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4 Subtle Ways to Modernize Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah Party
August 17th, 2022

4 Subtle Ways to Modernize Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah Party

A Bar or Bat Mitzvah photo album is like a time capsule, capturing the ideals and fashions of their times. When your teen looks back on their B Mitzvah photos in 10 years, they may cringe at their mouth full of braces or choice of dress, but with the tips below, their party will feel evergreen. For the family who wants to keep up with ever evolving trends without feeling too tied down to the fashions of the 2020s, here are four ways to incorporate modern trends into your B Mitzvah party in subtle, special ways.

  1.  Pantone Color of the Year

Every year, design brand Pantone releases their “Color of the Year”, a unique hue meant to capture the essence and feeling of the year. Even if the Color of the Year is not in your party’s palette, there are many ways to insert the color subtly throughout. Customized sneakers, nail polish, jewelry, uplighting, floral arrangements, and other design elements are the perfect way to conspicuously incorporate a color scheme and be a nod to the year your Mitzvah is taking place.

Check out our full list of incredible vendors who will help you plan the best day ever!

 

 

2. Eco-Friendly

 

Recent polls have shown that Gen Z is uniquely concerned about the environment and sustainability when compared to older generations. With the demand for action against climate change rising, there’s no sign that this trend is slowing down. As a result, many families are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint in party planning. Biodegradable dinnerware, hand-picked florals, and minimization of plastic waste are all great places to start when pursuing sustainability. 

 

3. Tik Tok booth

There’s no saying what the social media landscape will look like even five years from now, let alone decades in the future. However, just as Facebook was the quintessential platform of the 2010s, it’s clear that Tik Tok is earning itself that title for the 2020s. As a way to capture the unique essence of this time in the digital world, set up a Tik Tok booth at your B Mitzvah party!

Much like a traditional photo booth, a simple station with a tripod, iPhone, and backdrop is all you need to get going. Set up a Tik Tok page specifically for the big day that guests can share the video to. This is not only a fun and modern way to engage party guests, it can act as a video diary that will preserve the precious memories of the big day.

 

4. Minimalism

“Go big or go home” and “less is more” seem like opposing mindsets, but in the world of party planning, they can actually complement each other. In reviewing trends of 2022, it’s clear that minimalist maximalism (a few bold, simple, eye-catching elements) is going to be the predominant design choice in the next few years. Simple, chic, and bright is what designers are leaning into, and parties planned with that in mind will surely age like fine wine.

 

 

By Vered Ornstein

Seven Celebrities Celebrating Their Bar Mitzvahs
August 12th, 2022

Seven Celebrities Celebrating Their Bar Mitzvahs

By Vered Ornstein

Stars… they’re just like us!

Well, in some ways.

Most of us don’t see much in common between ourselves and celebrities, who stay in luxury hotels, wear designer clothes, and jetset around the world. But a surprising link between some of our favorite celebrities and ourselves holds us all together – Bar Mitzvahs.

From learning to read from the Torah, to throwing a lavish party, to those awkward teenage photos, Jewish celebrity Bar and Bat Mitzvahs remind us that the lifestyles of the rich and famous are not so far out of reach. Below are photos of seven superstars at their own coming-of-age ceremonies, and what they had to say about their big days.

 

  1. Drake

At thirteen years old, Toronto-native rapper Drake (born Aubrey Graham) celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, a modest and traditional event much like any other B Mitzvah party at the time. In a 2012 interview, Drake described himself as “a proud young Jewish boy”, claiming that at the time of his Bar Mitzvah, he vowed “that if I ever got rich, I’d throw myself a re-Bar Mitzvah.”

 

Well, get rich he did, and in keeping to his word, Drake thew himself a “re-Bar Mitzvah” in 2017 for his 31st birthday (31 being the inverse of 13, the traditional Bar Mitzvah age).

The star studded-event featured A-list guests, lots of partying, and even a bit of Torah reading. 

 

2. Tiffany Haddish

The funny and talented comedian Tiffany Haddish didn’t discover her Jewish heritage until her late 20s when she reconnected with her estranged father, an Ethiopian Jew. From there, she went on to study Hebrew and Jewish law, finally consummating her religious identity in 2019 with a Bat Mitzvah celebration on her 40th birthday. 

