An important rite of passage in the Jewish religion, the bar mitzvah marks a young man's coming of age within the religious community. Bar mitzvahs are traditionally celebrated with a ritual that incorporates the religious ceremony and a gathering of family, friends, and community afterwards to eat, dance, and celebrate together. You may be thinking about going a different route for your soon-to-be bar mitzvah ("Son of Commandment" in Hebrew). Consider a nontraditional bar mitzvah party for a unique and personal approach to this milestone event.
Create a Community Service Opportunity
The bar mitzvah ceremony marks the transition from childhood to adulthood in the religious community. Following the ceremony, the young man is considered responsible for his actions. To mark this important turning point, gather close friends and willing family members to take part in a group community service activity instead of throwing a big party. Select a project that gives back to the community in some way, whether affiliated with your synagogue or the greater community. Good community-service day projects include collecting litter, clearing hiking trails, running a group child-minding service while parents attend services, volunteering at a Special Olympics event, or designing and creating crafts or pottery to sell to the community, with proceeds to be donated to charity.
Destination Bar Mitzvah
Organizations such as Adventure Rabbi (adventurerabbi.org) work with parents and relatives to plan a destination bar mitzvah celebration in Boulder, Denver, or Summit County, Colorado. Destination bar mitzvahs, despite the airfare, lodging, and meal costs, can often cost less than a traditional bar mitzvah with its lengthy guest lists and expensive centerpieces, DJs, and catering. A destination bar mitzvah will include an outdoor ceremony, letting the young person get in touch with nature while enjoying valuable time with family and friends. Destination bar mitzvahs let you emphasize the spiritual journey aspect of the bar mitzvah ritual instead of the material rewards that accompany traditional large-scale parties.
Provide an Educational Opportunity
Plan an excursion to a natural history, science, or fine art museum in honor of the bar mitzvah. The excursion can follow the religious ceremony and help cut down on the traditional entertaining costs usually associated with bar mitzvah parties. Bringing the guest of honor and his friends and family to enjoy a new learning experience will emphasize the value of self-directed learning and discipline, both important lessons for young men as they continue to mature.
Other Outdoor Bar Mitzvah Parties
Depending on the season, it can be a great idea to treat your bar mitzvah guests to an outing to an ice skating rink or a theme park. Giving everyone an activity to focus on will prevent the awkward obligation to mingle with people you may not know very well, and all will be able to enjoy themselves at their own pace. At amusement parks, guests who love roller coasters will be excited at the opportunity to try new ones out, while others not so keen can find contentment on a Ferris wheel or walking around on a sunny day. Outdoor bar mitzvah celebrations also require less supervision than parties in rented halls, where behavioral standards might be stringent in order to guarantee you get your security deposit refunded.
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