The Bloated Bar Mitzvah Celebration: 6 Ways to Take It Back
Bar Mitzvah celebrations have grown exponentially in size and scope in the past twenty years.
That's great news for me; I derive much of the income I earn as a party entertainer from working at these events. Nonetheless, I offer this advice to those planning Bar Mitzvah celebrations:
Less is more.
Becoming a Bar Mitzvah is a major milestone in the life of a Jewish youngster. It is a joyous occasion deserving of celebration.
While the Bar Mitzvah service is a religious ceremony, the reception that follows is a thoroughly secular affair.
In a generation, the typical Bar Mitzvah reception has grown from a homegrown simple affair to something rivaling many weddings in its elaborateness and cost.
And, like the over-commercialization of Christmas, what is intended to be a joyous celebration of friends and family has gotten out of hand.
Don't misunderstand. I share the joy of the Bar Mitzvah's family. I've felt much joy when members of my own family and friends' families have reached this threshold.
It's just my observation that too much of the time the celebrants aren't enjoying themselves very much.
The outsize scope of many Bar Mitzvah celebrations seem to be a product of social pressure more than anything else. And the excess seems to be most pronounced in large American cities - travel to the Mid-west or to Israel, for that matter, and you'll generally find a more low key event.
Peer pressure is more intense for most people in their teen years then any other time of their lives. Couple that with the social pressure Bar Mitzvah parents feel to show their family in the best possible light in front of friends and relatives ? and the stage is set for excess.
And we, in the industry that has grown up around Bar Mitzvah celebrations, are only too happy to indulge you.
Parents work very hard to plan and pay for elaborate By the time they rent a banquet hall, hire a caterer and a DJ or band, perhaps a videographer and/or photographer, the price tag can easily reach five figures. And that doesn't include centerpieces, balloons, favors and other add-ons.
For families of modest means facing college costs in just a few years, the cost of these receptions is a sacrifice.
Meanwhile, Bar Mitzvah age children receive invitations to attend an endless round of Bar Mitzvah celebrations of their friends and classmates. By the time they finish many are bored and jaded.
I suggest that Bar Mitzvah families take back the Bar Mitzvah celebration and mold it into something that is meaningful to them and their guests.
Here are six suggestions:
1. Remember, there is absolutely no religious component to the Bar Mitzvah reception.
So keep the aspects you like, and throw out those you don't. Or just modify them.
2. Some kids love the big party. If so, go for it.
But what if your kid doesn't?
My niece loved the dancing, games and glitz at her cousin's Bat Mitzvah. But my nephew was bored to tears.
If your kid is like my nephew, save the aggravation and ditch the big party.With the same budget, you can substitute a trip to Israel and have money left over. Or plan something else that is equally awesome.
3. Is it necessary to invite your kid's entire class? While the answer is probably yes if the class is close-knit, most classes are not.
Anyway, does your daughter really have 70 best friends?
4. Most Bar Mitzvah receptions last at least 4-5 hours.That can be an eternity if you are at a social function where you know very few people.
So, is it necessary to invite your Dad's Great Uncle Sid who hasn't seen your family in the last 20 years?
5. Since the DJ community introduced the candle lighting ceremony in the 1980's, it has become a fixture at Bar Mitzvah celebrations.
The ceremony is a wonderful way for the newly minted Bar Mitzvah to honor friends and family. Many truly appreciate the opportunity to pay tribute.
Too often, in practice, the resulting presentation is a tired, singsong recitation of sappy prose written by the overworked Bar Mitzvah Mom.
In that case, it's useful to note that no higher authority has decreed that the candle lighting ceremony be made a mandatory feature at Bar and Bat Mitzvah receptions.
6. Jewish Law notwithstanding, unsupervised, sugar-crazed thirteen year-olds are still kids.
So, make sure an adult wanders over to the children's area once in a while ?
Especially if your guest list includes 70 of your kid's best friends.
About the Author
Ellen M. Zucker has drawn caricatures at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for the past 10 years. Her company, Faces & Fortunes provides caricature entertainment at parties and events throughout the Greater Philadelphia and surrounding areas. For more information, go to http://www.facesandfortunes.com
RELATED ARTICLES30th Birthday Gift Ideas
Choosing a birthday gift for a friend about to turn thirty years old can be a challenging task. You want to honor the special day with a unique gift, but not necessarily draw attention to their age.
Create a Holiday Feast For The Senses
This is my daughter's first Christmas. Naomi will be nearly nine months old and eager to explore all that the holidays have to offer.
