Mazel tov on your upcoming celebration! A bar or bat mitzvah is the bright beginning of a meaningful Jewish life. Giving yourself ample time to prepare is the key to a festive celebration that runs smoothly, but that doesn’t mean planning this once-in-a-lifetime event has to be overwhelming. Whether you're putting on a simple luncheon or hosting a glamorous evening banquet complete with a ten-piece band, #tagvenue is here to clue you in on the best bar and bat mitzvah venues in London.
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Hosting a bar or bat mitzvah in the capital? Mazel tov! Bar and bat mitzvah celebrations usually take place directly after the synagogue ceremony and include a festive meal followed by music and dancing. While bar or bat mitzvah preparations help ensure a joyous celebration, organising this special milestone doesn't have to be stressful.
Although in the secular world a girl or boy of twelve or thirteen is on the cusp of teenagehood, according to Jewish law, they’re considered an adult. A bar or bat mitzvah marks this rite of passage, which is usually celebrated among family and friends.
There are no hard-and-fast rules about how to celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah – some are small and intimate, while others are large and raucous. No matter what you’re planning, you can give your celebration more meaning by emphasising the significance of the bar or bat mitzvah speech, telling guests about the mitzvah project and inviting them to do a mitzvah, like giving tzedakah (charity), themselves.
Tips and tricks for celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah:
Encourage the bar or bat mitzvah child to study Hebrew (ideally, he or she should be able to read their Torah portion, not just recite it from memory)
Help the bar or bat mitzvah child find a mitzvah project they’re passionate about – it will make this special occasion even more meaningful
When choosing a day for the party, consider the date the child will celebrate his or her bar or bat mitzvah in the synagogue (it’s usually close to their thirteenth birthday)
Decide whether the party will be kids only, or if it will be mixed ages
Consider a theme, as it makes planning easier (popular options include sports, tropical/luau and Hollywood)
Think about catering (will the food be kosher?)
Work out which style and size of venue will best suit (perhaps you’d prefer to pay more for a great setting and possibly save on the expense of decorating?)
Shortlist bar or bat mitzvah venues in convenient locations (do you need something in central London or further afield?)
Organise fantastic entertainment (a live band, DJ, photo booth, caricaturist, arts and crafts for small children at the party, etc.)
Personalise party favours with the name or initials of the bar or bat mitzvah child (think t-shirts, beach towels, sports caps, etc.)
Honour the parents, grandparents or another special guest by having them bless the wine and challah, either in the synagogue or at the start of the party
Traditional gifts given for a bar or bat mitzvah include religious or educational books, religious items, gift certificates or money. Monetary gifts in multiples of 18 have become very popular for bar and bat mitzvahs as they’re considered particularly lucky. If the bat mitzvah girl is to begin lighting Shabbat candles after this day, her parents or grandparents will often give her a pretty candlestick. For a boy, his parents or grandparents might give him his first set of tefillin.
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