So you have been invited to a mat mitzvah, now what? First things first, congratulations! If you are attending your first-ever Bar Mitzvah, you will be pleasantly surprised by how intimate and momentous the event is. A Bar Mitzvah is a critical Jewish rite of passage; there aren’t many days in a Jewish boy or girl’s life that are significant as a Bar Mitzvah.
After all, you only become an adult once so the day should be commemorated with the gravitas it deserves. Getting invited to a Bar Mitzvah is exciting, but if you have never been to one, it could leave you with some vital questions: Do you need to bring anything? If yes, what sort of gifts is doled out at such a shindig? Is there a registry?
While gracious parents and guardians of the Bar Mitzvah might say that you don’t need to bring anything, the truth is that you really do. If you show up with nothing, there is a pretty good chance that you might be the only one to show up without a gift for the birthday boy or girl.
When shopping for a gift for such an occasion, you must keep in mind that a Bar Mitzvah is more than just your ordinary birthday party. Rather, it is a special day designed to commemorate the transition of a 13-year-old boy or girl into adulthood. As such, you do not want to show up with just any old gift.
Bar Mitzvahs are a little more formal than a regular party and there is typically a religious ceremony before the main event. Therefore, you want to bear in mind the purpose of the event when selecting which gifts to buy. Needless to say, this is not an occasion that calls for gag gifts. So what do you take to a Bar Mitzvah? Here are some thoughtful gift ideas:
A personalized custom star map
What better reminder is there of the day one became an adult than something equally as unique and magnificent as a personalized custom star map? A custom star map from a company such as the Twinkle in Time is beautifully designed to show the unique alignment of the stars on the day that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah became an adult.
You can pick any design that you want to go with and better still, you can make it completely personal by adding a title and footnote. With such a bespoke gift, yours will be the best gift given, hands down.
A ping pong table
If you are buying a gift for someone sporty, why not give them something that will keep them occupied like a ping pong table? A go-to present that will not disappoint, a ping pong table will be much appreciated.
For someone that is just starting, an entry-level table for home use is an inexpensive option. But if money is no object, then you could go crazy and spring for a tournament quality table; just make sure that you get approval from the parents first.
If that seems like too much, you can alternatively buy a smaller ping-pong related present. Anything from custom made towels to plastic ping pong balls will do.
Give a gift that keeps on giving
Charity is a critical aspect of any faith but it is especially upheld and encouraged in the Jewish faith. Try and find out what your Bar/ Bat Mitzvah boy or girl cares about and what issues are important to them. In return, find an appropriate charity and donate in their name.
Doing so will help the young boy and girl to continue with the practice of tzedakah, which is the practice of giving to bring about social change. If giving to charity is not an option, you could also give a tzedakah (charity) box, which the recipient can use every week before the Shabbat candles are lit.
Give the gift of a subscription
These days, there is a subscription to just about anything and everything under the sun. Whether your recipient is into fitness, video games, sports, beauty or food, gifting a month’s or two or twelve of a subscription box is one gift that will never be turned down.
Try and think of something that the recipient enjoys and include a heartfelt card explaining why you thought the subscription would be great for them. They will truly appreciate the thoughtfulness and think of you every time they use the subscription to excel at their preferred hobby or talent.
Judaica like a yad or Shabbat candlesticks is always welcome for a Bar Mitzvah. For a recipient that you are super close to, you could give a yad a few weeks before the Bar Mitzvah service so that they can use it to practice before the big day. Shabbat candlesticks are also ideal because they will always come in handy during Shabbat.
The great thing about giving Judaica pieces is that they can be kept for years to come even being passed down from one family member to the next. If you do opt to go the Judaica route, a great place to start looking for possible gifts is at the synagogue. Most synagogues already have gift shops and the profits mostly go back to the congregation, which is something positive that you can be proud of.
While gifts at Bar Mitzvahs are not a rule that is set in stone, you do not want to be the only one that shows up without one. But not to worry; Bar Mitzvah gifts do not need to be ornate or expensive unless you are directly related to the giftee, that is. Bar Mitzvahs are all about honoring the young teens transitioning into adulthood.
Pick a gift that celebrates that fact and preferably one that will allow the birthday boy or girl to remember their special day. Put some thought into the occasion and give a gift from the heart; anything that is thoughtful and personal is bound to leave an impact for years to come.