Your guests came all the way to celebrate your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah… you’re not going to let them starve, are you?
Of course not! You’re like a Jewish mom hosting a Shabbat dinner: feeding and taking care of everyone!
This time – you’ve got a little more than a few guests on your hands. You’ve got dozens, if not hundreds (or if you’re a Russian Oligarch – thousands) of guests to feed!
Now… The only question (OK, 3 questions) is:
- How do you serve so many guests?
- What traditional Bar/Bat Mitzvah food should you serve?
- Where can you find the best Bar/Bat Mitzvah menus you can use as inspiration?
Those are big questions.
Well, guess what? I’m going to help you answer each and every one of em’!
Excited? You should be!
Let’s get this food fest started…
Imagine someone attending a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony for the very first time (hey, that someone might be you!)…
They see people wearing a weird-looking hat, speaking an ancient language (Hebrew is over 3,000 years old) they don’t understand, and walking around in what looks like a cape from biblical times.
They’re baffled 😮 (wouldn’t you be?).
At this point, our poor mystery guest can’t help but wonder:
- … What are these odd traditions? (or to put it less politely: WHAT the hell is going on?)
- … What exactly are we celebrating here?
- … What is the real meaning behind these Bar/Bat Mitzvah rituals?
Let’s give our mystery guest some answers, shall we?
In this article, I’m going to break down the Bar & Bat Mitzvah ceremony step by step (and bust a few myths along the way)…
You know… so that our mystery guest doesn’t feel like The Martian the moment they step foot into the synagogue.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies these days look NOTHING like the old days.
Here’s how it used to look:
- You attend the Bar Mitzvah’s Torah reading in the synagogue
- You get together in the family’s house for an intimate Kiddush & light meal (a luncheon)
- The Bar/Bat Mitzvah and the parents would give a speech
- You go home
- The End
- “Intimate” turned into a BIG & flashy Bar/Bat Mitzvah party…
- A “light meal” turned into a massive feast with lots of alcohol (for the real adults), music and dancing…
- And the speeches? Well, they still exist…including the (not so) funny jokes by the (drunk) uncle.
It’s like we entered a new era: Bar/Bat Mitzvah 2.0.
You know what that means…
New Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration = new rules = new Bar/Bat Mitzvah etiquette.
… What do you wear to a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
… What gift do you give?
… What should you say (and what shouldn’t you say)?
Sit tight… because I’m about to give you the answers to all of those questions (and more) …
When was the last time you stepped foot (pun intended) in a shoe store?
I remember the days we had to walk all the way to the shoe store, try on 16 different pairs of shoes, only to notice the store owner slowly getting annoyed that we’re wasting their time… Until you eventually had to give in and buy a pair… not because you liked it, but because you felt bad for the store owner.
Thank Goodness – those days are long gone… because today, you can buy any pair of shoes without ever leaving your comfy chair (or bed? or bean bag?).
Including… your boy’s Bar Mitzvah shoes!
Wait. Did I just say boy’s shoes? I’m sorry, I meant man’s shoes.
Because guess what…? Your little “boy”? Not such a boy anymore…
The young man is about to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah – the day he finally transforms from a kid → to a young Jewish adult (at least according to the Torah… hold off on the alcohol there, fella).
One thing is for sure: a Bar Mitzvah boy deserves to show up to his big day wearing a pair of fancy shoes.
That’s exactly why I wrote this article – to help you find the shoes your boy is going to wear as he steps up to the Bimah – and fills you up with pride, joy, maybe even a few tears.
Note: For girl’s shoes – check out our list of favorite Bat Mitzvah shoes.
You’re preparing food for Shabbat…
Mmmm! It looks (and smells) yummy!
Too bad it’ll get cold by the time you sit down for your Shabbos or Yom Tov meal… Oy vey!
Unless you get a Shabbat hot plate (or blech) that’ll keep your food warm, fresh and delicious for the entire Shabbat!
The Shabbat Plata (as they call it in Hebrew) is one of the most, if not THE most important items in a Jewish kitchen.
It’s not a question of if we should have one, it’s a question of which one…
And that’s exactly what I’m going to help you answer today:
Which Kosher hot plate should you get for Shabbos?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Remember the days you had to manually turn off the refrigerator lights before Shabbat?
I remember I had to unscrew the lightbulb, cover the switch with scotch tape and find all sorts of creative (read: annoying) workarounds.
Well, not anymore!
Thankfully, some of the biggest refrigerator brands came to the rescue and created Sabbath mode refrigerators to make our lives much easier.
In fact – the only problem now is that there are too many Sabbath mode fridges to choose from.
Everyone is throwing buzzwords, deals, coupons our way – all in the attempt to catch our attention.
- Where do we even begin?
- How do we know which refrigerators are truly Kosher?
- What does Sabbath mode and Star-K even mean?
I spent 3 days writing this monster guide – to help you find the answers to all those questions and to help you find a brand new Sabbath mode refrigerator that’ll serve you well for MANY years to come.
When you attend a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony – you often wonder: “What the hell do all of these random symbols mean anyway?”
Random? That’s cute…
In Judaism, nothing is ever random. EVERYTHING has an underlying meaning… including the Bar/Bat Mitzvah symbols you often see in Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies.
In fact, there are 4 levels of interpretation (also known as PaRDeS) in Jewish scripture used to discover the true meaning behind Jewish signs and symbols:
- Peshat (פְּשָׁט): Simple, straightforward explanation
- Remez (רֶמֶז): Hints – symbolic or allegorical
- Derash (דְּרַשׁ): Deriving meaning through inquiry (by cross-referencing and analysis)
- Sod (סוֹד): Secret, mystical interpretation
In other words – Jewish symbols sometimes have simplistic interpretations, and sometimes they have such deep, philosophical meaning that before you know it – you find yourself in a deeper rabbit hole deeper than the one Alice went through.
And guess what? The rabbit hole starts right here.
In a few moments – you’ll discover:
- What are the most common Bar & Bat Mitzvah symbols?
- What do they really mean?
Let’s get to it…
Everyone, get your cameras out… it’s time to polish that Instagram feed with awesome pictures from Israel that’ll make your kid’s classmates (and their parents) drool out of envy!
As crazy as it sounds – these days, Bar & Bat Mitzvah celebrations focus mostly on style, rather than substance.
We live in a world dominated by social media, where our kids are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses (or Cohen’s), only to find themselves participating in this never-ending popularity contest called a “Bar/Bat Mitzvah party”… and guess who’s left holding the bill? (hint: look in the mirror)
Is there a way out of that madness? Yes indeed – celebrating your kid’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel!
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel is a breath of fresh air for parents who prefer an alternative path. A path that doesn’t involve stress, chaos, and a party that ends up costing you an arm and a leg.
A path that gives your kids the chance to (among others):
- Take a break from the noisy world we live in and discover the spiritual side of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony
- Discover their Jewish tradition, learn about Israel’s rich history and heritage, and visit the iconic sites they read about in the bible
- Form their identity as a young adult based on eternal Jewish values (as opposed to Marvel superheroes)
Quite a different experience, don’t you think?
Now, the BIG question is:
“How do I plan a meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip? Where should we go? What should we do?”
(OK, those are 3 questions… but you get my point)
These are actual questions I’ve been getting from our readers for a while now… so I figured it’s about time I answered these questions and give parents some ideas on how to plan the Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip of a lifetime… so here we are 🙂
(It took me over a week to write it, so you better like it!)
Fasten your seatbelt ladies and gentleman. We’re ready for takeoff!
The Passover Seder is approaching.
Excited? You should be!
You finally get to see your family and loved ones around the Seder table – reading the Haggadah, drinking wine, eating Matzo balls (or Gefilte Fish)…
FREEDOM at last!
But before you start jamming to “Ma Nishtana” and scaring away the birds, you might want to get your friends and lovely Seder hostess an appropriate Passover gift.
Otherwise, as the Brits would say: that’s bloody rude!
Luckily, our Jewish moms taught us better…
Now… the only question is:
“What gift should I bring to the Passover Seder dinner?”
That, my friend, is exactly what I’ll answer in this special Pesach gift guide!
Introducing: Amen V’Amen’s favorite Passover gift ideas for Pesach 2019.