The Best Gift Ideas for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
It’s that time of year and the invitations start rollin’ in… yes, folks, it’s bar and bat mitzvah time! We have got a brief overview of bar and bat mitzvahs in case your child just got invited and you don’t have a clue what’s going on, and more importantly, to find out what are the best bar mitzvah gifts and bat mitzvah gifts.
Heidi Grenley (mom of a teenage girl and an amazing event planner) has so graciously given us the email she sent out when her daughter had her bat mitzvah. I begged for a copy after a mutual friend (who is Catholic) said she was so happy to have received it as it was so helpful.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs
The bat mitzvah itself is when a young woman reads from the Torah (the Jewish Bible) for the first time. It is also when she joins the Jewish Community as an active participant. This takes place during a traditional service on Saturday morning. Most of it is in Hebrew and there are English translations – not everyone knows how to read Hebrew. The bat mitzvah is a monumental milestone for us but be aware there are other congregants in attendance for a regular service. Please remind your children to behave politely and speak in a whisper.
No bare shoulders. Dresses that are very short are discouraged.
Big Shabbat rule – no cell phones, texting, game playing or taking pictures.
Covering your head, for boys is customary and for girls by choice. Headcovers or kippahs are at the entrance to the sanctuary.
No gifts should be brought to the Saturday morning service.
Bar Mitzvah Gifts and Bat Mitzvah Gifts may be brought to the Saturday evening party.
Our daughter’s mitzvah project is CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA helps abused and neglected children in our community.
She volunteers her time and will be donating a percentage of her gifts to CASA.
The service will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a luncheon at the temple.
You may pick up your child around 1:00 p.m.
Sat evening party:
Dress: Black and white cocktail attire.
Men and boys usually wear a suit or slacks with a polo or dress shirt.
Women and girls usually wear cocktail dresses.
The party is at ______________ beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Pickup is at 10:30 p.m.
Please note that __________________ has a strict no denim and no cell phone policy.
Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions.
Thank you for helping us celebrate!
According to Coffee Shop Rabbi, the bar or bat mitzvah is a major event in the life of a Jewish family. The young person works for years to prepare for it, and the family saves and plans for just as long. A bar mitzvah (for a boy) or bat mitzvah (for a girl) falls sometime around the 13th birthday, and it marks the beginning of ritual adulthood. That is, once a Jew has reached that age, they are responsible for themselves in keeping the commandments and participating in Jewish life.
PRESENTS. Gift-giving is traditional at a bar or bat mitzvah. One may give money to the bat mitzvah, or make a charitable donation (tzedakah) in her name. Bar/bat mitzvah money often is put towards college or study in Israel. That said, if you cannot afford a present, it is not required.
THE PARTY. The party afterward may be very simple or very elaborate. For dress and other specifics, check your invitation. Again, do not bring uninvited guests! Usually, there will be speeches at the party, and it is polite to listen. There will also be dancing, which is optional but lots of fun. Even if you aren’t much of a dancer, circle dancing for the horah is fun. There will be food.
GREETINGS. If the service falls on Saturday (or in some congregations, on Friday night) you may be greeted at the door with “Shabbat shalom!” This literally means, “Sabbath of Peace!” and it is the traditional greeting for the day. You can reply “Shabbat shalom!” or simply “Shalom!” If you wish to congratulate the parents or the young person, you can say “Mazal tov!”
ENJOY! This is a moment of great joy for a Jewish family, a milestone in a young Jew’s life. It will involve good music, a beautiful service, good food, dancing, and new friends. Open yourself to the experience, and enjoy.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah Gift Ideas
First and foremost one would highly suggest philanthropy when it comes to gift giving so we want to impress that point. As you can read in the email above, their daughter volunteers for a wonderful organization that can use funding so if your donation comes in the form of cash (or check) she will split those funds.
There is a very important number in the Jewish faith and that is 18. It is the number of good luck. The number 8 and the number 10 together are chai which means living or life. Multiples of 18 are therefore very popular when giving the gift of money so keep that in mind.
For those who prefer to give something the 21st-century teen REALLY wants, then check out our list of bar and bat mitzvah gift ideas below. Don’t cringe - it’s just a suggestion and by the way, yes it’s all about giving money for bar and bat mitzvah gifts.
MONEY HOLDER CARDS
The Money Holder Cards from Jboutiq. $15 for a pack of 6.
The pre-cut cards have a spot to hold your check or cash and a modern spin that teens love.
KEEP CALM CELL PHONE CASES
Not so surprising but kids LOVE cell phones and most teenagers have one to stay in contact with their parents (among other things). For the modern teen in with modern technology, and a bit of fun.
TRAVELER'S PRAYER KEYCHAIN
Traveler's Prayer Keychain, $28
A small and inspired gift, this pewter cylinder holds a traditional Old Testament prayer of protection. The traveler's prayer keychains is a talisman meant to bring solace to those journeying from home.
HOLY STAR OF DAVID MEN'S NECKLACE
The Star of David with a spiritual vibe. Almost like mala beads, we love this men's beaded necklace for a graduation gift or bar mitzvah gift for that spiritual soul. Wooden beads and painted, wooden David inset with gemstones.
"CHAI" NECKLACE CHARM
Great for male or female depending on the chain you use. Chai means alive and symbolizes good luck in the Jewish culture. For more charms or chains to put them on see here.
Shalom Script Necklace, $175
Just for her, a precious necklace with the word shalom (peace) in 14k gold on a sterling silver chain.
MODERN METAL MEZUZAH
Modern Metal Mezuzah, $38
The perfect gift for the kid's room- a modern mezuzah made from metal. Handmade in Israel, this sleek design puts a contemporary twist on a time-honored tradition. Scroll sold separately, here.
PERSONALIZED KEEPSAKE BOX
This lovely round keepsake box for all of life's treasures and a gift that could be enjoyed all year around.
HANDCRAFTED HAMSA DISH
The iconic hamsa trinket dish originally sculpted in wax and cast into metal. Comes in gold, rose gold or silver.
Your presence at this ceremony will be the best gift of all. Blessing to you and your loved ones on this special day.