On the same day as her big celebration, Haddish released her comedy special Black Mitzvah which delves into her identity and experience as a Black Jew.

 

3. Chelsea Handler

Comedian and author Chelsea Handler remembered her Bat Mitzvah back in 2014 with a throwback photo of her up at the Torah. The caption put any doubts about her religion to rest, saying “Don’t ever say I’m not a real Jew. My bat-mitzvah. Mazel.”

 

4. James Franco

In 2015, James Franco took his Mitzvah Project to a whole new level. Teaming up with fellow actor Seth Rogen, he threw a lavish Bar Mitzvah party to raise money for Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity which donates its proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Association. With performances and appearances by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Jeff Goldblum, Zac Efron, and many more, the nontraditional coming of age celebration raised more than 4 million dollars for Alzheimer’s research.

Here’s a bonus photo of Franco’s best bud Seth Rogen at his own Bar Mitzvah:

 

5. Nick Kroll

Funnyman Nick Kroll has documented the trials and tribulations of pubescence and growing up in his hit Netflix show Big Mouth. As promotion between the show’s 4th and 5th seasons, Kroll shared this precious picture from his Bar Mitzvah.

 

6. Diana Agron

The Glee star took a trip down memory lane in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, sharing an old snap of her Bat Mitzvah to Instagram.

 

7. Ben Platt

Broadway superstar Ben Platt, known for his roles in Dear Evan Hansen and the Pitch Perfect franchise, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Los Angeles back in 2008.

 

6 Tips to Keep Cool at a Summer Bar/Bat Mitzvah
August 4th, 2022

6 Tips to Keep Cool at a Summer Bar/Bat Mitzvah

By Vered Ornstein

There is so much attention to detail that must be spent when planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party. The venue, the food, the outfits, the entertainment; you’ve worked for months or even years to make sure everything is in place for your teen’s big day. One thing you can’t control is the weather. If your family has been assigned a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date in the summertime, you may be nervous about planning a party that doesn’t get bogged down by hot, sticky weather. If this sounds like you, don’t sweat it- here are six tips on how to keep spirits higher than the temperature at your summer B Mitzvah.

  1. Have a pool party

On some summer days, the only thing that feels like it can cut the heat is a nice dip in the pool or ocean. Hosting a pool party is always a popular idea, as splashing around with friends, catching a tan, and sipping ice-cold drinks by the water never gets old. Especially as it is becoming more common to host multiple, smaller parties as opposed to one big one, a pool party is a chance to kick back and relax with a more intimate group of family or friends. Look into indoor swimming venues such as the local JCC or YMCA to start planning the coolest party of the summer.

 

  1. Make a signature drink

A staple of many modern weddings and parties, a signature drink is a special and fun way to keep everyone hydrated and happy at your summer party. Whether it’s a frozen slushie, a virgin cocktail, or just something cool and simple, signature drinks are refreshing and rejuvenating as you party the day away.

 

  1. Rent an ice cream truck

Who doesn’t love a big scoop of ice cream or a popsicle as the sun beats down on a hot day? You can set up an ice cream bar right inside of your party venue for customizable treat as the party rages on, or take it a step further and rent an ice crem truck to serve guests as they leave the party. Whichever you choose, your guests will always remember how sweet it was to be treated at the end of the night.

 

  1. Personalized fans

Personalized party favors come in seemingly endless options, from clothing, to backpacks, to jewelry, and countless other unique offerings. A paper or foldable fan with your party’s branding on it is the perfect way to keep people cool while sticking to your desired theme and aesthetic, whether at your party or at your Bar/Bat Mitzvah service. This is an especially good idea if you’re planning on hosting an outdoor event and you want to be certain that everyone stays comfortable while sitting or playing in the sunshine.

