NO GUILT: HAVE THE SIZE CELEBRATION YOU WANT TO HAVE!
By Dr. and Mrs. Mitzvah (aka David and Danielle Ockman, “Favor It Things“)
South Florida Bar and Bat Mitzvah Planning Group members on Facebook run the gamut from planning a family dinner celebration at home, to an over-the-top weekend long star studded extravaganza B’Mitzvah celebration.
These clinicians, your Dr. and Mrs. Mitzvah, see the internal struggle manifest itself in arguments and conflict within families and between friends.
Some claim that “spirituality and meaning” can somehow be erased by a large celebration. Chabad.org posted, “As for the cause of the celebration, this is the day when a Jewish person is given the obligation and resulting privilege of observing God’s commandments. One would be hard pressed to think of a more joyous occasion to celebrate together with friends and family.” According to some sources, the first documented Bar Mitzvah is referred to in the Torah: “And the child (Isaac) grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a GREAT feast on the day Isaac was weaned.” (Genesis 21:8) Some believe this was the day Isaac turned 13 and was “weaned” from childhood into adulthood and received the responsibilities of a Jewish adult. If we are all being honest and real, a low key affair does not ensure spiritual meaning any more than an over-the-top one, negates it.
As we discussed in our last blog, “meaning” comes from values, examples and experience. It begins with each of us, as parents, modelling EVERY DAY, what is meaningful and important. It begins with “walking the walk and talking the talk.” Every detail about the B’Mitzvah service is about meaning, tradition, ritual and prayer. Every detail about the celebration takes all of these things and acknowledges the achievement of your child, recognizes the incredible importance of becoming a Jewish adult, and most importantly in your own personal way and style, shares this unbelievable milestone with all of the important people in your life.
We each had many milestones, celebrations and stepping stones. If you as a parent, had your own B’Mitzvah, do you remember how you felt that day on the bimah? We do…it was like being on top of the world. How many other days in our Jewish lives focus solely on our growth, achievements and the obligations, expectations and hopes that God and our families have for us? There are so few times that we get to celebrate pure, unadulterated moments of joy in life, so make the most of it and do not allow anyone to make you feel shame or guilt over the way you choose to celebrate with family, the love, change and spiritual growth of your special child.
SO, we began to build on the vision we had for the day when our son, Blake becomes a Bar Mitzvah. Remember, one of us would like to write a “tell all” here while the other is more tight lipped, so we compromised by telling you about visions in a more generic way. (Insert eye roll here!)
We know we want BIG décor with a combination of flowers and theme and we want our guests to have an “wow!” moment from the moment they arrive and with each step forward up to the moment they get into their car. We will include activities for both adults and younger guests at the entrance to start our party with a BANG not a lull. A first impression is a lasting one. Consider your party to be a space shuttle launch and build the excitement and then keep them soaring throughout.
We acknowledge we are incorporating some of the well…in our opinion less exciting components like a candle lighting ceremony, but we feel this is necessary, as we feel that the day is not complete without honoring the “village” who are helping us create this young man we celebrate on this day. It also creates a magical moment with loved ones that incorporates “light” a tradition innate to Jewish Culture. With each honor we bring more light, symbolic of the path and future that lies ahead- never forgetting who helped you get there.
There are many places you can save money, DO NOT choose any vendor based solely on price. Meet with vendors, tell them what you want and what you can spend and allow them to tell you what they can do to help. Always see their work in some way, attend expos, see videos and get referrals from real people.
Of course “Favor It Things” is our chocolate and sweet treats headquarters, so you can imagine that we are busy creating little sweet surprises from the moment they enter the room until they load into their minivans.
As the Dean of a school and a Psychologist, we will tell you, Fail to Plan, Plan to fail, young kids and teens will find a way to entertain themselves if you don’t entertain them. The right DJ company and vendors will make sure to keep them engaged.
Next time, we will talk about how we are personalizing our event.
ABOUT DAVID AND DANIELLE OCKMAN
David and Danielle Ockman love South Florida and reside in Deerfield Beach with their 12 year old son Blake, and 7 year old daughter, Skylar. Blake’s B’mitzvah is scheduled for October, 2014.
David is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in the field of addictions for over 20 years and Danielle is a Social Worker and the Dean of Students at a private Jewish Day School. Danielle’s passion for making people treats lead her to preparing “specialty and custom” chocolate and edible B’mitzvah favors for “Favor It Things.” David and Danielle have become known in the B’mitzvah community of South Florida, as they host the Facebook group, “South Florida Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Planning Group.” Some consider this group to be the B’mitzvah hub, bringing parents and vendors together for a “virtual B’mitzvah showcase” everyday. Since starting the FB page, David has been called “Dr. Mitzvah” and the couple continue to talk many B’mitzah parents down off the ledge!
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