Teachings: Party & Candlelighting

Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah: Party Planning Guide

Bmitzvah.org: The Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues

Reb Nachman of Breslov taught: Mitzvah gedolah liheeyote b’simcha tamid - "it is a great mitzvah to always be at a simcha." Simcha can be translated as a state of happiness or a happy occasion. In Genesis 21:8 Abraham threw a feast to celebrate Isaac’s weaning, and there is a midrash (rabbinic interpretive tale), in Bereshit Rabbah 53:10. which says this was when Isaac was thirteen years of age.

How to Create a "Green" Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Ensure All Rites of Passage Are Kind to the Environment

Spirituality is When Learning Leads to Meaningful Action

The environmental impact of your rite of passage, celebration and even your thank you notes is worthy of serious consideration since there are lots of ways to have a wonderful bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah while also being gentle on the environment. Here's how:

Meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah Themes

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar and Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues

We’re not talking about the fabled (we hope) family who had each table and food station designated as a different department store chain as though a B-Mitzvah were some kind of celebration of North American retail business. There’s a powerful world of stimulating themes right inside of your planning, self-assessment and d’var Torah preparation processes. Your selection of themes necessarily precedes the ordering of invitations, selection of music, design for centerpieces and the like. Here are some examples:

Giving Meaningful Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Presents

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

"The Silver Ring"

Two weeks before my bat mitzvah, my mother took me over to her jewelry drawer. She lifted out a silver ring with a turquoise stone in it that had cracks filled with drizzled in gold. "This is my bat mitzvah present for you. This ring is full of special memories and it comes with a blessing." She slipped it onto my right hand ring finger. A perfect fit. "What kind of memories? What do you mean it comes with a blessing?"

How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note

The B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

The following is a sample gift letter we sent to a cousin who happened to be inter-marrying so it also feels good to give in honor of the wedding to a Jewish cause which is doing non-sectarian relief work....global tikkun olam!

Dear Ones:

We welcome you as a new couple to our family!

It is a Jewish tradition to add blessing to a couples life, on the event of their marriage, by giving a gift of tzedakah (a donation which consciously changes someone else's situation) in their honor.

The Problem and Repair of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah Candle Lighting Ceremony

B-Mitzvah (R)evolution

This article teaches unique and meaningful ways to convey honor and blessing to special people present at a rite of passage, for example, a bar or bat mitzvah. The birthday cake strategy with candles present that are lit with nice things being said about family members was invented by a Christian caterer and become mistakenly adopted during some bar and bat mitzvah parties. That caterer didn't understand a) That candles are lit to start and end the Sabbath, never during it and b) that a bar and bat mitzvah is not a 12th or 13th birthday party.

The Meaning of the Flame: B'nei Mitzvah Are Not a Birthday Parties

Bmitzvah.org: B Mitzvah! The Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues

The flame is a primary Jewish metaphor for the soul. Judaism enjoins us to be careful lest we put out the flame of someone's soul through careless or deliberate words or acts. A few decades ago a Christian caterer started the idea of a candle-lighting ceremony for bar/bat mitzvah parties, thinking it's a nice, normal thing to do at a birthday party. Bar/bat mitzvah is NOT a birthday party in intent, it is about crossing the threshold from childhood to empowered Jewish young adulthood. Besides, Jews don't light candles on Shabbat, no less blow them out! Nor do we blow out Hanukkah or Yartzeit candles. So what could we do that would be more authentically Jewish to honor family & friends?

Gifts: How to Write a Message Encouraging Guests to Give to a Charity in Your Honor

Sample gift letter we sent to a cousin who happened to be inter-marrying so it also feels good to give in  honor of the wedding to a Jewish cause which is doing non-sectarian relief work....global tikkun olam!
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Dear Ones:

We welcome you as a new couple to our family!

Special Ways of Saying Thank You

          Gratitude is one of the most important human emotions. As the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah day nears, it is time to contemplate how to most meaningfully thank those who have been on your Bar/Bat Mitzvah team