A bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah are one of the most important events in a Jewish boy or girl’s life. It symbolizes their coming of age. Choosing a gift for such an important event can be daunting. While there are many gifts out there, a bar or bat mitzvah gift needs to be a one that is fitting to the new young adult, one that commemorates a new chapter in someone’s life. So, what gift should you give?
First of all, a bar or bat mitzvah gift should be a gift connected to Judaism or the Jewish State of Israel. This is so that the mitzvah boy or girl can stay grounded in the moment of the celebration and to what it truly means. At the age of 12 for girls and 13 for boys (in some communities boys and girls both celebrate at age 13), a bar or bat mitzvah can become easily sidetracked by things such as a new toy or the latest video game. For a bar or bat mitzvah, a proper gift should be related to the celebration and all of its importance. Below are three common gifts for a bar or bat mitzvah:
Gift #1: Judaica
The first gift that you can give is a Judaica. This is Jewish ceremonial art such as a chanukiah or mezuzah. This is a fantastic gift if you know that the honoree or their family is very religious. They can showcase it in their homes, and it’s considered to be very thoughtful. But, recently a lot of people have been gifting Judaica, so you may want to choose something more special.
Gift #2: Necklace
The second gift that you can give is a necklace. This is a classic Jewish gift that brings Judaism closer to someone’s heart almost effortlessly. Any Jewish boy or girl would be proud to wear a necklace that symbolizes something meaningful in Jewish culture. One necklace pendant idea is of the Star of David, the Jewish star. Another one is of the Hamsa, which is a hand that symbolizes good luck.
Gift #3: Money
The third gift that you can give is money. This is considered to be a useful gift, as the boy or girl can save the money for use later in life. It’s become a tradition to give money in $18 increments because chai (life) in the Hebrew alphabet means 18 numerically. If you’re more modern, a gift card or simple cash at any amount is also good. While money is very useful, it is not able to grow much sitting in the bank, and it does not have much of a meaningful connection to Judaism and Israel.
Ultimate Gift: A Long-Term Investment In Israeli Stocks – Managed Professionally
The most practical way of giving money is through investing in a diversified Israeli stock portfolio focused on companies domiciled or heavily invested in the Jewish State of Israel. These can be gifted to a bar or bat mitzvah and are designed to grow over time, providing a long-term appreciating gift that they can use later in life. This supports the bar or bat mitzvah financially, as the investment will hopefully grow over time, and represents their connection to Israel, all while supporting Israel’s economy.
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A Brief Guide to Bar/Bat Mitzvah Gift Etiquette
A bar or a bat mitzvah marks one of the most significant lifecycle events in the Jewish tradition. Typically, boys are bar mitzvah at the age of 13 and girls celebrate their bat mitzvah when they are 12. A bar/bat mitzvah, which means “son/daughter of the commandment” marks a rite of passage from childhood into adulthood as well as new awareness and responsibilities.
Therefore, the mood of the occasion and the gifts that are given reflect both seriousness and joy and sincere hopes for a successful future. The following is a guide to etiquette and gift-giving for a bar/bat mitzvah to help make this day unforgettable.
What To Wear
Whether you are attending a Reform or Orthodox bar/bat mitzvah, the dress should be what you would ordinarily wear to a place of worship or the office. If you are going to an Orthodox synagogue, it is worth inquiring if there are any modesty regulations in effect. Yarmulkes may be provided for men, or you can bring one to wear if needed.
You should arrive promptly at the bar/bat mitzvah, since the person celebrating it has prepared for many months in advance, including special readings from the Torah in the synagogue and speeches. Only bring guests who have been invited to the bar/bat mitzvah. If you feel you must bring someone else along, clear it with the parents ahead of time.
Upon arriving or after the ceremony, it is traditional to congratulate the one celebrating the bar or bat mitzvah as well as their parents with the traditional greeting “mazal tov.”
Bar Mitzvah Gifts
Gifts are an integral part of a bar or bat mitzvah celebration. They should mark the importance and the happiness of the event and express fond hopes for the future. Many kids receive special electronics they especially like, but it is traditional to give at least part of the present in the form of money to be used for a trip to Israel or to save for college.
It is traditional but not necessary to give money, gift certificates, or donations to a favorite charity in multiples of 18, since 18 is the numerical equivalent to the Hebrew word chai or “life.” some Ideas of gifts may include:
- Judaica items, such as a menorah or a kiddush cup
- Gift certificates
- Money for trips or studies
- Jerusalem Portfolio
Gifting The Jerusalem Portfolio for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah
You can give the gift of investing with The Jerusalem Portfolio. This is not only a gift that will compound in value over the years but will inculcate a love of investing and create sound financial habits that will last a lifetime.
The Jerusalem Portfolio represents fractional ownership in over 100 public Israeli companies through a carefully managed portfolio of ETFs. You can start an account for as little as $180 and the recipient will receive an elegant plaque with a beautiful image of Jerusalem on it.
Find out more about how you can make any bar or bat mitzvah a truly special one with the gift of a Jerusalem Portfolio.
What Is an Appropriate Gift for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
You have been invited to a bar or bat mitzvah and are excited about the occasion. This may be your first bar or bat mitzvah or your 100th, but you may be wondering what you should give as a gift.
