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Jewish Life Cycles

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Bar Mitzvah

Bar Mitzvah

Bar MitzvahWhen A Jewish boy turns 13, it is more than just another birthday. The boy attains his religious maturity and becomes responsible to accept the spiritual side of Judaism and fulfill all 613 Torah mitzvoth – commandments. One of the many new responsibilities for a boy, beginning from his Bar-Mitzvah day and onward is to wrap Tefillin every day of the week besides Shabbat and certain holidays. Under Jewish law, children are not required to observe the commandments, though they are certainly encouraged and taught to do so. But upon turning 13, a boy is considered an adult under the law and is expected to obey all the commandments from then on. He has become a Bar Mitzvah, or ''Son of the Commandments. At 13 a Boy becomes Bar Mitzvah automatically on one's thirteenth birthday, with or without a party! Of course this occasion is a cause for great celebration and gratitude to G-d, and hence we celebrate after the Bar Mitzvah ritual in the synagogue. Indeed one becomes Bar Mitzvah automatically on one's thirteenth birthday, with or without a party! At the Bar Mitzvah Shabbat the boy is invited up to read aloud a portion of the Torah reflecting his new status as adult participant in the prayers. Traditionally, the boy also chants the Haftarah on the Shabbat after he becomes Bar Mitzvah. This is a day to bestow the boy with meaningful gifts that will accompany him throughout his future life.

Bar Mitzvah Celebration

Bar Mitzvah CelebrationThe celebrations of a Bar Mitzvah begin in earnest on the morning of a boy’s thirteenth Hebrew birthday, when the bar Mitzvah boy puts on Tefillin for the first time. Than on the Shabbat following his 13th birthday, the Bar Mitzvah boy who just becomes a young man is called up to the Torah when the weekly Portion is recited. Starting on Rosh Hashanah, each Shabbat the Torah is read publicly. To enable a cycle of the whole Torah in one year the Torah is divided into 54 portions with one portion read each week in synagogue. The weekly portion is than divided into seven sub sections and read at the Shabbat morning ceremony, each by one male adult that is called up and honored to do the blessing before and after the reading of each section and sometimes even reading the Torah text himself. The blessing over the Torah is called Aliyah, ascent, or in Yiddish auf ruf. The Bar Mitzvah boy is called up for the first time to recite the blessings before and after the Torah reading as a symbol to show that the boy acqured his responsibilities in Jewish life. It is traditional for the Bar Mitzvah boy to read the final portion, called the maftir yet some children may request to read more, up to and including the entire Torah portion. After the reading theTorah is completed it is customary that the child chants the Haftarah, the weekly prophetic portion, that is thematically associated with the Torah portion read during the specific Shabbat. Sometimes the boy may may even lead one or more parts of the service. Than, when the Torah reading by the Bar Mitzvah boy and the Bar Mitzvah boy’s work is done, there is a custom for the women to throw sweets at him in congratulation and thus to shower him with sweet things. The younger crowd in synagogue awaits this part of the celebration and sit more quite in their expectation. After the ceremony is finished a Kiddush luncheon in honor of the Bar Mitzvah boy and the guests are served in synagogue with light refreshments as gefilte fish, salads, and cakes. Families celebrating Bar Mitzvahs will often sponsor and host a much more extravagant Kiddush. The Sabbath Kiddush is a traditional opportunity to mark joyous events and life cycle events within the community. The reciting of the blessing over wine and bread at the start of the Kiddush can be conducted by the Rabbi, The Bar Mitzvah boy, or his parents same as with Birkat Hamazon, grace after meals. To see some Kiddush serving ideas please go to the link.

see Kiddush ideas

Bar Mitzvah Gifts

Bar Mitzvah GiftsEvery time you are invited for a Bar Mitzvah you find yourself asking: Should one give gifts for a Bar Mitzvah? If your answer is yes what kind of gift is appropriate for a Bar Mitzvah kid? So now you find yourself looking for Bar Mitzvah Gift ideas. Gans provides a large collection of meaningful Bar Mitzvah gifts from Israel that will enchant every Bar Mitzvah boy. We at Gans have a great variety of gifts and recommend bringing a Judaic Bar Mitzvah gift such as Kiddush cup, Torah pointed, Grogger, Chanukah Menorah, or Tallit bag. Another beautiful Bar Mitzvah gift idea is giving the boy his special portion Facsimile from a Torah scroll that was rescued from the holocaust. To see a torah Portion please click the link. A Bar Mitzvah plaque with all the details of The Bar Mitzvah ceremony like: name, date, Torah Portion, and Synagogue is a perfect gift that will make the Bar Mitzvah boy remember this happy day. An Ancient map replica of Israel will make him curious and maybe be a start of a collection later in life. The Tefilin Micro Calligraphy art print or other ideas connected to the Bar Mitzvah boy Name will make him know you thought about him. If you are looking for a gift and are still undecided please drop us a note with the details like the name, the Torah Portion, and your budget through the contact us link and we will give you some more specific ideas. All the Bar Mitzvah Gifts from Gans are by Israeli artist and come to you from Israel And last but not least how about giving the Bar Mitzvah celebrant a gift Certificate from Gans Jerusalem that will enable him to choose something he likes from our vast collection. Please remember: Bar Mitzvah Gifts should not be brought to the synagogue service. It is best to give the gift at the party or deliver it to the child's home.

