Do You Need Help With Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Plan?
Parents involved in the chaotic world of Bar Mitzvah planning need resources to help them get through the maze of tasks they have to plan before their child’s special day. In the past, there were many things our parents did not have to organize for the Bar Mitzvah service and party that today, are now an integral part of Bar Mitzvah planning. These additional duties can cause a lot of stress before a day that holds so much meaning and significance.
No one needs stress before this Jewish lifecycle event. This is a time to enjoy your child's achievements and kvell over all that s/he has accomplished.
Here is a list of resources that can help ease the panic and help organize the job of planning a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
What is a Bar Mitzvah? What is a Bat Mitzvah?
A Bar Mitzvah is for a boy who is thirteen and a Bat Mitzvah is for a girl who is either twelve or thirteen. It literally means "son (bar) or daughter (bat) of the commandments". Children study for at least a year before they are called up to the Torah to read. From learning the aleph bet in first grade to studying prayers while in fourth grade to learning their Torah and Haftorah portions in seventh grade, there is a lot of studying along the way (not to mention their D'var Torah speech and all of the blessings they are supposed to have mastered before this day).
While the child is studying, the parents (typically the mother) is planning everything from the guest list to the table linens to the party favors. This can be an overwhelming chore for even the most organized person. If this is your first affair that you are planning, or you are new to the area and have no idea what catering halls to look into, this makes the task even more stressful.
Fortunately, there are books to help you along the way.
My Book on Planning Your Simcha
How to Plan a Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A Guide to Plan Your Child's Special Day was written by me. Between my family and friends, I had been to dozens of these affairs over the years. My only problem is that they were in another state and I was living elsewhere. I had never been to a catered affair in my area, and I had no idea where to even start looking or even how to start!
I was a young bride, and my parents planned most of my wedding while I was in college. What was I supposed to ask a photographer? How could I find a qualified DJ that was in my budget? How was I going to manage my guest list and who did I have to invite? My friends were helpful, but I was in a different budget category than they were.
This guide is how I managed to pull off my daughter's Bat Mitzvah and it is the guide I amusing to plan my twins' B'nai Mitzvah.
Mitzvahchic by Gail Anthony Greenberg
Be Creative and Unique
Mitzvahchic by Gail Anthony Greenberg came onto the scene like a breath of fresh air. It gave stressed out parents (moms specifically) an option for not having the “over the top, put us into debt” affair. It told readers that it was okay to forego the glitz and glamour and return the focus to the “mitzvah” part of the day.
Inside Mitzvahchic, you are shown how to combine the “mitzvah” and the “chic” to have the perfect party for your child. Included are appropriate ideas for the candle lighting ceremony (that oftentimes turns into the “candle slighting” ceremony because people get offended about not being called up for this honor), centerpieces (they do not have to cost a fortune), mitzvah projects and so much more. This book is a realistic and spiritual approach to Bar Mitzvah planning, from the service to the party. It was one of the first I read when I was party planning.
My First Bat Mitzvah Resource
Available for Kindle!
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2014)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Party Planner by Emily Haft Bloom
In Emily Haft Bloom’s book, she gives readers the step-by-step tools for planning your child’s party. The planner takes B’nai Mitzvah parents by the hand and guides them on how to tackle each task and also keep it meaningful. Tips on everything from selecting the right invitation to hiring a DJ are covered. Whether you are planning a lavish affair or a smaller, simpler one, this book is a planning resource every parent can use.
Putting God on the Guest List, 3rd Edition: How to Reclaim the Spiritual Meaning of Your Child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah by Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin
For years, Rabbi Salkin’s book had been given to parents receiving B’nai Mitzvah dates at synagogues across the country. Written by a rabbi who understands that not everyone is an observant Jew or even a traditional one, Rabbi Salkin’s easy to read style resonates with all. He emphasizes the service and it’s meaning, doing mitzvot, and the accomplishments of the child.
The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Your Life by Liz Suneby
In reaction to the emphasis being on the party and not on the service, many synagogues across the United States now require students to do a mitzvah project and volunteer a certain number of community service hours before they stand on the bimah. In The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Your Life, Ms. Suneby divides her book into categories with related community service projects.
The author provides realistic and doable mitzvah projects that touch all areas of interest. Young teens are so busy during the hectic Bar Mitzvah year, doing a project that interests them as well as fits their time schedule is important. Real life examples are given at the end of each chapters to show that these projects are doable. If your child likes animals, there is a chapter devoted to that. If your child is concerned about events in other countries, there is a Global chapter just for her. Crafty kids, children into movies and drama...that is covered, too!
A Book Full of Ideas
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2014)