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.