How Gross Are Bar/Bat Mitzvah Parties?

Um, very. A recent bat mitzvah party in Stamford Connecticut had to be cleared out by the police because 14-year-olds had ripped out ceiling tiles and a light fixture from a historic mansion. Also, apparently some pre-teens were having quite a bit of fun, of the, um, oral variety. Yeah. Or so says the Stamford CT Advocate, anyway.

I was actually at a bat mitzvah party this past Saturday night, and while it never got to the level of the CT party, it was certainly both lavish and rowdy. I sat at a table of my cousins, and we had a pretty great time (full disclosure: there was an open bar) but that was mainly because there was no one there we needed to impress, so we could dance like fools, laugh at the neon party favors, and take many a ridiculous picture (Bubbe dancing and holding a bottle of beer? Check!) without worrying about looking lame. The teens and tweens who were present, however, did not have that luxury. And neither did the DJs who were awesome, but seemed rather incongruous to me, and who at one point actually had the kids bow down to my cousin.

Maybe I’m getting old, but the whole bat mitzvah party concept kind of skeeves me out. Give me a service project and a quiet evening with no obligations and I’m way more enthused than when someone’s trying to force me to dance to Who Let the Dogs Out.

If you’re also uncomfortable with the way Bnei mitzvah parties have been going, check out some other options in our guide to making a bar or bat mitzvah meaningful.

Discover More

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Issues for Interfaith Families

Interfaith families should ask the rabbi about synagogue policies and honestly examine both parents' attachments to Judaism.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah 101

An overview of this Jewish rite of passage for 12- and 13-year-olds.

Alternative Bar and Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies

How to have a meaningful ceremony even if you don't belong to a synagogue.