Along with the ceremony at the synagogue, the readings from the Torah, the speeches, the meal, and the party, gifts are an essential part of a bar or bat mitzvah. Unlike the other aspects of the celebration, gifts are a direct contribution from guests whereas the family plans the other elements. Putting care and thought into selecting the right kind of gift make the occasion memorable.
The following are some of the best gift ideas for a bar or bat mitzvah:
It isn’t uncommon for someone in middle age to still use a kiddush cup (a cup used to consecrate wine at a special meal) that they received as a bar mitzvah gift or to light a menorah that made their bat mitzvah special. Judaica is a gift that combines aesthetic beauty and the dignity of tradition and can become a family heirloom passed down through the generations.
Before purchasing Judaica as a gift, make sure that you aren’t giving a duplicate item. Check with the family if they have a Wish List for the bar or bat mitzvah.
Jewelry, like Judaica, is an object of beauty and expresses religious values or family tradition. Consider a Star of David or a Chai necklace made of gold or silver. A first pair of cufflinks is an attractive and memorable bar mitzvah gift. Jewelry is a personal gift that is designed for the individual and will ensure that your present will be remembered for years to come.
Books with handwritten dedications on the inside cover express your pride and good wishes for the bar or bat mitzvah. Although many people read books digitally, attractive, leather-bound books still make a dignified addition to a home. Books on Jewish subjects are usually appropriate for the occasion. Consider giving a whole set of books or one specific volume that has special meaning for the young person.
Money for Travels or Study
Money is a traditional bar mitzvah present. In some cases, the young person is saving up for a special purchase, but the intent of giving money in many cases is that the funds should be used for a trip to Israel or a college education.
It is traditional, but not mandatory, to give money in multiples of 18, which is the numerical equivalent of chai or life. The purpose of this tradition is to turn giving into a blessing that enhances the life and future of the bar or bat mitzvah.
The Jerusalem Portfolio
One example of giving in a way that significantly contributes to a young person’s life is to give The Jerusalem Portfolio. For a minimum gift of $180, you can provide the bar or bat mitzvah with the keys to unlocking a future of successful investing.
Teaching young people to invest provides them with skills that will create financial success and personal fulfillment. Therefore, the Jerusalem Portfolio involves more than giving a gift. It also teaches them to appreciate the art of investing.
The Jerusalem Portfolio is comprised of a fractional interest in 100 Israeli companies through a portfolio of professionally managed ETFs. The recipient will be given a plaque with a beautiful and customized image of Jerusalem. Talk to our experts today about giving the Jerusalem Portfolio as a bar or bat mitzvah gift.
How Much Money Should You Give for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
Every Jewish child looks forward to their bar or bat mitzvah. It is a time they can finally feel like they are crossing the threshold into adulthood. They also will receive some amazing presents. In addition to giving physical gifts, such as Judaica, jewelry, or books, gifts of money are traditional for a bar or bat mitzvah.
So how should you present money at a bar or bat mitzvah ceremony and how much should you give?
About Giving “Chai”
You may have heard about giving “chai” or 18 on Jewish occasions. This is a tradition in the Jewish world, but it is not a requirement. At bar or bat mitzvahs, weddings, and other occasions, people often like to give multiples of 18. The reason for this tradition is that 18 is the numerical equivalent of “chai” or “life.” The idea is that when you give money in multiples of 18, you are giving “more life” or are enhancing someone’s life and future.
It is certainly a nice idea to give multiples of chai if you are planning on giving money or a gift certificate for a bar or bat mitzvah, but it isn’t a must if you would like to give another amount. The good thing about giving chai is that it can scale up or down easily.
How to Present a Cash Gift
Obviously, cash gifts aren’t just bills in an envelope. Since the present is money rather than a physical object, the aesthetics of the envelope, certificate or plaque should compensate for the lack of visuals in the present itself.
Enclose the money in an elegant envelope, and a beautiful handwritten note on high-quality paper for a personal touch. The stationary may have a Jewish theme, like Stars of David or you could enclose a photograph of Jerusalem. Be creative and give a beautiful personalized certificate.
Some gifts of money are available with visuals that are elegant images in their own right. For instance, if you give The Jerusalem Portfolio, the bar or bat mitzvah recipient will be presented with a plaque with an elegant customized picture of Jerusalem to mark the special occasion.
How Much Money Should You Give for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
Although Judaica and book can be respectable bar or bat mitzvah presents, money towards a trip to Israel or for a college education captures the spirit of the occasion. The gift should range between three to six times chai, or $54 at minimum to around $108 or more for each adult. The amount given per child should be between two or four chai.
This means a family of two adults and two children may give between $180 and $360 or more. If a child is going to a bar or bat mitzvah on their own, giving three times chai or $54 can be sufficient.
Giving The Jerusalem Portfolio
One way your family can make a bar or bat mitzvah gift memorable is to give the Jerusalem Portfolio. Starting with a gift of $180, the Jerusalem Portfolio is a gift that will grow in value and will get a young person a head start on smart investing.
The Jerusalem Portfolio represents a fractional interest in over 100 Israeli companies through carefully managed ETFs. The recipient will learn the art of investing and gain a useful skill as well as reap the benefit of an investment in his or her future.
Talk to Jerusalem Portfolio professionals today about giving the gift of investment for a bar or bat mitzvah.