Derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew for “son of the commandment,” the term “Bar Mitzvah” evokes images of a Jewish boy on the threshold of manhood reciting lines from the Torah.
Most Jewish boys, at the age of 13, become a Bar Mitzvah. This indicates that he is now a young man responsible for his actions. Bar Mitzvah is also used to indicate the religious ceremony that marks the occasion and the party that follows it. Though the Bar Mitzvah ceremony itself is not mandatory, over the past few centuries, it has become a rite of passage for most Jewish boys who turn 13. Today, the Bar Mitzvah celebration is a joyous and memorable occasion for family and friends.
To hold a meaningful Bar Mitzvah for your son, here is what you should do:
Planning a Bar Mitzvah requires you to consider several factors. You will need to plan and make all arrangements beforehand. First, you will have to send your son to a Rabbi for months to study for the event. He will need to learn to lead prayers for religious service, read the Torah, and undertake a project to generate funds for a charity supported by the synagogue.
To plan the bar mitzvah party, zero in on the date of the ceremony. Once you decide on the date, schedule the time and the venue. The place of the mitzvah celebrations could be your local Jewish community hall or a favored synagogue in the neighborhood. Alternatively, you can hold the mitzvah party at a banquet room in a hotel. Talk to your Rabbi about the proceedings of the ceremony and make sure he will be present for the Bar Mitzvah.
Next, draw up a list of guests and determine the kind of celebration you want to have. Work within your budget. Decide on if you should send Bar Mitzvah invitations to only family members and the congregation or if you want to invite your son’s friends and other relatives as well.
Tell the caterer what kind of Bar Mitzvah menu you are considering. Usually, traditional Jewish food and beverages rank high on the food list, but you could always include contemporary dishes on the mitzvah menu. Decide whether you would like to host a buffet or a sit-down meal.
It would be nice to decorate the venue for the mitzvah with blossoms, colored paper, or even birds. You can hire a professional decorator or decorate the venue yourself. Music makes the celebration lively. You could either play Jewish CDs on tape or hire a live band.
Choose an appropriate Bar Mitzvah present for your son to be given to him after the ceremony. Cash and contributions to his college fund is a common gift. Give him the latest gadget or a few books written by his favorite author.
Because the Bar Mitzvah is symbolic of the passing of the religious duties, it is customary to pass the Torah from the grandfather to the father and then to the Bar Mitzvah. Bear in mind the order of the ceremonies when planning the party. Stick to the schedule to avoid mistakes.
To make the celebration special, involve your son while planning the Bar Mitzvah party.
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