 

  1. Opt for a nighttime party

As fun as daytime events can be, the safest bet to make sure it’s not too hot at your upcoming summertime B Mitzvah is to host events in the nighttime. Around midsummer, this means a party would start sometime after 9 p.m., which may be too late for many people’s preferences. In this case, try incorporating the sunset into the night’s events and start the festivities around then. Even if you don’t wait for nightfall, waiting until the afternoon or evening will ensure the temperatures are more manageable and comfortable than if they were in the middle of the day.

 

  1. Ice sculpture

If you really want to wow your guests with a showstopping centerpiece to light up your party venue, invest in an ice sculpture to show off your party’s branding while keeping things literally chill. Though it may not work to cool down people’s drinks, it’s sure to make your party the hottest event of the hot season.

Owen’s Epic Event
July 21st, 2022

Owen’s Epic Event

By Vered Ornstein

The Larchmont Temple social hall is just what you’d expect from a synagogue social hall- white walls, large windows, tiled dance floors. A simple, basic backdrop that only someone with a keen eye for design and creativity could transform into something magnificent. That’s where The Event of a Lifetime’s Melisa Imberman comes in.

 

For Owen’s sports-themed Bar Mitzvah in January, Melisa tackled the challenge of converting Larchmont Temple’s simple space into the sports arena party of Owen’s dreams. Soccer ball motifs were the main design elements, lining the table cloths and accenting the walls. A kids lounge, complete with air hockey, bumper pool, a photo booth, a customized dance floor, and more was rounded out by AstroTurf seating.

 

Moreover, Melisa was sure to create an adults-only space at the party, giving adults some respite from the dancing and games that the kids were loving. The adults lounge married Owen’s theme with tinges of elegance, with gorgeous glass and floral centerpieces and a cocktail hour aura elevating the party. Just as if they were sitting courtside at a professional soccer game, adults could attend the party in a stylish and tasteful way.

 

Just 48 hours before the original date of Owen’s Bar Mitzvah, a massive snowstorm hit the New York area, causing his family to postpone the event that they and Melisa had worked so hard to plan. Though everything was ready to go, nothing could be done to stop the brutal weather. Instead of giving up on the event they originally planned, Melisa and her team got straight to work planning a new event for Owen that would be just as special as the one they’d originally planned. Settling on a new date a few months later in March, Owen’s belated Bar Mitzvah party was the best event that a sports-loving kid could ever hope for! 

 

While Owen’s original January Bar Mitzvah was unfortunately snowed out, his March party more than made up for it. For Owen and his family, it really was the event of a lifetime.


Larchmont Temple was completely transformed, with customized soccer patterned motifs accenting the room.

The bar in the adult luncheon lounge was a hit- or rather, a kick!

Parents found respite in the luncheon lounge, a space that married elegance and sportiness all into one.

The luncheon lounge before and after being decorated.

 


A kids’ lounge with Astroturf furniture and stations for basketball hoops, bumper pool, tri hockey, a photo booth, and more kept Owen and his friends busy and entertained all afternoon.

White dance floor with custom soccer crest decal & logo pillows

Photobooth station with step and repeats!

The stadium-themed concession stand for snacks and drinks.

To keep warm watching autumn soccer games, guests took home cozy fleece blankets.

Owen’s party room at the Larchmont Temple, before and after The Event of a Lifetime worked their magic.

 

Photography by Alison Sheehy Photography.

Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah Gift Guide: Why 18 is the Magic Number
July 20th, 2022

Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah Gift Guide: Why 18 is the Magic Number

By Vered Ornstein

Eighteen- the Magic Number

As autumn approaches and a new school year is set to begin, bar mitzvah season is likewise gearing up once again. When invitations to every classmate, camp friend, and cousin’s Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah start flooding your mailbox, the idea of finding a unique, meaningful gift for every party you attend can feel overwhelming (and we all know teens can be hard to please, too). Luckily, Jewish tradition has a failsafe in place for all those challenged to give a gift that fits the tone of such a monumental occasion- the number 18.

 

Gematria

If you’re new to or unfamiliar with some Jewish traditions, you may be surprised to learn that 18 is a number that holds great significance. Though seemingly random upon first glance, a deeper look at the number’s makeup uncovers a powerful hidden meaning. Gematria is an ancient system of Hebrew numerology, meaning that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a numerical value. Through this system, the word chai (pronounced like hi, not like the tea), which means “life”, is made up of two letters whose values add up to- you guessed it, 18.

