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I Need A Chanukah Bat Mitzvah Dress Miracle
November 29th, 2022

I Need A Chanukah Bat Mitzvah Dress Miracle

As the mother of the Bat Mitzvah girl, my dress is both important, not important, and complex. I did not want to start shopping for my dress until my daughter decided on her dress. This is for many reasons – color theme, level of fanciness, and of course, to not overshadow her on her special day.

This is the first time I have been the “mother of” and it has been a weird identity to embody. I did not want a dress that is sexy. Neither did I want a dress too plain. Furthermore, I did not want to look matronly, because at 44 I still have some parts not completely given in to gravity.

So, my search began as my daughter honed in on her choice. Her theme is space, and the dress we found for her miraculously embodies the night sky in a garment.

Now it was my turn. Game on.

Navy. Got it.

I’m short, so a gown is a bit of a challenge. But I am the “mother of”, so I am supposed to be in a gown for our Saturday night “cocktail attire” affair, right? Um… I don’t know. It seems like that’s correct.

Wait – I have only shopped online for the last two years. How do I buy myself a gown? Or a regular dress? Or leave my house and go to one of those places I remember where you give money and walk out with an item RIGHT THERE?

I can do this. I used to love to shop. Especially for pretty things that made me feel nice. But also wait… do dresses make me feel nice or like my body is grossly out of proportion with my R-rated top and size 4T hips, all atop my statuesque 5’2” frame.

I forgot how challenging dress shopping was for me. I’ve come to peace with the fact that even the suggestion of a strapless bra makes me weep. I know at this point – after a prom dress, wedding dress, and multiple bridesmaid dresses, what works and doesn’t for my body. Once more I will say NO I cannot wear a strapless bra. Just believe me. Please.

Thus, I began searching for the perfect dressy enough, age-appropriate, petite navy dress that will hide bra straps and not make me look like a troll. Because let’s remember: this is the dress I will stand in and smile with pride as my progeny becomes a woman. No one is looking at me. Or they are… you know, to judge my dress. No stress there at all.

So, where did I begin? I asked my friends where to go and they suggested starting at the “outlet” version of a finer department store. YES! I remember loving this store and doing so well many years before for my 40th birthday dress. Yes, yes yes. I just know my perfect dress is there.

After hours and hours of trying on quite possibly every dress in the posh East Egg zip code, I looked on the website to see the expanded choices. I found my favorite in-store choice – which fit perfectly but was too simple as a hostess dress – in an all-sequin version.

Oh my gosh.

THIS WAS THE DRESS.

I already knew it fit, I already loved it, I just needed a little extra oomph. There it was – staring me right in the face, and at the unbelievable price of $59.97. I ordered it (in two sizes, just to be safe) faster than I could say “bargain”. Not to mention it was midi size, so my petit frame required no alteration. It lifted where it needed to, draped in the right places, and just made me look – perfect.

I did it! I bought the dress, the PERFECT dress, plus I could return it if needed. This was a big deal for this sartorial indecisive woman in a land where most “mother of” dresses were final sale.

I left with a spring in my step and happily packed for my business conference. A week later I returned to find the delivery bag on my floor holding the answer to my dress prayers. But I didn’t have a chance to open it yet since I was getting ready for unexpected sinus surgery.

In a fog for the next week, I kept looking forward to opening the bag, seeing this amazing dress, and finalizing the fifth outfit for our big Bat Mitzvah event.

Finally, I felt well enough to get out of bed. I ran right to the bag, yanked open the top, and staring back at me was…. A black cardigan.

Wait what? Where’s my dress? WHERE’S MY DRESS!!!?

NOOOOO!

I head right to the website to re-order it. But of course, staring back at me – SOLD OUT.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

WHERE’S MY DRESS? The answer? Only g-d knows. After an hour on the phone with said “finer” department store’s customer service manager the whereabouts of my dress – now OF COURSE completely sold out – was nowhere to be found.

He offered an apology and a 10% discount on another dress but that did not help. Nothing existed like this unicorn. Not even close. The next option – barely even close to the look I wanted, was several hundred dollars. Not helpful. Not ok. You messed up, just send me that dress. I’ll make it work. Nope. No dice. Sorry lady. Tough luck.

