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Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning
A special occasion steeped in tradition is the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. In the Jewish faith Bar/Bat Mitzvah literally means " Son/Daughter of the commandment". Under Jewish law, children are not obligated to observe the commandments, although they are encouraged to do so, until their passage into adulthood. This happens at age 13 (12 for girls) when this ceremony formally marks the assumption of adult obligations, along with the corresponding right to fully participate in religious services and be counted as part of a minyan (the number of participants needed to perform certain parts of religious ceremonies). One requirement many congregations impose in addition to the regular attendance at religious school and special study needed to recite and understand the biblical portion to be read, is the completion of a Mitzvah Project.That is an activity, often a donation of time to serve the community.
As this is a very special benchmark in a child's life, it is not unusual for friends and family to travel long distances in order to share this joyous rite of passage. During the religious service family members and other special guests are given the honor of participating during the service. Generally following the Sabbath service all in attendance are invited to join in blessing the bread and the wine.
Parties are often held to celebrate the event; in some cases a luncheon after the Saturday service, in others an evening event. Often a DJ provides music and coordinates activities including contests and games. Many Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties are themed afternoon or evening events and include creatively decorated center pieces using a motif of the celebrants favorite hobby, sports team, or pertaining to the child's mitzvah project. A cake echoing the theme is also prepared. Today one popular additional feature of the celebration is the showing of a montage featuring the event's "star".
Most events are commemorated by a professional photographer and/or videographer. Also popular is the placement of disposal cameras on guest's tables so as to capture wonderful candid memories. Another of today's favorites is the set up of a photo booth, where in the course of the event guests and groups of guest can generate their own keepsake photos.
In selecting the celebration site budget, number of guests and theme need to be considered. Favorite sites include: theme restaurants, elegant restaurants, hotels, banquet facilities, amusement parks, zoos, ships, museums, country club and home settings. Check to assure any dietary requirements can be adhered to. Verify what is included in packages being offered i.e. bar, flowers, cake service, video equipment etc.
Select a DJ who is familiar with Bar/Bat Mitzvah events, who has the appropriate cultural dance music, and who can keep the celebrant and teen friends entertained and involved. Meet with he DJ to review their role as the M.C. and review any special requirements you may have.
Meet and review with your photographer/ videographer any special guests shots you desire.
Consider if transportation to the celebration site from the synagogue or guests' hotels is required.
The directory of service index in this issue is a convienent resource for locating all your event needs.
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How to celebrate this very special benchmark in a child's life.