Bar Mitzvah Etiquette

What is Bar Mitzvah? Going to your first bar mitzvah? Bar Mitzvah etiquette includes information on the bar mitzvah gift and dress code.

What is Bar Mitzvah?

bar mitzvah etiquette, Palos Verdes Bar Mitzvah Photography

The Bar Mitzvah is comparable to the Christian confirmation. It occurs when a jewish boy turns thirteen.

Bar Mitzvah means "son of the commandment".

It takes place on the first Saturday, the Sabbath after the boy turns thirteen.

Prior to the ceremony, the boy goes through a period of religions instruction so he is prepared.

Depending on the congregation, sometimes boys and girls are both confirmed in a confirmation ceremony at ages older than 13.

A Jewish boy's Bar Mitzvah celebrates his acceptance as an adult member of his congregation.

Bar Mitzvah Etiquette: Ceremony and Celebration

 bar mitzvah etiquette, Ben's Bar Mitzvah

The Bar Mitzvah is a deeply religious occasion though it is also an occasion to call for a social celebration.

It is one of the most important events of a Jewish boy's life.

Families often celebrate it as much as they can.

After the religious ceremony on Saturday morning, a little 'reception' is held in the social function rooms of the synagogue, where member of the congregation may gather and those invited to attend may go to offer their congratulations.

The main event is the main reception that follows later in the day where some sort of a party will be held, either a lunch or dinner party or a formal reception.

Formal invitations usually would be sent out to close friends and family for the formal party.

This party or reception is like any other. They may be sit down or buffet style, held at a club or at home or at a restaurant. Sometimes there is dancing too.

Bar Mitzvah Invitation

The Bar Mitzvah etiquette for the invitation is similar to other events.

How formal the invitations are going to be depends on the how formal the reception or party is.

You may also wish to issue invitations to the ceremony at the synagogue, making clear the details of both events.

Bar Mitzvah Invitation Wording

The Bar Mitzvah etiquette for invitation wording can be based on the following template.

Mr and Mrs Kristen and Sandy Cohen

joyfully invite you

to worship with them

at the Bar Mitzvah of their son

Seth Cohen

Saturday, the twelve of March

at 10 am


and to celebrate with them

at the reception immediately following

Address of club

See elegant invitations for ideas.

Bar Mitzvah Dress Code

Guests wear the clothes they would wear to church or other religious service. It is best to be on the formal side, whenever attending such events.

If the celebration is in the morning and the reception is in the evening, it is advisable to change into evening clothes for the party.

If the dress code on the invite says, formal or black tie, then guests should adhere to the guest code. If there is no dress code, women wear cocktail dresses or long skirts and men wear dark suits.

Bar Mitzvah Gift Etiquette

Everyone invited to a Bar Mitzvah is expected to bring a gift.

Likewise, the boy should send Thank you notes after.

What kind of Bar Mitzvah Gifts?


Judaic gifts like a kiddush cup, tallis or tefillin are usually given by the parents, grandparents or relatives and close friends of the family.

Money as a Bar Mitzvah gift is often given in multiples of 18, which represents both blessings and the Jewish symbol of Chai, which means "life."

Other Bar Mitzvah gift ideas are the same as birthday gift ideas such as cameras, DVDs, ipods etc.

You can also ask the parents for ideas, whom I'm sure is happy to help.

See also gift etiquette.

Bat Mitzvah

Similarly to the Bar Mitzvah, the Bat Mitzvah is for girls.

Throwing a Bar Mitzvah?

An indispensable, modern-day guide to planning the perfect bar or bat mitzvah, celebrating substance and style

There used to be only two approaches to the bar or bat mitzvah party -- a low-key event that reflects the solemnity of this sacred rite of passage or a big bash that has no connection to the religious service. For many, it was an impossible dilemma. Will a big bash trivialize and overshadow the bar or bat mitzvah experience? Will too much spirituality suck the life out of an otherwise fabulous party?

This must-have guide gives advice on the major decisions, the basics of the service, and the party details that really matter. It also features:

  • A complete guide to the Torah, including dates and summaries of the portions and supplementary materials

  • Eight complete, themed parties, including party favors, decorations, and photographs of sample tables

  • A time line to help plan the bar or bat mitzvah up to two years ahead

  • Instructions for being MitzvahChic on a budget

  • Advice on how to include non-Jewish friends and family members in the ceremony

Thank you for reading 'Bar Mitzvah Etiquette'!

Go back to Etiquette.

Return from Bar Mitzvah Etiquette to Elegant Woman Home

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