Gift of the Month Clubs: The Lazy Mans Guide to Gift Giving
If you are like me and are a very lousy shopper and always end up getting everyone the wrong gift at Christmas time, think about a Gift-of-the-Month Club. G.
5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Depression
While war and poor economic conditions begin to affect people all over the world, more and more people suffer with depression. The more we focus on news events and the business climate, the more we are depressed.
Every year I vow to make Christmas easier, simpler - less stressful.Have I ever? One year I tried forgetting Christmas here in the UK and spent it in the Canary Islands.
FIREWORKS--OR, OOH, AAH, How Do They Do That?
One of my earliest memories involves a Fourth of July spent at Annandale, Minnesota, sitting on a hill and watching fireworks. Our family had a cabin on Cedar Lake, a mile and a half away, and we had come to the display with a recently emptied ice cream tub filled with popcorn and a thermos of raspberry Kool-Aid.
A Simple Little Holiday Plan
The Thanksgiving leftovers have all been eaten and the gift-buying season has shifted into high gear. Remain calm and prepare yourself for the most jam-packed month in the calendar year.
Keeping it Simple this Season
It's back. The holiday season and all the challenges that come with it! This is the time when we are most tempted to overdo things - shopping, partying, spending.
Legends of the Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree is a much loved symbol iinstantly calling up images of gifts and family jollity. There are many beautiful connections to ancient traditions.
Holiday Survival Guide
The Holiday season has officially begun and Christmas is almost here. This is the time of year when most Americans are NOT beginning a new diet, rather ending their old one.
Memorial Day Flowers
Monday, May 30th is Memorial Day. Your local florist can provide fresh or silk flowers for honoring the memory of your loved ones.
Kids Halloween Costumes! Your Pint-sized Witches And Goblins Can Look Their Spookiest & Cutest Ever
It's not only the candy that puts smiles on kids' faces on October 31st! It's the fact that they love getting dressed up and scaring everyone along the way! Kids look cute in any sort of costume, but now that you can purchase their costume online, you'll be able to find the best selection of kids Halloween costumes ever!We can definitely say that Halloween is likely a kid's favorite time of year, and why wouldn't it be! They get to dress up as one of their favorite characters like Scooby Doo, or Pooh Bear, and go out and get the motherload of candy. Now just imagine how much happier they'll be if the family can go online and look at halloween costume ideas together! With the click of a mouse, you can find classics like that cowboy costume, ninja, Batman, black cat, as well as the adorable Disney costumes, and don't forget Bob the Builder! It's that easy! Halloween shopping has never been so fun and stress free!Find great costume accessories as easy as 1-2-3!Not only will you find great costume ideas, but you'll also see unique childrens costume accessories to accentuate that adorable Barbie doll dress, or that precious Princess gown.
10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a day for remembering those who have laid their lives in the nation's service. Memorial Day has also become a popular time for Family Reunions and Get Togethers as it is preceded by a weekend.
Say I Love You For Valentines Day
With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about the perfect gift for the one you love. Whether you are looking for something special on a tight budget or would simply like to add something special to another gift, there's no better way to express your love than by saying it in a variety of languages.
Top 15 Valentines Day Quotations
"If you love somebody, let them go. If they return, they were always yours.
Holiday Tips & Treats That Wont Play Tricks On Your Waistline
Halloween - so starts the Holiday Season. The average American gains 7-12 pounds between Halloween and New Year's .
Find Great Halloween Costume Ideas! Have The Most Creative Costumes This Year
Usually, the hardest part about Halloween is finding the perfect costume and top accessories for your ghoulish creation. Well, now it doesn't have to be! With the countless, great resources available on the web, finding Halloween costume ideas for the adults, kids and the rest of the family will be the easy part! Now, you'll just have to figure out what everyone wants to dress up as!So where do you begin? Let us help you! Take the time to browse through our site for some great tips on creating the your favorite costumes.
No More Ties! Homemade Fathers Day Gift Ideas
If you are like me, you never know what to get dad for Father's Day. Well, today, you'll get a few ideas that will get you out of a bind any time.
Birthday Gift Ideas
Birthday celebrations date back as far as biblical times, when celebrations among Pharaohs and other significant individuals have been mentioned. There is even some evidence to suggest that in pagan cultures people feared that evil spirits lurked about an individual on their birthday because they tended to become more malicious around important events in one's life.
Outside the Box Gingerbread Houses
Beyond trees and wreaths, there are few symbols of the holidays so well venerated as the gingerbread house. Throughout the country, gingerbread house displays and contests attract everyone from culinary architects to kids who love to savor the decorations.