see torah portion

Bar Mitzvah gift registry

Bar Mitzvah gift registryEvery Bar Mitzvah boy would love to get gifts on his happy event and all want to give him the perfect gift. This is made so easy with the Bar Mitzvah gift registry at Gans! Even though the people who love you want to get you a really great gift for your Bar Mitzvah they most probably have absolutely no clue as to what you want. Instead of dropping not so subtle hints as to the gifts the Bar Mitzvah boy likes to get create a Bar Mitzvah Gift registry and do them a favor, by creating a gift registry. The Bar Mitzvah gift registry provides an easy way for friends and family to share and shower the Bar Mitzvah boy with gifts on this important lifecycle event. The Bar Mitzvah gift registry allows every one to choose the item that fits the budget set and be sure this is something really wanted. By creating an online Bar Mitzvah gift registry at Gans Jerusalem gifts & Judaica you make sure the Bar Mitzvah celebrant gets exactly what he wishes for. Whenever a gift will be purchased the bar mitzvah boy will be notified and a note will be placed that this gift was already purchased so no gift will be bought more than once and the hassle of exchange will be eliminated. From a door sign for the boy‘s room to a beautiful Tallit, from memo pads for the desk to the actual torah portion as well as Torah pointers, Tzdakah boxes and Menorahs, everything can be found in the extensive Bar Mitzvah gift registry that you can create on line by clicking the link and than on the add your own registry on top of the registries page. And a word of advise: Include a link to the Bar Mitzvah gift registry on your invitation and personal website, if you have one, making it easy for guests to purchase gifts. Everyone will love how convenient you have made the gift-giving process for them!

see gift registries

Bar Mitzvah Planer

Bar Mitzvah PlanerPlanning the Bar Mitzvah celebration is very important and can be much easier when you plan well in advance. Of course you want the Bar Mitzvah Simcha become a memorable and meaningful event that the Bar Mitzvah boy, you, and your family will remember for a lifetime. Remember that good organization in advance is the key to your memorable Bar mitzvah celebration and planning well in advance will prevent mistakes, and save money. Prepare a checklist of everything you need to do with dates so nothing will be forgotten. To help you with your planning we set this Bar Mitzvah planning guide for your convenience. First you have to set the date and Torah Portion. You will find many websites giving you the Hebrew dates or consider conferring with your Rabbi to find out the accurate Bar Mitzvah date. Once you set the date check the availability at your synagogue and save and book the date and speak to the Rabbi there to prepare and tutor the celebrant to be. This should be done at least a year in advance. Now is the time to consider having a Kiddush at the synagogue and what other celebration you'd like to have. If you have friends and family from out of town and or in your neighborhood it will be nice to invite them to a Friday Evening Shabbat Dinner before the big event and a Sunday brunch after. Do you have guests who will come from far away that you will have to host for the Bar Mitzvah Shabbat? Where will they stay? Arrange out-of-town guest accommodations. Will you need other facilities than just your home? Will they stay at your home, at neighbors, a hotel nearby? Apart from the Aliyah in synagogue you will most probably like to have a separate celebration for the friends of the Bar Mitzvah boy. Decide on the theme and style of the Simcha event. Confer with the boy to make sure you know what his expectations of this happy event are and choose one that will suit him, your lifestyle, and budget. Remember that the size of the event is not important. The goal is to make it a memorable and meaningful event that the Bar Mitzvah boy will remember for a lifetime. Check with your synagogue a rehearsal time. Many temples allow you to video this event in lieu of the actual service. Select the Bar Mitzvah Party Theme. There are many Bar Mitzvah theme party ideas. To chose a Bar Mitzvah Party you have to decide if you like the theme be connected to his name – Noah, Arieh, Dov etc, be connected to date and time of the year like Chanukah, Purim or summer, or a more general theme like a book, a movie, or a place. A beautiful idea is to include a community service, Tzedaka project, into the Bar Mitzvah celebration. This will add meaning to the memorable event. Now is the time to consider the costs of decorations, DJ, and catering. Most of these costs can be kept minimal if you turn it in to a ''Project'' and let the kids share in the preparations. This will add lots of fun to the planning and start the joy a long time in advance. Of course the easy way out is to decide that you want to use a party planner who will coordinate all of the service providers for you. Develop a guest list with current addresses and E-mails. After you chose a scheme for the event its time to decide on the decoration theme and include this theme on the invitations, place setting and other party decorations. Think and prepare party games and activities Prepare invitations with direction cards. Always order more invitations than you think you are going to need as reprints of additional small quantities at the last moment will be costly. To know exactly how many guests will attend please request for confirmation of the attendance. Check as who will take pictures or video at the celebration. is somebody in the family willing and good enough or do you need to hire a photographer As time of the event approaches, about 2-3 month in advance, you will have to finalize all party selections such as menu, centerpieces, and decorations. Show your guests that you appreciate their attendance by Choosing party favors for them. It will be nice if these will be theme and color related and will be given to the younger guests at the end of the Bar Mitzvah celebration. We at Gans Jerusalem will do our utmost to assist you in giving your celebration and favors the personal touch that will make them memorable. Many of your guests would like to know what gifts the Bar Mitzvah boy would like to get. The best and easiest way will be setting a gift registry like we at Gans Jerusalem carry and add a mention with a link on your invitations. This will enable the boy to get what he likes and avoid multiple same-gifts that he will have to exchange. About the same time send out the invitations: adding a number on the back of the response cards to correspond to your guest list will ensure accuracy. If the event will be around set tables finalize the seating plan after getting the replies. Now is the time to decide on the small but so important details as making appointments for hair stylists, barbers, and manicurists as needed for you and maybe for your guests too. A day in advance prepare hospitality baskets for your guests from outside town and Include a schedule of events and detailed directions with a small map for their convenience. After the event prepare show your gratitude to the hosts who let your guests stay with them. A small thank you chocolate box or fruit basket or some small item for their home will be appropriate. Last but not least prepare thank you notes that the Bar Mitzvah boy will send out after the event. Mazal Tov

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