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What Not to Do When You’re Throwing a Bar Mitzvah Party


No one knows exactly when the first bat mitzvah was celebrated in America. We do know that the first bat mitzvah took place in New York City in 1922 when Judith Kaplan stood up in the synagogue and read the Torah and gave a blessing.


Since then, bar and bat mitzvah celebrations continue to be an important part of New York’s Jewish life. On this, one of the most important days of your son or daughter’s life, you want everything to be perfect. With that in mind, here are some things it’s important not to do:


Leave the dress code ambiguous


Few things make people more nervous about a party than not knowing how they’re supposed to dress. These days, a Queens bat or bar mitzvah could be nearly anything, so your guests will appreciate some guidance in this area.


Forget to arrange video


This one is easy to forget these days. In the era of the smartphone, everyone has a camera with them all the time. But no one (hopefully) will be whipping out their camera in the middle of synagogue. Make sure you’re prepared to record the proceedings.


Fail to plan entertainment


Your son or daughter may be devastated if everyone gets bored at the party and leaves early. You can help to keep the party going with bat or bar mitzvah party entertainment Queens, NY. People will be anxious to let loose after the synagogue service, so take that into consideration.


Ignore outsiders


If you’re like most families, you have some non-Jewish friends you’ll want to invite to the event. Take some time to consider what they might find odd or confusing and do what you can to make things clear and easy for them. As an example, many may not realize (unless you tell them) that it is inappropriate to bring their gift to the synagogue instead of the reception or party.


Have no theme


These days, every party needs a theme. The reception or after party are all about your child: what does he or she love? Get creative, think about your child’s personality, and don’t be afraid to incorporate contemporary themes. Becoming bar or bat mitzvah is for every Jewish person, regardless of what culture you grew up in or what time period you live.


Get sloppy with the food


If you really want to do it up right, plan on a cocktail party before you serve the meal. For cocktails you can serve a cold fish budget, child-friendly hors d’oeuvres, or fruit and cheese boards. Be sure to plan one or two options for kids at the main meal. Not only will it make them happy, but it will also save you money.


Skimp on drinks


You have to decide whether to offer a full open bar, where you pay for all the drinks, or a partial open bar. With a partial, you offer wine and beer but ask guests to pay for anything harder. Some people offer an open bar for the cocktail party and a partial bar at the meal. Just remember to offer something fun for the kids.


Leave invitations until the last minute


The invitations aren’t an afterthought — they set the tone for the whole event. If your invitation are informal, people will assume the party is, too. If they are formal, that communicates something about what you want. The latest trends in invitations include ordering personalized stamps and even sending video invitations.


Underestimate your speech


The speech the parents give is one of the most important parts of the ceremony. Think about this carefully and about how it will impact your child: not you and your reputation. Traditionally, there will be a pre-party speech and a blessing for the wine and challah as well. You will make a great impression if you ask a special guest, such as a grandparent, to do the honors for some of these blessings or speeches.

Lyle V. Hensley

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