Bar Mitzvah Gifts
Traditional Jewish gifts for a bar mitzvah
The bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is a major event for a young Jewish person and it is nearly universally celebrated with a party following the actual ceremony. The candidate's friends and family gather together to celebrate this landmark event, and though it's not necessary to say so on the bar or bat mitzvah invitations, guests will understand that bat and bar mitzvah gifts are appropriate, given the significance of the occasion.
Bat and Bar Mitzvah Gift Ideas
Generally speaking, any gift that you might give a 13-year-old for his or her birthday also make appropriate bar or bat mitzvah gifts; young people are 13 years of age when they go through the ceremony. More traditional and older guests might give Jewish gifts that are related to religious customs, including books on Judaism or other educational items that emphasize the importance of Jewish culture. However, money and other material items are the most common gifts given to bar and bat mitzvah candidates.
Money is usually given in multiples of $18, as the number 18 holds a special place in Jewish culture. Savings bonds, education savings plans and other financial instruments can take the place of cash.
One thing to be aware of regarding gifts: do not bring them with you to the actual bar or bat mitzvah ceremony in the synagogue. Carrying items into the synagogue is forbidden on Shabbat according to orthodox customs, and given the solemnity and importance of the occasion, transgressions are not in good taste.
Bat and Bar Mitzvah Cards
If you are giving a gift of money, or if you just want to express special personal greetings to the celebrant, you can find bat and bar mitzvah cards through online retailers or specialty shops in Jewish neighborhoods in your area. You can also ask your rabbi for more resources as far as finding appropriate greeting cards.
One word of caution, though: read any card carefully before purchasing it. Bar mitzvahs are exclusively for boys, while bat mitzvahs are exclusively for girls. Don't make the embarrassing mistake of buying a card with the incorrect wording printed on it.