Planning a Bar Mitzvah

From the moment my oldest son was born, there were milestones that we had to think about. First was his bris when he was ten days old. Since we knew we were having a boy, we were able to plan a bit ahead of time for that.

Next up, was getting NHL ready for school. PreK and kindergarten came quickly and required school adjustments along the way. Of course, he also started going to Hebrew School.

Then, as we eased into elementary school the focus shifted toward getting ready for middle school. While that was a major priority in my mind, there was always something else making my thoughts race at times.

Bar Mitzvah Time Traditions

Middle school means getting close to the teen years. This is a huge milestone in the Jewish religion. Boys start to focus on their Bar Mitzvah preparations at about the same time. Hebrew school is not enough and shortly individual lessons with members of the clergy will begin.

As NHL turned eleven this summer, I knew the two year count down was on. Of course, with my internal count down and major denial shaking it off, I had to embrace the reality check. His birthday seemed to signal questions from some family and friends. They wanted to know if we had a date, time, location, and other details to share.

No, we were hyper focused on getting the kiddo adjusted to middle school. The here and now trumped something two years in the future. In passing, I spoke with the rabbi about it and he told me to get in touch after the high holidays.

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the rest of the autumn holidays came and went. Denial was strong.

We have talked to NHL about his Bar Mitzvah. He has preferences and has made it clear that he does not want certain things to happen. He has also made a specific request.

A reality check happened shortly before Thanksgiving.

I saw the phone number of our synagogue pop up on my phone. What I was not expecting was our cantor to be on the line. *GULP* It was time to talk about his Hebrew Birthday. That is the magical date that is the first day we could even consider having his Bar Mitzvah.

My brain was racing and TechyDad was still at work. I was not expecting the call, so it caught me off guard a bit. In the end, we found out the first day in 2016 that is acceptable for us to consider. We also know a day that someone else has selected that is out. What I never thought about was the likelihood of needing this big day to be right at the start of the school year. It now appears that we will have to think about juggling a Bar Mitzvah with the start of 8th grade.

While I am sure NHL will be ready for this big day (whenever it is), I am not sure that I am ready for the planning, saving, and chaos that go together.

If you have planned a big event for your child, like a Bar Mitzvah, how did you tackle it? One thing we have decided is to keep a lot of details quiet for as long as possible. We do not want disagreements to pop up like they did with our wedding

It's Me

FYI, if you were curious about the picture above, that’s a photo of my father when he had his Bar Mitzvah.

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  • Wow — I can’t believe they called you already. My oldest child, a boy is 9 and we are freaking out because he only goes to a hebrew school type of class on Wednesdays. We aren’t synagogue members and not sure what we will do. I’ll be following your blog to get some insight!
    Nancy Johnson Horn´s last blog post ..Busy Parents’ Guide to Hanukkah

  • We have planned 2 homeschool graduations and 1 wedding so far for my kids. My advice would be to set a regular planning time weekly/monthly what ever is needed (I’ve attended a bat mitzvah but I have no idea what it all entails). Create a checklist of everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. Then meet regularly with those involved in planning and work through the list. When the celebration time comes there will be less stress on everyone because of the planning you have done along the way. You can’t hide from this any longer so be proactive so that you can enjoy this special day in your family. #typeaparent
    Cindy @MomMaven´s last blog post ..Keep a Healthy Home this Winter #healthierhome

  • […] Hard to believe that the last time I wrote about this process was in December 2014 when we were asked to pick a date – Planning a Bar Mitzvah […]


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