You’ve received a beautiful invitation in the mail and sent back your RSVP card. Now it’s time to figure out the perfect gift for the young man or woman who has invited you to this bar/bat mitzvah. Becoming bar or bat mitzvah is an important milestone in a young person’s life and being invited to celebrate with them is certainly an honor. Gifts are a way to congratulate them for the hard work they have done to get to this day and to commemorate their symbolic entrance into adulthood.
Choosing the right gift can be a difficult task. You want to give something thoughtful and that the recipient will enjoy. Gifts that match the recipient’s interests are always appreciated, such as a book of sheet music for the musical theatre lover or a nice baseball mitt for the sports enthusiast. Asking the parents about what their son or daughter would appreciate is also a great tactic. Many guests prefer to give a gift with symbolism or meaning. After all, you only become bar/bat mitzvah once!
Giving money is an easy way to assure that the recipient will enjoy the present, and if you are tight on time, it could be the best bet for you, too. Many young men and women apply the checks they receive to college funds or towards a more expensive item they’ve been wanting. There is some debate about the appropriate amount of money to give to a 12 or 13-year-old. Traditionally, checks are written out in $18 increments. The Hebrew letters for the word “life” (chai) are numerically equivalent to the number 18, and therefore this number holds great significance in Jewish tradition. But don’t worry – you don’t need to give in $18 increments! If $50 in cash sounds good to you, go for it. If cash or a check is not your cup of tea, a gift card to Amazon.com, iTunes, or Barnes and Noble would also be welcome.
If you prefer to purchase a gift that you can wrap, a beautiful Judaica item is an excellent choice. This type of present can stay with the recipient throughout their life – you never outgrow a set of Sabbath candlesticks or a Hannukah menorah.