I said there must be ONE dress. SOMEWHERE! Find IT! I’ll hold. I’ll hold until you find it. Just go.

After 25 minutes, he advised that they possibly have one… in a store… somewhere in the country. He sent out a dress APB to this manager and assured me we would hear back within the day and email me.

Naturally, that didn’t happen. I have not heard back. I have no information and no perfect dress.

So, I need a Chanukah miracle. I need to see that email and a tracking number and know my perfect, beautiful, navy sequin dress has been located and will be at my door to shine in February.

But I don’t expect this will actually happen, so what do I do? I order every single navy dress for sale in a store at this very moment. I spend thousands and thousands of dollars having gowns, midi dresses, and cocktail dresses from all parts of the country sent to my door. But none are my dress. None are that dress. Even worse – none are $59.97.

I am so sad.

I am so frustrated.

I am so angry that this store known for their exemplary customer service didn’t and couldn’t do any better.

Yes, I understand in the scheme of things this should be my biggest problem. I am thankful that I even get to have this problem, but I need a Chanukah miracle. I need that dress. Clap with me. Make the dream come true. Help me believe.

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at themintchipmama.com and find her across all socials at @themintchipmama

8 Non-Traditional Bar Mitzvah Gifts
November 29th, 2022

8 Non-Traditional Bar Mitzvah Gifts

With winter approaching fast, we’re gearing up to hunker down- and thousands of B Mitzvah kids across the country are getting ready for the day of their lives. While a traditional Bar or Bat Mitzvah gift is usually a piece of jewelry or Judaica, some tweens desire something a little out of the box.  A little cold weather won’t freeze out the celebration, so we’ve made a list of the hottest gifts for teens this season that will make them feel warm and fuzzy, both inside and out.

P.S: Check out our guide explaining why 18 is the magic number for B Mitzvah gifts.

1. Ugg Slippers

The classic Australian boot company has been a winter staple for decades, and their slippers have recently come back into style. Pick from an array of styles and colors, like the Coquette style that’s popular with celebrities. 

Original photo from Ugg.com

2. Instant film camera

In an age of smartphones and instant gratification, most teens have never known the experience of using a film camera. Give them the best of both worlds with a classic instant film camera, such as this one from Instax that prints film pictures on the spot. Perfect for a teen with an artistic spirit, plus it comes in tons of sizes and colors. 

Original photo from Instax

 

3. TikTok cookbook 

TikTok is a favorite pastime of many teens, and viral recipes have gained huge traction since the app became popular. Give the gift of creativity and inspiration to the budding baker or chef having a B Mitzvah so they can make cozy recipes to keep them warm all winter long. The Unofficial TikTok Cookbook can be found on Amazon. 

Original photo from Amazon

 

4. Projector Set

Who doesn’t love to cuddle up in front of the TV on a cold winter day? Your B Mitzvah teen can have their own screen set up wherever they choose to lounge! The TMY Projector Set comes with a screen and WIFI enabled projector that can be moved around from room to room, making everywhere and anywhere a personal movie theater.

Original photo from Amazon

5. Sunset Lamp

Though daylight is shorter this time of year, you can make it feel like the sun is shining right in your own home. A B Mitzvah teen will love this sunset lamp that brings a warm and glowing ambience to the cold and dark winter days. Turn their bedroom into a tropical escape, even on the coldest days.

Original photo from Rose Lives Loves

 

6. Raspberry Pi

Got a tech lover who’s looking to pass the time this winter? Get them a Raspberry Pi, a small personal computer that users can program to do a variety of things. The small yet mighty device is perfect for a teen looking to try their hand at programming and will spark inspiration in any budding engineer.

Original photo from Raspberry Pi

7. Yogibo 

Lounge around in style with the popular and incredibly comfortable Yogibo beanbags. From supportive pillows, to cozy blankets, to huge beanbag chairs, there’s something for everyone. Movie night just got a lot more comfortable!

Original photo from Yogibo

8. Comfy 

First came the Snuggie, and now the Comfy has taken over. The wearable blanket comes in a variety of colors and styles, meaning there’s a perfect poncho for even the pickiest teens. Your B Mitzvah teen will love cozying up in their Comfy on a snow day or even at their friends’ outdoor sports games. 

Original photo from Yogibo

I Am Thankful for You- Gratitude & Bat Mitzvah Planning
November 21st, 2022

I Am Thankful for You- Gratitude & Bat Mitzvah Planning

 

‘Tis the season to be stressed. ‘Tis the season to be overwhelmed. But I am trying to focus on the positives. I am trying to be thankful and grateful for what is in front of me instead of being worried I am dropping a ball somewhere.

 

We have three months left until my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I think I am doing well with the planning, but I keep thinking I’m forgetting something. My brain yearns for a list with items I can check off to appease my nerves.

 

Do I have a hoodie vendor lined up? Yes.

 

Décor? Check – or at least somewhat check.

 

Music – sign, sealed, and delivered.

 

Pictures and video? Please, booked for months.

 

The dress for the girl of honor? Yep – all set.

 

So why am I so stressed?

 

Because it is the holiday season. It is the season to scroll Amazon on Black Friday trying to figure out what deals I cannot miss. I don’t need or want anything… but I feel like I am missing out on buying everything.

 

I am trying to keep us focused on the party so we don’t spin out of control. I am also trying to say no to so many “add-on” things that come up as I’m trying to keep this “kids” party relatively low-key. As I keep saying, I’m not trying to keep up with “The Joneses”. The Joneses aren’t invited.

 

So where does that leave me as I sit here in mid-November? My mind starts to wonder what will actually make the party a success (besides amazing tacos and non-stop dancing?).

 

The answer is family.

 

As we approach Thanksgiving I am thankful for so many things. Thankful that we have a roof over our heads and the means to put food on our table. Food not only three times a day for our family of five but a big feast for our whole family on Thursday (when I am thankful my husband likes to cook!).

 

I am thankful that we have children and that one is approaching the age of a Bat Mitzvah.

 

I am thankful that she takes her Haftorah portion as seriously as she takes the party.

 

I am thankful that our parents can dance the hora with our daughter at her Bat Mitzvah and help lift her up in a chair.

 

I am thankful for my husband who nods with glossed-over eyes when asked for another opinion about the party (before I, let’s be honest, pick what I want anyway).

 

I am thankful for the amazing vendors I’ve found that promise to make our party smooth sailing.

 

I am thankful that my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah will be on the same Bimah where I had mine and my mother had hers – in front of the same ark – at the synagogue my grandparents started in 1953. This is a tremendous gift that I do not take for granted. Nor do I take for granted that our synagogue is still filled with many of the same faces who were at my Bat Mitzvah as well.

 

I am thankful that my husband and I, both entrepreneurs, can throw my daughter’s dream party for her at a gorgeous venue.

 

I am thankful she has thrived at sleepaway camp and has kids coming from all over to attend her party.

 

I am thankful she has so many friends that we have to order tons of favors.

 

I am thankful we have friends from all parts of our lives who we want to dance with at our party and whose parties we want to dance at, too.

 

I am thankful we have known many of these children since birth and remember them singing in nursery school.

 

But mostly, I am thankful that I am here and we are all healthy and we can celebrate together. When you think of all the different situations in which Bar and Bat Mitzvahs have occurred in history, we are very lucky to be living in America in 2022. We are lucky to have the freedom to celebrate and the means to do it how we want.

 

It is so important to stop and be thankful. It is easy to spin out of control and hard to stop and say thank you.

 

Gratitude puts things into perspective.

 

So as you also stress about all the tiny details gnawing at you before your beautiful event date comes and goes, stop and think about how thankful you are for just a moment.

 

Thursday is a great time for this. But so are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

Just stop and be thankful.

 

Plus, it’s easy to rhyme it with something for a candle. Here is my gift to you: Grandma we are so thankful for you, please come up and light candle number two.

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at themintchipmama.com and find her across all socials at: @themintchipmama

Self-Care Tips for the Mitzvah Parent
November 15th, 2022

Self-Care Tips for the Mitzvah Parent

Jewish parents look forward to their child’s B Mitzvah from the day they bring the baby home from the hospital. An ancient tradition, B Mitzvahs come with lots of anticipation, planning, and in turn, stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the planning process, consider these self-care tips that will help you manage your stress and anxiety as the day approaches.

 

  1. Plan and Budget in Advance

One of the most stressful aspects of planning any big event is managing the timeline and finances. Going in without a plan, you may find costs piling up and small details creeping in at the last minute. When unforeseen events throw a wrench into your budget or timeline, you may experience undue stress, which only makes planning more difficult. Set your budget and timeline well in advance of your date to mitigate any last-minute surprises or stressors. 

 

Check out our advice on budgeting and our Mitzvah costs checklist to help get you started.

 

  1. Do Something with Your Hands

Research has shown that working with your hands is a great way to destress, decrease anxiety, and can even help you brainstorm and think more clearly. In the weeks and months leading up to your child’s B Mitzvah, try to commit to a few sessions of hands-on time a week. You could do a puzzle, draw or paint, bake a treat, and so many more options. To turn this de-stressing time into something productive for your party, try doing a DIY project with your child, such as making centerpieces or name cards. Marry relaxation, crafting, and bonding with your teen all into one!

 

  1. Book a Beauty Appointment

Looking our best can help us feel our best, too. No matter your gender, a good spa day can really hit the spot. Especially in the time right before the B Mitzvah when stress is at its highest, book yourself an appointment at a med or beauty spa. A massage, facial, foot rub, or manicure may be just what you need to release some pent-up tension. Be sure to treat yourself and take relaxing breaks so you can be at your best for the monumental moments.

 

  1. Ask For Help

We all want to be superheroes and do everything ourselves. Asking for help can be hard, especially if you can’t even figure out what you need help with. Being a part of a community with many parents in the same situation as you will help you identify and feel supported in your needs and wants for your child’s B Mitzvah. It’s okay to admit when you need help, either by collaborating with friends and family or hiring one of our favorite party planners.

 

Be sure to join our local Facebook groups to get advice from other planning parents and vendors in your area.

 

  1. Remember the Joy

We know how stressful planning a B Mitzvah can be, and at some points, you may question why you’re even putting yourself through it. Remember the core of what a B Mitzvah is about- celebrating your child’s movement into adulthood. This should be a day of pride, love, and joy. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and think about how worth it it will be to see your child thrive.

 

By Vered Ornstein

You Get More Bees (Or In This Case, Bat Mitzvah Dresses) With Honey
November 3rd, 2022

You Get More Bees (Or In This Case, Bat Mitzvah Dresses) With Honey

 

We live in an era of online shopping and instant gratification. Something as simple and (once) enjoyable as dress shopping has now turned into either a transactional event (between you and your phone) or a unicorn where you actually take the time from your busy schedule to go into a store.

If you are an avid shopper, then maybe that’s not the case. However, most people I ask order things online and expect them to be on their stoop in 48 hours flat.

Furthermore, they have no problem ordering batteries, toilet paper, and a formal ball gown at the same time. With that said, online shopping also comes with flexibility, ease, and the luxury of a generous return policy. One can try on multiple options at the same time in the comfort of their own home and simply send back the discards for a full refund.

Having said that – as we started shopping for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah dress, I wanted her to feel like a princess, try on dresses in stores, and create a memorable experience. Up until then, we’d never had an occasion for her to have a fancy dress, so this was exciting. It was also a lesson on matching the dress to being the center of attention – even if that was outside of her comfort zone. In short, I wanted the shop girls to fawn over her and I wanted her to feel special as we shopped.

As with all types of customer service, there’s a wide range of people in the retail industry. Some people do not care when you walk into their stores, and some people care too much and do not leave you alone.

Some stores required an appointment and some stores said to just come in and browse. Since this category was new to her, browsing took center stage. This was also my opportunity to teach her the valuable lesson that sometimes a dress may look one way on a hanger and different on her. This was (of course) challenging for her to accept and where we had some, let’s say, heated discussions, mainly because she is twelve. To be fair, I remember having this same rite of passage discussion in 1991 with my mother.

Variety can be a little overwhelming, especially if a child has never experienced the feeling of organza, wearing bling, or the challenge of keeping up a strapless dress (knowing gravity will always win).

For the most part, we got great customer service everywhere we went. However, one funny experience does stand out. It was at the very first store, so my daughter had no idea what she wanted. Nevertheless, she did know what she liked once it was on her.

In this particular store, the woman said she could only keep four dresses in the dressing room at a time. As a respectful customer, I understood and sat there patiently. It soon came out that this limit was purely so my daughter did not get confused about having too many choices in the room.

Then she started finding dresses that she liked. She liked the top of one and the bottom of another. This one in one color and that one in another. She wanted to try them all on to compare and contrast. But like her mother, she was quick to discard the ones that did not work.

She was on her fifth dress of the finalists and still undecided. I told her to just keep it in the room and we would do last licks at the very end.

Now, this is where it gets funny. At this point, the woman turned to me and snapped that my daughter was only able to have four dresses in the room, otherwise she’d get confused. I said I think we are good, she is not confused, and it is ok.

But the woman was not ok.

I thought for a second – ok, maybe I heard that as rude when it wasn’t. Maybe my radar was off. I was willing to let it go.

Then I looked up and saw my little girl looking at me wide-eyed from behind the curtain laughing. So I started laughing.

As obedient shoppers, the fifth dress came out and sat on the hook so my A+ daughter in accelerated classes would not get confused.

The woman’s snapping did not stop there. She was sweet as sugar to my daughter and then would turn and snap at me. Like a sartorial Jekyll and Hyde. Our laughter increased and it became clear to me that this boutique was not getting my business.

As I sat there looking at the fifth dress, I thought to myself: isn’t the customer always right? Is keeping this one extra dress in the room – a true act of defiance – worth losing the sale?

In the end, and as you could predict if you have seen this movie before, she liked the fifth dress best. Guess what? We found it somewhere else, where they were nice to both of us, and we bought it there.

This experience brought to my attention the importance of good customer service now more than ever, especially as retail is hanging on by a thread. Pun intended.

While we did not get a dress that day, we left with a memorable bonding moment and a funny story to share. It was also a good segway to teach the concept that one gets more bees with honey, a lesson that all twelve-year-old girls everywhere should learn. Today.

 

By Stacey Wallenstein

@themintchipmama 

themintchipmama.com 

SPOTLIGHT: The Mod Mitzvah
October 24th, 2022

SPOTLIGHT: The Mod Mitzvah

For many Bar Mitzvah parties, the sentiment is “the bigger the better”. Huge, eye-popping décor, bright colors, and complicated design are commonplace at today’s parties. But this B Mitzvah boy and his family wanted something a little different and edgier.

Doing away with the larger-than-life elements that B Mitzvahs often sport, Will and his parents, along with Melisa Imberman and her team at The Event Of a Lifetime, decided to use a minimalist design approach for his big day. The sandy, beachside vibe of the Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, New York was swapped out for a geometric, mod aesthetic, making the club totally unrecognizable.

From the beginning of the party planning process, Will’s desire for a chic, modern party and theming helped The Event of a Lifetime craft the perfect branding for his Bar Mitzvah. Using Will’s initials, they created a logo that looked more like a boutique print than a typical B Mitzvah logo. Guests took it all in from their first step through the door, signing the sign-in board and getting their seating assignments, through the end of the night when they took home chicly branded swag.

                         

Inside the party, the mod design really took form, with simple, sleek elements in black and white complemented by lively pops of yellow. Before the party, Will and his family got to check out the black and white tiled dance floor and stage which had stunning views of the Long Island Sound.

       

Lit candles and tall floral centerpieces produced an air of elegance and whimsy fitting for such a momentous occasion. 

       

The marriage of chic and class while maintaining a fun atmosphere was the perfect vibe for the night, because Will was ready to party! In keeping with the modern design theme, guests stayed entertained by using virtual reality pods, taking photos in the futuristic-looking photobooth, or grabbing a drink at the branded bar.

        

Because of the sleek and modern design, Will’s Bar Mitzvah party aesthetic will hold up for years to come. Subdued and subtle, this décor proved that low-key can still be high-brow, and sometimes, less really is more.

Photo credits: Chad Kraus Photography

Judaica You Need for Your Bar Mitzvah
October 11th, 2022

Judaica You Need for Your Bar Mitzvah

You’ve got the outfit, decorated the venue, booked the entertainment, taste-tested the catering, and everything is in place for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah party of your teen’s dreams. It seems like you’ve planned every last detail for the big day, but are you forgetting the most important part?

 

In the glitz and glam of party planning, it’s easy to lose sight of what B Mitzvahs are all about- Judaism! Here are some key Jewish elements you should remember when planning a Mitzvah to ensure the day is as meaningful and inspired as possible.

 

A Hebrew Tutor

This may seem like a no-brainer, but hiring a tutor to teach Hebrew, prayers, and reading Torah as early as possible in the planning process is crucial. If your child doesn’t attend a Jewish day school or synagogue regularly, it may take them a while to feel comfortable with the new language and tunes. Even kids with knowledge of Hebrew usually start preparing up to three years in advance of their B Mitzvah! As soon as you know the date of your event, start the process of preparing for services to lessen the stress as the day approaches. Hiring a cantor can help you prepare for a Mitzvah or any other life cycle event.

 

In addition to a tutor, a speech writer can help put together a D’var Torah, the speech that a B Mitzvah teen traditionally gives that talks about the week’s Torah portion.

 

Tallit

A tallit, or tallis, is a shawl worn by Jewish adults while praying or taking an honor at the Torah. The four corners of the garment represent the Jewish people coming together from all corners of the Earth. A tallis has some traditional requirements, but it is otherwise very customizable. Tallises come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and materials, allowing teens to express themselves to the fullest. Many people have their tallis custom made, often with sentimental fabrics and heirlooms.

 

To go even further, a set of tallis clips, which are designed to keep the tallis in place when wearing it, make a fabulous and meaningful gift.

Siddur

A siddur is a prayerbook used in synagogue and services, and gifting a B Mitzvah teen their own siddur is a great way to help them build a personal and individual connection to prayer. Get the siddur inscribed with their name and date of their ceremony, or decorate a book cover to place on top. DIYing a siddur cover can be an opportunity for parents and teens to bond, or can be a fun break from the stress of party planning.

Kippahs

Don’t forget kippahs! The head coverings, also known as yarmulkes represent the idea that God is always above us, and they are obligatory in many synagogues. They are traditionally worn by just men, but many women and girls wear them too. Kippahs can be customized with any color or design and are another way to incorporate a theme into a Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Usually personalized with the B Mitzvah teen’s name and ceremony date, they make for a great keepsake, too.

 

Tzedakah Box

One of the core mitzvot (commandments) of Judaism is tzedakah, the act of giving to charity. Tzedakah can take many forms, like volunteering or doing a mitzvah project. One common and easy way to give tzedakah is to use a tzedakah box, which is similar to a piggy bank. Giving your teen a receptacle to collect spare change will help introduce them to charity work and performing mitzvot! Tzedakah boxes can be homemade, intricate and ornate, or anywhere in between. They make for a great gift both before and after the B Mitzvah.

 

Extras

There is of course no shortage in different types of Judaica that, while they are not an inherent part of a B Mitzvah, make for lovely and thoughtful gifts. For example: a kiddush cup to sip wine from on Shabbat and holidays; a set of candlesticks for lighting candles on Friday night; a menorah to use on Hanukkah. These valuable and often deeply personal and sentimental gifts will help foster a Jewish identity and will be valued for years to come! 

The Best Bar Mitzvah TV Episodes
October 5th, 2022

The Best Bar Mitzvah TV Episodes

Have the recent holiday celebrations got you itching for more Jewish content? Looking to prepare for an upcoming B Mitzvah or introduce someone to its themes and tones?

For many people, their first introduction to Jewish culture is the classic Bar Mitzvah-themed episode of their favorite TV show. Countless programs have portrayed beloved characters growing into young adults in hilarious, moving, and sometimes painfully awkward ways. With so many classic coming-of-age episodes to choose from, we picked our favorite episode from each genre of show so that you can get in the B Mitzvah spirit no matter what you like to watch!

Cringe Comedy

Pen15 features two actresses in their thirties traveling back to the early 2000s to play middle school versions of themselves, reflecting on the discomfort and excitement of growing up. Season 2, Episode 9 of the Hulu original series titled “Bat Mitzvah” shows the girls grappling with existential crises at a classmate’s Bat Mitzvah. Hey Alma called it “the best bat mitzvah episode of all time”.

 

Family Animation

The beloved and long-running cartoon Bob’s Burgers nailed the over-the-top and sometimes silly and stressful nature of B Mitzvahs with Season 4, Episode 13, “Mazel Tina”. Middle schooler Tina tries to impress popular girl Tammy at Tammy’s Bat Mitzvah, despite her family being hired to cater the event. 

 

Modern Sitcom

In Season 5, Episode 9 of Mindy Kaling’s show The Mindy Project, titled simply “Bat Mitzvah”, Mindy crashes the Bat Mitzvah of her new boyfriend’s daughter. The ceremony serves as the backdrop for hilarity and mischief as Mindy pretends to be a rabbi to impress her new man’s family and friends.

 

Nostalgic Animation

Any 90s kid will remember the Nickeloden classic Hey Arnold which aired its Season 1 Episode 22B episode “Harold’s Bar Mitzvah” in 1997. When Arnold’s frenemy Harold struggles with the meaning and value of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, Arnold has to help his peer embrace what it means to grow up and mature. Between the important life lessons and the huge dose of nostalgia, this episode is a hit.

 

Classic Sitcom

Season 10, Episode 6 of classic show Fraiser is the crossover of every Jewish Star Trek fan’s dreams. In “Star Mitzvah” non-Jewish Frasier makes the mistake of hiring a Star Trek super fan to tutor his son in preparation for his Bar Mitzvah. Chaos ensues when the son is taught a prayer in Klingon, rather than Hebrew. 

 

Sketch Comedy

Vanessa Bayer’s iconic Weekend Update character on Saturday Night Live “Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy” spoke to a generation of awkward Bar Mitzvah kids. The character will feel familiar and endearing to anyone who’s ever sat through a less-than-perfect B Mitzvah speech. Watch the whole playlist of sketches from over the years on Youtube.

 

Disney Channel Animation

In Kim Possible Season 1, Episode 20 titled “Ron the Man”, Kim’s best friend and sidekick, Ron Stoppable, explores what it means to be a man, physically and metaphorically. This nostalgic and fun episode of the classic Disney Channel cartoon is a formative piece of coming-of-age media.

 

Animated Comedy

The long-running and beloved cartoon sitcom The Simpsons tackled the Bar Mitzvah storyline in Season 15, Episode 6 “Today I Am A Clown”. When Krusty the Clown feels unaccepted as a Jew due to his lack of a Bar Mitzvah, he sets out to throw the event of the century, learning along the way that spectacle is not as important as tradition.

 

Disney Channel Sitcom

In Season 1, Episode 31 of the classic Disney show Lizzie McGuire titled “Gordo’s Bar Mitzvah”, Lizzie’s best friend Gordo feels inferior to the other boys in his class who seem to be growing up quicker than he is. In order to feel more mature and find himself as a young adult, Gordo decides it’s important to finally have a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

 

Raunchy TV

The notoriously NSFW and boundary-pushing Netflix original series Big Mouth featured a B Mitzvah in Season 1, Episode 9 “I Survived Jessi’s Bat Mitzvah”. Bat Mitzvah girl Jessi grapples with her changing family dynamics and personal identity on her big day, leading to rebellion and self-discovery.

How Much Does A Bar Mitzvah Really Cost?
September 26th, 2022

How Much Does A Bar Mitzvah Really Cost?

We understand that money can be a sensitive topic to discuss, but sometimes in life, the difficult conversations are the most important ones to have. Between a venue, entertainment, party favors, food, and dressing the whole family, the price of hosting a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah can add up very quickly.

Of course, there are cost-saving measures you can take to keep expenses down when planning: using DIY projects wherever you can, renting or buying secondhand décor and clothing, opting for a modest venue space, and much more. But if you’ve never planned a party of this scale before, you still may find yourself surprised with the totals at the end of the day.

To help answer some of these burning questions, we anonymously surveyed Mitzvah Marketers just like you to see how much they spent on B Mitzvah planning and get their advice on getting the best bang for your buck at your upcoming party.

What’s the Average Cost?

Calculating the true average cost of a B Mitzvah is difficult since everyone has their own spending priorities and budgets. Factors like income and place of residence can obviously have a huge impact on what you are able to spend and what the average family in your area is spending as well. So while we can’t know exactly how much is being spent on the average B Mitzvah, we can get a pretty good idea of spending trends.

When asked how much money they have previously spent on a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party (or how much they’re planning to spend at an upcoming one), a third of survey respondents estimated they would spend somewhere between one thousand and 10 thousand dollars. Another third indicated a budget ranging from 10 to 30 thousand dollars, and the final third estimated spending more than 30 thousand dollars on their child’s big day.

What’s the Most and Least Expensive Part of Party Planning?

When asked which part of Mitzvah planning was the most expensive, 80% of people surveyed said that food and catering were the costliest part of the party. The other 20% said that the venue put the biggest dent in their budget.

When asked what they spent the least amount of money on for their B Mitzvah, nearly everyone responded that invitations were the most wallet-friendly aspect of planning. Some respondents noted that they sent out electronic invitations instead of paper ones which made it even more affordable.

What Do Other Planners Have to Say?

At the end of the survey, we asked party planning parents to share their best advice for planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Here’s some of what they had to say:

“Don’t scrimp on the photography. It’s the only thing that will hold your memories. What’s the value of those?”

“Make a budget and attempt to stick to it. Try to avoid unnecessary expenditures.”

“Do a lot of research and stay organized. If on tight budget, prioritize what is important and do a lot of DIY.”

“It will all work out.”

“Talk to others who have done it before for advice – it helps!”

The Takeaways

  • The main lesson to learn from these survey results is that there is no wrong way to have a B Mitzvah. Budgets can range from minimal to extravagant, all depending on personal needs and priorities.
  • Across the board, feeding your guests seems to be the most expensive part of throwing a Mitzvah, so be sure to take that into account when mapping out your budget.
  • DIY projects are your best friend. Not only are they more cost effective, but they can add character and personal touches to your party or venue. Check out our article on unique DIY party favors to consider for your event!
  • Prioritize the things that are most important to you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help in planning your party.

 

Want to share your experiences? This survey is still live, and we’d love to hear from you! Take the survey now!

 

By Vered Ornstein

Spotlight: Twins and the City
September 20th, 2022

Spotlight: Twins and the City

As the old adage goes, you can take the girls out of New York City but you can never take New York City out of the girls! That’s what Melisa Imberman of The Event of a Lifetime thought when she began planning Hannah and Lily’s Bnai Mitzvah. The twins, who originally hail from New York, relocated to Connecticut. Though their new home is just a stone’s throw away from the City, it can feel like a whole different world. Since they couldn’t have their celebration in their hometown, The Event of a Lifetime got to work on a recipe to bring the Big Apple to the Nutmeg State.

For the service portion of the Bnai Mitzvah, the twins and their mother traveled back to New York to celebrate with their community at Central Synagogue. Meanwhile, Melisa and her team were busy at work transforming a Stamford venue into an NYC-inspired night club. 

As guests entered the venue, they were ushered into an elevator that brought them up to a rooftop, opening up to signage in the likeness of iconic New York Subway signs.

Once upstairs, everyone walked a hot pink carpet, lined with pink ropes and stanchion posts, before having a bouncer check their names on the VIP guestlist, emphasizing the exclusive nightclub atmosphere. Inside the “club”, neon signs lit up the space, and huge, bright windows provided a gorgeous view of the (Stamford) city skyline.

From the onset of party planning, the tech-forward atmosphere of Times Square was captured by elements like an animated electronic invitation and three personalized logos that highlighted the girls’ personalities and love for New York City. Screens on the dance floor and throughout the venue flashed scenes of New York’s iconic imagery, bringing the energy of Midtown to the streets of Stamford.

The party decor was brimming with New York iconography, from neon signs, miniature skylines, and even a faux limousine that gave the lounging areas a swanky, upscale feel.

The twins got the party started on the blacklight dance floor, culminating in them shooting a CO2 cannon into the crowd! As everyone tore it up on the dancefloor, branded merch like trucker hats, slides, and Airpod cases made for exciting, modern giveaways. At the end of the night, everyone took home a super soft hoodie and an iridescent backpack bright enough to make you stand out in the crowd, even in a place as busy as Times Square.

Through meticulous work and attention to detail, the girls’ big city dreams came true that night. Though New York is the city that never sleeps, Hannah and Lily’s friends and family slept well after a night of partying and celebrating all together.

Photography: Sarah Merians Photography

 

By Vered Ornstein