Langley Castle to Fill Gap in Global Bar Mitzvah Market
England’s Medieval Langley Castle to Fill Gap in Global Bar Mitzvah Market
Medieval Langley Castle, built in its rural setting of Langley-on-Tyne, Northumberland in 1350, is exploring a new market, having thrilled a North American family who hired the whole castle for a traditional Jewish family birthday celebration.
The well-known family, which cannot be named, enjoyed a few days of exclusive use of the stunning castle, kashering the kitchens at Langley, so that its chosen Jewish caterers could provide the kosher meals required of the family’s faith.
The party had already been assured a warm welcome at Langley, whose owner, Dr Stuart Madnick, affixed a mezuzah beside the door, when first purchasing the castle back in 1986. A mezuzah is a decorative case, holding a parchment called a klaf, which is inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, namely Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 and 11: 13-21).
Affixing a mezuzah to the door of a Jewish home fulfils the Mitzvah (commandment), “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your home.”
Having proved a successful host to this Orthodox Jewish family celebration, Langley studied the global market to discover where Jewish families might stage the Jewish celebration of a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah in a castle.
The search suggested that Oheka Castle, built on Long Island, New Jersey, in the USA in 1919, another castle described as “reminiscent of Norman fortifications” and located in New York State and a third ‘castle’ in the same area - a property bought in 1998 and modelled to be “reminiscent” of a gilded mansion - might be their only choices.
Given that Langley has 669 years of history exuding from its seven-feet-thick walls, true medieval features and elements of fortification, and even walls built in part with stones heaved from nearby Hadrian’s Wall, it believes it has something truly amazing to offer to discerning Jewish families.
Langley is now determined to fill the gap in the market for a realistic and authentic castle that can offer boys turning 13, and girls reaching the age of 12 or 13, dependent on the branch of the Jewish faith they follow, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah of their dreams.
These milestone celebrations in a child’s life combine a religious element, in which the youngster concerned is required to recite some of the scriptures of the Torah and lead prayers, followed by a ‘simcha’ or party. This second element to the event can be themed, show-stopping and personalised to the child’s interest, celebrating in style their transition into adulthood and assumption of adult and religious responsibilities.
With its decades of experience in creating extraordinary weddings for the rich and famous, politically important and local lovebirds alike, Langley is well-placed to create something spectacular, for a celebration that has huge importance in the Jewish faith.
“A Bar or Bat Mitzvah promotes togetherness, the Jewish culture and the importance of a young adult’s faith,” says Dr Madnick, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “Hiring Langley for this celebration gives a family a unique historic venue, perfect for the solemnity of the religious element to the Bar Mitzvah, plus their own amazing location for the party that follows, which can be totally private and truly special.”
Exclusive-use hire of Langley is far more affordable than 89% of people believe, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the castle by an independent research company. Normally, the starting price – with many elements thrown in, plus 24 guest rooms – is £11,500. For any family wanting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, however, it will be £11,502, for good reason.
As Dr Madnick explains, “Part of the tradition behind this celebration is that gifts of money are given in multiples of 18, as the Hebrew word for 18 sounds like ‘life’ and reaching a milestone in life is what a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is all about. Whilst our normal price of £11,500 is not divisible by 18, £11,502 is, hence the very tiny price rise.”
Langley will soon be launching its own Bar Mitzvah marketing materials and preparing to say ‘mazel tov’ to new guests.
Dr Madnick continues: “Jewish families tend to know the date of a child’s Bar Mitzvah up to three years in advance, giving the castle plenty of time for planning some of these super celebrations for Jewish families from all over the world, who want to create memories in a real, fortified and genuine castle, not a fake one.”
Faith has always been strongly entwined with Langley’s history, with former Catholic owners, The Radcliffes, having supported the Jacobite cause and paid the price for doing so. Another former owner, Josephine d’Echarvines, established a consecrated chapel on the Langley battlements, having journeyed to Rome to seek the permission of Pope Leo XIII, to commemorate her husband, Cadwallader John Bates, following his passing.
Lesser-known is the fact that a descendant of the first recorded owner. – Adam de Tindale – played a major part in religious history, to the extent that, in 2002, he was placed at number 26 in a BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.
The achievement of William Tyndale (1494-1536) was that of producing the first English bible to be derived from primary Hebrew and Greek sources, with the widely accepted King James Bible said to be 83% and 76% Tyndale’s work in the New Testament and Old Testament respectively.
Perhaps the links between the Jewish and Christian faiths at Langley Castle go back further than anyone thought.
For more information, please visit www.langleycastle.co.uk or call 01434 688888 for more details of all celebration options. ENDS
Press calls: Jane Hunt, Catapult PR, 01253 446925 – firstname.lastname@example.org