 

The Gift of Life

Since chai is such an important number in Jewish practice, it only makes sense that it’s become a popular jumping off point for things like wedding and Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts, especially monetary ones. When hosting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you can expect to receive checks or cash in multiples of 18 dollars, with $18, $36, and $180 being the most common ones. If you are invited to a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah party, it is customary to give a gift in this amount, because by giving chai, you are figuratively giving someone the gift of life.

 

Alternatives to Money

If you’re looking to go beyond cash or a check as a gift for a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah, here are some ways to still incorporate chai into your gifting.

 

  1. Donation

Instead of giving the Bar/Bat Mitzvah teen themself a multiple of $18, inquire about their interests, favorite charities, or any causes they’re supporting with a Mitzvah project. By donating to something important to the teen, you’re showing you support their passions!

 

  1. Chai Necklace

For those who wear jewelry, a necklace with the Hebrew word chai on it is a perfect way to give a gift that hearkens back to the idea of living a full and meaningful life. These necklaces can be easily found online in a variety of different shapes, colors, and layouts. For an added touch, get it engraved with the teen’s name or the date of their Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah.

An example of a chai necklace charm

 

  1. Multiples of 18

Multiples of 18 can apply to any gift, not just money. Giving one gift made up of 18 smaller gifts will incorporate the number without being too on-the-nose. Maybe this looks like 18 vintage baseball cards, or 18 prints from a beloved artist, or a gift bag with 18 singular items the teen may like.

 

  1. Get Creative

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts! If you have a knack for art and creativity, there are so many ways to incorporate chai and 18 into a handmade gift. A painting could feature the chai symbol or number 18. A piece of knitwear made with 18 different fabrics will subtly incorporate the number. A mixtape with 18 tracks is personal and meaningful. No matter where your creative talents lie, it is easy to include 18 in big and small ways!

 

2022 Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Party Trends
July 14th, 2022

2022 Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Party Trends

By Vered Ornstein

You’ve been to dozens of bar and bat mitzvah parties over the years, and you feel like you’ve seen it all. Or maybe the bar or bat mitzvah you’re planning is the first one you’ll ever attend. Regardless of your experience with bar and bat mitzvah parties, you’re a go-getting person who likes to have their finger on the pulse of what’s new in fashion and design.

Trends and fashions come and go faster than we can keep track of, and bar/bat mitzvah parties are hardly exempt from the rapidly changing world of design. Whether you’re a party planning newbie or a trend-setting expert, it can be hard to know exactly what’s at the forefront of the mitzvah marketplace. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top trending elements for 2022-3 parties and bar/bat mitzvahs to inspire and guide your next big event.

  1. COVID Will Have Lasting Impacts

Though restrictions and limitations on numbers of people put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to ease up, the last two years of social distancing will continue to impact the way we party for the next several years. While festivals, concerts, and more are back to being full capacity, many people have begun to prefer and default to sticking in smaller groups than in years past. As a result, smaller, more intimate bar and bat mitzvah parties have seen an uptick in popularity since 2020.

 

Keeping your guest list small not only protects people from illness, but it protects your bank account, too. Budget saved on food and party favors for hundreds can be reallocated into bigger, more intricate design elements or more unique venues. Outdoor events, especially during the spring and summer months, allow everyone to feel safe while also expanding your options for cool locations beyond what a typical banquet hall can provide.

Also a result of COVID restrictions, opting for multiple smaller parties over one big one is gaining popularity. Instead of mixing adults, kids, family, and friends into one huge party, try splitting your parties based on groups of people and activities. For example, setting up a small carnival outdoors for kids while the adults lounge inside ensures that both parents and teens have a good time. Or maybe your teen wants to have a dance party with their camp friends and a swimming party with their school friends. Planning several more lowkey party options keeps crowd sizes down and lets your teen’s big day stretch out even longer!

 

Lastly, incorporation of technology and hybrid events are more common than ever in a post-COVID world. Livestreaming your party allows guests unable to attend to feel like they’re there for your family’s special moment. Likewise, try incorporating guests who couldn’t make it into the party by including instructions to send in a video on your RSVPs. That way, a guest who cannot attend can record a short video wishing the bar/bat mitzvah teen well, which can be compiled and shown at the party. Because not even social distancing can put a damper on your day!

A zoom mitzvah set up

  1. Design is Maximalizing, Minimally

The days of soft, demure pastels and parties are things of the past. Coming into the 2020s, bright, bold colors and aesthetics are making their way back into the zeitgeist. But while harsh hues and showstopping elements are popular, they walk the line between simple and gaudy. Another result of the years spent in lockdown, paying to line every inch of your venue in streamers, signs, and décor is not a priority for many families and party planners. Instead, people are learning to make big statements with minimal elements. Color blocking the walls with bright, simple designs is standing out more than having intricate wall art. One big, impressive centerpiece (like a doughnut wall or balloon arch) draws more praise than multiple pieces that can get overwhelmed and overshadowed by one another. By saying more with less, you ensure that your event looks fun, classy, and well put-together.

A donut bar

Another downside of the over-the-top party elements of the past is the waste they produce. Now more than ever, people are thinking about how to incorporate eco-friendly design into their bar and bat mitzvah parties. Using recycled materials or DIYing décor and party favors, having biodegradable dishes and cutlery, and steering clear of excessive plastics are all things to consider when planning a bar/bat mitzvah party.

 

  1. Themes are for Fantasies

At its core, a bar or bat mitzvah party should reflect the interests and dreams of the teen who is being honored. Especially after two years being mostly confined to our homes, bar/bat mitzvah teens deserve a special day catered to them and their wistfulness. Therefore, party themes like travel, high fashion, and influencer culture are more popular than ever. By channeling their fantasies into a fantastical night or afternoon, your teen gets to live out their wildest dreams without ever leaving their hometown. Help them escape to the beaches of Hawaii, walk the red carpet at a movie premier, get lost in the rainforest, or whatever their wandering minds can think up!

Bat Mitzvah, Jersey girl theme, teen decor

A day at the beach…indoors

How to Plan the Best Bar/Bat Mitzvah, According to Teens
July 8th, 2022

How to Plan the Best Bar/Bat Mitzvah, According to Teens

By Vered Ornstein

This past week, I spent some time at Camp Ramah in New England, a Jewish sleepaway camp in Central Massachusetts. In between their daily electives, meeting new friends, and settling in for the summer, I was able to sit down with about thirty campers to discuss all things bar and bat mitzvah parties. Over the course of our time together, I uncovered some revealing trends, regrets, and likes and dislikes of teens who were either in the process of planning a party or had celebrated their b’nai mitzvah in recent years. Below are some bar and bat mitzvah party elements preferred by today’s teens, direct from the sources themselves!

Diversify Your Activities

Across the board, the teens that I spoke to agreed that having a variety of activities available at a party was essential to keeping guests happy and engaged. “A good b’nai mitzvah party needs dancing but also something to take a break with…You just need one stand out activity, like an arcade or table games,” one interviewee reported.  Ideas thrown out for alternative activities included classic party games (90% of campers interviewed said they felt playing Coke & Pepsi was a must!), a photo montage halfway through the night, or booking the party at a venue like a park or garden that has outdoor space to walk and lounge in.

One teen relayed that he incorporated his mitzvah project into his party by having dancing in one room and allowing guests to pack meal donations for his local food bank in the next room. This not only gave guests a chance to take a break from the loud music and dancing, but was also a fun and unifying way to do acts of charity and kindness. “That’s really what a bar mitzvah is all about,” he noted.

Teens had mixed opinions about the role of party DJs at their bar and bat mitzvahs. One remembered that her DJ’s team gave out raffle tickets to guests who participated in dancing and party games, which kept the dance floor active and exciting. On the other hand, there was a consensus among the teens that a bar mitzvah DJ should be fair when judging games, and they agreed that rigging games in the bar/bat mitzvah kid’s favor does not usually go over well with guests. These are small details that are important to keep in mind when hiring and communicating with your DJ.

Dos and Don’ts for Parents

While parents work tirelessly to plan and execute the perfect party for their teens, it’s important to remember that it’s the child’s big day, not the parents’. “I feel like some parents throw parties to impress their friends, not for the kid’s benefit,” said one teen. This sentiment seemed to resonate with other teens I interviewed, who shared their experiences in making their party feel like their own. One camper reported hosting two smaller parties rather than one large one, with one being geared towards kids and the other catering more to her parents and their friends. Some shared that they steered clear of dance or banquet hall parties, opting instead for parties that featured laser tag, paintball, or other such kid-centric activities.

Other party elements that parents often prefer were found to be unpopular among former bar and bat mitzvah kids. Many teens surveyed said they didn’t like the restrictive nature of assigned seating, and 100% of those surveyed said they found formal sit-down meals to be unnecessary. Finally, a handful of campers offered up that they felt the presence of alcohol or an open bar at their party was inappropriate or otherwise made them uncomfortable. 

While of course a bar or bat mitzvah is a day for parents to celebrate their child’s achievements and growth, it is important to always acknowledge the teen’s wishes and wants in the party planning process!

Tips for Other Teens

Finally, over the course of our time together, the campers dropped pieces of advice for any soon-to-be bar or bat mitzvah kids. A sentiment commonly shared was that it can often feel hard to have fun at one’s own party when there is pressure to ensure that all guests are having a good time. While it can feel overwhelming hosting a party and bringing together friends from different parts of life, teens told me that it was also the most fun and rewarding part of their party. “At your bar [or bat] mitzvah, don’t pick favorites,” one teen said. “Remember that it’s your party. Focus on yourself and on having fun.”

6 Tips for Writing Bar / Bat Mitzvah Thank You Notes
June 30th, 2022

6 Tips for Writing Bar / Bat Mitzvah Thank You Notes

6 Tips for Writing Bar / Bat Mitzvah Thank You Notes

By Vered Ornstein

So, you’ve finally made it to the end of your teen’s bar or bat mitzvah weekend. After months, if not years, of planning and executing every exact detail, the whirlwind of a weekend passes by in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, after tireless hours of preparation, you have a moment of calm for the first time in a long time. What do you do now? 

Though often seen as a tedious task, the execution of thank you notes at the end of a mitzvah weekend is an important step in making your guests feel appreciated and valued. Traditionally, thank you notes are handwritten and mailed to each person who sent a gift, but electronic thank you notes are gaining popularity as a quicker and more accessible way to show gratitude.

Below are some tips and tricks to make your thank you note writing experience easier and more seamless.

  • Address it properly. If the gift was sent from someone the teen does not have a strong relationship with, they can write “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms.”. If the gift was from a close friend or family member, they can refer to them by their first name.
  • Be specific. For specific gifts, refer to the object descriptively. For example, “Thank you so much for the beautiful Star of David necklace”. For monetary gifts, such as cash, a check, or a donation in one’s name, it is appropriate to write “Thank you for your generous gift/donation”.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Thank you notes do not need to be more than a few sentences long. By sticking to a formula and keeping things brief, your teen will get the message across without exhausting themselves!
  • Stamp your signature. A good pre-mitzvah purchase might be a stamp with your teen’s signature that can be used at the end of the thank you note. Though it may seem like a small part of the note-writing process, being able to quickly place a signature will add up over time across dozens, if not hundreds of notes.
  • Take breaks. Though it can be tempting to get all of the thank you notes done as quickly as possible, it’s important that your teen gives themselves breaks throughout the process. Breaking it up over the course of a few days or weeks will ensure that their language stays fresh and their handwriting clean.
  • Make it fun. Writing piles of thank you notes is no easy task, and your teen deserves to be rewarded. Keep their favorite TV show or music playing in the background to keep them motivated. Prepare their favorite snack or take them to a nice dinner once they’ve completed their notes to show them that their hard work pays off!
  • Go with the flow. If you or your teen is having a hard time knowing what to say in their thank you notes, follow the flow chart that we at Mitzvah Market have put together! By sticking to this formula, your teen is sure to get the perfect chart every single time.