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What to give as a Bar Mitzvah gift?

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A Bar Mitzvah is an important event in the life of a Jew. The celebration takes place when a boy is 13 years old and highlights the importance of the coming of age. Apart from the symbolic entering into adulthood and the embracing of responsibilities, this day is also a commemoration of the efforts made by the respective child to reach this stage in life and build himself as a future member of the society.

Being invited to a Bar mitzvah is an honor. However, finding the most appropriate gift for this occasion is a challenge.

A Bar Mitzvah gift should be both practical and retain the main role it was attributed in the first place– that of a gift. Thus, there are several possibilities on what to offer as a Bar Mitzvah gift: to give money, Judaica objects, pieces of jewelry, or even do-it-yourself gifts.

It is customary to offer money on Jewish celebrations. Usually, people offer sums in multiples of 18, which is an important number in Judaism, a number symbolizing life and good luck. By offering money one can also introduce the child-entering-into-adulthood to new responsibilities and teach him the value of money. It is common for young men to start saving at an early age, so the money received for Bar Mitzvah could end being placed in a college fund or a savings account.

Secondly, by offering Judaica gifts one is, once more, introduced in the wonderful culture he belongs to. Judaica gifts include: beautifully decorated Tzedakah boxes, which could be painted with images of Jewish symbols, candle holders, Shabbat candlesticks, differently-shaped menorahs, a mezuzah, Torah scrolls which should be kept in a special place in one’s home, particularly embroidered tefillin, silver yad, shofar, etc. These Judaica gifts will constantly remember the young adult his spiritual and historical roots and are likely to become objects which will be carefully treasured and passed on to future generations.

As far as pieces of jewelry are concerned, normally they would be offered to girls on their Bat Mitzvah. However, boys can also receive pieces of jewelry, especially if they are heirlooms. Jewelry can consist of pendants with various Jewish symbols: the Star of David, the Hamsa Hand, The Tree of Life, etc. In addition to this, a young adult could receive key chain pendants with these symbols, to carry them around and always be reminded of the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Also, these emblems could be placed on a nice pair of silver or golden cufflinks, which would constitute a wonderful gift on the occasion.

The fourth option when it comes to Bar Mitzvah gifts is that of offering a do-it-yourself present. Such a gift could be a handmade Tzedakah box, a Star of David pendant or keychain, made out of metal or wood or any kind of material, a scrapbook containing memories of the early life of the young adult, a handmade album containing the most important extracts of the Torah, the Talmud, the Kabbalah, etc.

As it can be easily observed, there are numerous gifts which could be offered on the occasion of a Bar-Mitzvah. What is more important to be kept in mind is the fact that a Bar Mitzvah gift has to be a special one, introducing the celebrated one to his new life.

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