del Sud, the first active synagogue in Calabria in over 500 years, for which she and Paderson built a new entrance with an iron gate featuring two large stars of David.
When talking with Travel Agent, Paderson gave us a glimpse of what goes into planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Besides coordinating the rabbi's travel itinerary and offering clients ideas for the celebration itself, the company's travel agents and event planners take care of events for parties afterward, including setting up excursions or dinner reservations on a nearby island.
"Some clients are looking for a European vacation so the idea of havng a Bar/Bat Mitzvah on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean is very appealing," Paderson said. " If a client has an Italian-Jewish ancestry then it would be appealing to them to have their celebration in Italy."
As Paderson works with her clients in Italy, she will continue vacation planning with cruises and celebrations in the Caribbean and Central America. During more than 15 years in the travel industry, her work has featured destination events including ship-board and destination weddings, honeymoons and bar and bat mitzvahs featuring St. Thomas, Aruba, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica.