Your bar or bat mitzvah will be special no matter what; but at the same time, there are little elements that can make all the difference between simply a memorable rite of passage and an extraordinary life moment. Here are some great tips:

1. Your Speech.

Bar MitzvahAlthough it may feel like a burden — and a huge undertaking — composing a mitzvah speech doesn’t have to be such a slog. Instead of getting so heady and uptight about it, just be honest — what’s a real life issue that really matters to you? Sit back and observe: anything in your Torah portion make you think of something that you don’t (or do) like in today’s world? For example, Duncan McAlpine Sennett in Portland, Oregon, related his Torah portion to modern love and used his speech to support gay marriage. Check out the story here.

Bottom line: you don’t have to look too far to create a meaningful speech. Chances are, if you’re reeeaaching, then you’re too far away from what really matters to you. Some of the best speeches we’ve heard come straight from the heart, not academia.

2. Activities.

Socal Mitzvahs1Of course there’s dancing, maybe a really big entrance à la Sam Horowitz style, and always fabulous food (I mean, who are we kidding, we’re Jews?! — If the food isn’t good, the party isn’t lasting too long ; ) . . .). But, what about the stuff in between? Here are some winning ideas that have been huge hits at our events:

  • Personalized phone case decoration station
  • Airbrushing
  • A ridiculously intricate and entertaining treasure hunt
  • Whole body 3D virtual reality games like basketball & kayaking
  • Karaoke

Ultimately, what’s probably going to provide the best entertainment are things that you’d really enjoy doing. Love SNL? Have a station with a script, some props, and let people “play out” a short 2 minute scene and get a copy of the footage… when it comes to mitzvahs, there’s no such thing as too creative.

3. Photo booth.

barmitzvahMight sound pretty straightforward, but the photo booth usually turns out to be one of the most popular and in-demand highlights of many of our events. Put some theme props around like cowboy hats or burlesque outfits and your friends will be there all night. . . they’ll get to pose and not even get accused of taking selfies!! ; )

4. Party favors.

SoCal MitzvahsAlthough they aren’t totally essential to every mitzvah, good party favors will leave your guests little tokens to remember a great time. Some favorites are really comfy sweatshirts or t-shirts decorated with graffiti (my niece still wears one she got at a b’nai mitzvah every time she goes to the gym), personalized iPhone charger decals, custom decorated phone cases, or sports paraphernalia — and of course, some glow-in-the-dark necklaces thrown in for those black light/neon-themed events we’ve done! ; )

5. Food trucks!!

Food TruckSo, you’ve become a “man” (or woman); want to fast-track it to becoming a mench? Then provide your guests with food trucks while they’re waiting for their cars after the event. Ok, you might have to try a little harder than that to become a true mench, but not much right after your mitzvah, at least… Who doesn’t LOVE some delicious down-home eats after they’ve danced the night away?! Oh bubbela!

Creating an incredible mitzvah experience for you and your guests is something you’ll treasure the rest of your life. It’s not rocket science, but with the right formula of meaning and creativity, you’ll invent the time of your life.

photo credit: photo 1 – :: photo 2 –  southern california mitzvahs by tim halberg photography :: photo 3 – :: photo 4 – southern california mitzvahs by tim halberg photography :: photo 5 –

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