As a preteen, my mom and a friend started a business, The Finishing Touch, an event décor service. It was the early 80’s and the parties were big, I mean BIG. My mom is an extremely creative visionary, she would dream up theses amazing ideas for the Bar/Bat mitzvah centerpieces. Then she would spend hours in her “workshop”, cutting, gluing and painting the foam board and Styrofoam into submission. I often marveled at the creations that I helped her transport every weekend. I soon began to help her and find my creative voice as well. Throughout the years of many Bar/Bat Mitzvah and in our family, three weddings and now four Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, she never ceases to amaze.
This August was my son’s Bar Mitzvah, a milestone in the family that Andrew and I created. He worked hard to learn his portion in Hebrew and to understand what it’s translation meant to the Jewish people at that time in history and today. Writing a beautiful speech that connected our past as a people, to our present and our future. He understood the magnitude of this occasion and gracefully fulfilled his obligations. I was a proud mama!
The ceremony took place at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, New Jersey; followed by a luncheon at Irving’s Deli in East Hanover, New Jersey. Continuing the celebration the next evening at The Velvet Lounge in Fairfield, New Jersey. The photographer was Zush Heinrich of Zush Photography, he was amazing to work with. He had a well developed plan for what pictures to take, he kept my whole family under control and fostered a fun environment. A true artist. I highly recommend his services. http://www.zushphotography.com
My son is a Lacrosse Goalie, so Lacrosse was the theme of the Bar Mitzvah. With help from my family, all the decorations were created in my very own workshop. I knew we wanted to incorporate the lacrosse strings and mesh. We used faux grass and a ton of foam board, below are some examples of what we created.
The luncheon was at the deli becuse Jack is gluten intolerant and he LOVES meat. Pastrami sandwiches for everyone!! To decorate the room, enlarged pictures of my son playing Lacrosse and his logo where placed with the help of my family. It would not have gotten done without them. The luncheon and party were everything I wanted them to be, our very closest friends and family surrounding us with love and support.
The dessert table for the luncheon and the party were created by my cousin, Amy Levine, of Takes the Cakes by Amy Levine. Visit her at https://www.facebook.com/takesthecakesnj. Everything tasted as good as it looked, amazing. His face was on everything from the cupcaked to a whole gluten free cake! She even developed new gluten free recipes for the occasion. Call her for your next party before she is all booked up.
But all this is not what it really is all about? A Bar/Bat mitzvah is when a young person becomes responsible to perform mitzvahs or good deeds. The messages of the commandments are to keep our lives focused on what is truly important in life; family, community, and faith. That’s it! That is where my focus was.
Where should your focus be for the event? It’s NOT about how many family/friends/kids were invited, or what your favor is, what the invite looks like, or the second dress for the party. It’s not about the party; it is to celebrate their accomplishment and the milestone in their life. Out of a misguided notion to not look cheap or unloving to their children, many parents feel forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on their Bat/Bar Mitzvah parties, Much more than wanted to spend or can even afford. These crazy over the top parties often end up overshadowing the religious importance of the Bat/Bar Mitzvah. For many, what counts is the open “Bar”, not the Mitzvah. What do you think?