Bar Mitz­vah, Bat Mitz­vah: Plan­ning the Per­fect Day

Amy Nebens; Ellen Sil­ver­man and David Lewis Stern­feld, illus.
  • Review
By – August 3, 2012

If you want to plan a tru­ly extrav­a­gant bar or bat mitz­vah par­ty, à la Martha Stew­art, with elab­o­rate menus and fab­u­lous one-of-a-kind enter­tain­ment, then this book is for you. You can glean ideas to per­son­al­ize your event,” and sug­ges­tions for unique par­ty favors. You can use the time­line and bud­get sheet to begin plan­ning two to three years ahead of the date. Includ­ed are such items as inter­view­ing and secur­ing a band or DJ, try­ing out and book­ing make­up artists for moms and daugh­ters, and sched­ul­ing man­i­cures and pedi­cures for them one day before the cer­e­mo­ny. The advan­tages of hir­ing an event coor­di­na­tor and oth­er par­ty pro­fes­sion­als are dis­cussed. Work­ing with the cater­er and plan­ning the menus are also cov­ered. There is a list of sug­gest­ed pho­to shots for the big day, includ­ing pho­tos of moth­er and daugh­ter in strap­less dress­es. The text is accent­ed by 60 attrac­tive glossy pho­tographs, in full-col­or and in black and white, fea­tur­ing var­i­ous kinds of invi­ta­tions, beau­ti­ful­ly dec­o­rat­ed tables, and mouth­wa­ter­ing food. 

The author includes a brief his­to­ry of the bar and bat mitz­vah. In the Under­stand­ing the Torah” sec­tion, she explains briefly what is cov­ered by each of the Torah’s five books through­out the year, men­tion­ing that the bar or bat mitz­vah will be assigned one of the 54 Torah por­tions (parsh­iot) with­in these books. Rea­sons for choos­ing a par­tic­u­lar syn­a­gogue and the dif­fer­ent kinds of ser­vices are dis­cussed, as well as the fact that some tem­ples require choos­ing a mitz­vah project. Hebrew terms such as aliyah,” haftorah,” hav­dalah,” tallis,” etc. are defined. The author men­tions the impor­tance of attend­ing Shab­bat ser­vices as a fam­i­ly, lis­ten­ing to your child’s Torah and haf­tarah por­tions and learn­ing their mean­ing so that you can dis­cuss it with your child. A for­mer edi­tor for Martha Stew­art Liv­ing, she cites sources and event coor­di­na­tors based in New York and Connecticut.

Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions