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Having the Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13 is a highly significant passage for any Jewish boy as it represents the passing from childhood to adulthood. He will be called upon to read from the Torah, and to do this he will need to learn the trope, or melody, of the passage assigned and to make sure it is absolutely word perfect. This can be rather difficult for any 13 year old child. Once all the hard work is done there will be an enormous celebration waiting for him. The usual Bar Mitzvah party can be so glamorous, it can outshine a glitzy wedding party but it’s important to keep the focus on the Bar Mitzvah itself to celebrate the hard work and effort the boy has put in without turning it into any regular party.
To prepare for your perfect Bar Mitzvah party, first choose a theme that brings it all together, perhaps something that the celebratory boy enjoys such as music, football, or movies. Whatever it is, it could form the basis for the food, drinks, music, cake, and the party favours. Once the theme is in place, there is the food to think about. It is extremely important to remember that, depending on the synagogue, meat and dairy products won’t be allowed together- maybe even no meat at all, though dairy on its own should be permissible. The usual foods found at a Bar Mitzvah are salads, bagels with cream cheese and butter, fruit and vegetables, and of course the cake. It is unlikely that you will find any alcohol at the Bar Mitzvah, unless wine is allowed, but there will be plenty of fresh fruit juices and soft drinks available.
Once you have all of the food sorted, it’s time to start thinking about the decorations. Some people may not want decorations, or want just a few basic balloons, but for those pushing the boat out you could consider balloon bouquets, perhaps with the traditional Star of David on them. Place banners both inside and outside the party venue, shower the place with congratulatory confetti, use flowers as table centre pieces as well as candles (if the venue will allow them) but do remember to be careful. To really top it off, you could purchase some place cards so that everyone knows where to sit, fancy place card holders that the guests will love to take home as keepsakes, and also table favours, again keeping it in line with the theme.
For the actual entertainment, you could consider hiring a DJ for a disco and a dance, a magician, or even a balloon artist if you know there will be plenty of children to keep occupied. Any entertainment should be kept until after the meal and the cake ceremony. The cake will have 13 candles on, and any person who has played a significant part in the boy’s life is invited to light a candle- the parents light the final one. Once the party is over, don’t forget the gift bags (usually filled with a tee shirt and a hat with the boy’s name and the date of the Bar Mitzvah) as well as the cake and sweets!
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