The Glaser family celebrated daughter Leah’s Bat Mitzvah on October 18, 2014, in Tokyo, Japan, where the family was living at the time as expatriates due to Dad Jonathan’s job. The family is now back in Connecticut.
More than 30 family members and friends made the trip from the United States to celebrate with them. The Havdalah service was at the Jewish Community of Japan followed by dinner and dancing at the Tokyo American Club. The family threw a beautiful religious celebration and integrated many touches from their newly adopted home.
Pictured L-R: Mom Alisha, Sister Sophie, Bat Mitzvah girl Leah and Dad Jonathan.
The photographer was Tracey Taylor and Dee Green of 37 Frames and the rest of the vendor information is listed below.
Mitzvah Invitation & Service
The family worked with Just Invite Me on the elegant invitations. For their out-of-town guests, Mom Alisha created a website to help with things to do and see while in Tokyo. The Havdalah service was at the Jewish Community of Japan, a synagogue of approximately 100 families, where the Glaser girls attended religious school while in Tokyo.
Each table setting was slightly different with a cohesive peacock-themed color scheme. One of the many challenges of an event in Tokyo is there are no linen or table number rentals, so they ordered linens back in the States over the summer and carried them in their suitcases! Mom Alisha made the table numbers, place cards and all signage.
There was a photo booth for extra fun.
Leah is a stroke survivor and wears an assistive device on her right leg which was blinged out to match her dress for the weekend!
Mitzvah Cake & Favor
Leah’s Bat Mitzvah was on her actual 13th birthday!
Travel is a huge part of the family’s life living overseas, as it is for many expats and Leah decided to incorporate this into her Mitzvah Project. She volunteered with her school making onigiri (Japanese rice and seaweed sandwiches) for homeless men and noticed how much pride they took in their personal appearance. She wrote letters to all her friends and family asking them to collect travel-sized toiletries. She collected them while back in the United States the summer before her Bat Mitzvah and also rode her bicycle around Tokyo collecting items from her friends months before. She collected over 2000 individual items, and was able to make up personal hygiene kits that the family distributed to homeless men.
Mom to Mom
Some advice from Mom Alisha:
“The biggest challenge for me was planning an event in a country where no one knew what a Bat Mitzvah was! However, this was actually quite liberating on some level – Leah and I were free to plan exactly the event we wanted to without competing for vendors, worrying if anyone else would do the same things, or that it had all been “seen before.” As a Mom, I found the best mindset was to do the special touches we wanted, and anything that couldn’t be done, I’d remind myself that no one but our little family even knew they’d been a possibility and wouldn’t be missed. Leah and I are both crafty and love to plan, so we did a lot of extra touches ourselves, which was both fun and special. As a Mom, I loved having her involved in as much as possible.”
The following vendors helped to make Leah’s celebration extremely special. If you give any of them a call, please let them know you read about their services on MitzvahMarket.com.
Service: Jewish Community of Japan, 81-03-3400-2559
Venue: Tokyo American Club, 81-03-4588-0381
Party Planner: Mom Alisha Glaser
Music Entertainment: DJ: Duane Wachna/MC: Guy Totaro
Photographer/Videographer: Tracey Taylor and Dee Green 37 FRAMES, 81-80-3271-9071
Invitation: Just Invite Me, 847-285-3495
Décor/florist: Bloom and Stripe, 81-3-6421-1187
Place cards, signage, pillows: Mom Alisha
Favor bags: L.L. Bean
Cloth napkins: efavormart.com
Personalized paper cocktail napkins:ForYourParty.com
Sign-In Chair: Mom Alisha
Talit clips: Lynn Cooper, Kanoa Pure Silver, Etsy.com
Custom labels for welcome bags Evermine, 1-855-383-7646
Dresses for Mom: Theia, Neiman Marcus
Bat Mitzvah girl Leah: Stella M’Lia dress from The Ragamuffin Shop & Radical Rags, 843-884-4814
Sister Sophie’s dress: Sweet Kids
Suits for Dad: Teijin Men’s Shop of Ginza
Hair/makeup: Roberto Perozzi