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Rituals & Customs:


Personalize Your Service •••

FASHION TRENDS for the Whole Family •••

MITZVAH PROJECTS: Great Ideas to Give Back

WAYS TO CREATE An Unforgettable Simcha


Your Mitzvah CHECKLIST, Budget Worksheet and TIMELINE

Photos by Salzman & Ashley Studios

Mazel Tov!

You are at the beginning of a wonderful journey. Planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah should be filled with happiness and pride. Whether you’re a planner and have started this process two years in advance or a last-minute person and are three months away, you are sure to find articles that will help you from day one to the day of your celebration. From having your ceremony in Israel to finding vendors for your party, we cover it all. One of our favorite articles is entitled, “Classic or Cutting Edge”—we feature party ideas that are traditional (think foam-core sign-in board) and ones that are hi-tech (like an interactive electronic sign-in.) To help you to get organized, we provide a timeline, a checklist—and even a budgeting worksheet in the back of the issue. We now have a great web-based tool too. Go to, to find out more about our comprehensive software to make your life easier when planning your event. The product was developed after years of research in terms of what parents need during this process. It includes features to keep track of guests, RSVPs, table arrangements, and expenses (it tabulates them for you as you enter them). We hope this magazine gives you plenty of ideas for your ceremony and celebration. Our corresponding website, includes even more stories and advice. It’s updated weekly and you can sign up for our free email newsletters filled with unique entertaining ideas and ways to make your celebration meaningful. Please also join us for one of our FREE Celebrate! Party Showcases and Mitzvah Project Fairs - Bring the kids for an all-day event where you can meet face-to-face with Bar and Bat Mitzvah experts, get money saving offers and meet with a variety of organizations who offer meaningful Mitzvah projects. Sheri Lapidus Publisher

YOU’RE INVITED... Join the Conversation Bar Bat Mitzvah Facebook Groups Ask questions, share ideas and get advice from other families who are also in the planning process. New Jersey: Type in FB: “New Jersey Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning” Westchester/Rockland/Fairfield: Type in FB: “Westchester-Rockland-Fairfield Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Group” New York City: Type in FB: “New York City Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Group” Long Isand: Type in FB: Long Island Bar and Bat Mitzvah Planning

Share These Groups With Your Bar Bat Mitzvah Planning Friends!


Mıtzvah Market YOUR SOURCE FOR IDEAS AND INSPIRATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Sheri Lapidus EDITOR Lisa Siglag CONTRIBUTORS Carrie Berk Bari Cener Kim Dramer Julie Gerstenblatt Mindy Grill Brynne Magaziner Cara J. Moroze Marla J. Wasserman ART DIRECTOR Samantha Horning

ADVERTISING SALES Paula Cohen Galit Greenspan Alison Luba Carolyn Schrier Lorie Ullman DIRECTOR OF EVENTS Rebecca Stolcz TRAFFIC MANAGERS Alexis Brower Heather Gambaro MARKETING Jacqueline Majers Lachman, Managing Director Jaime Graham, Marketing Manager

DIRECTOR OF DISTRIBUTION Ray Winn FINANCE David Friedman, Controller CREDIT Elizabeth Teagarden, Manager Rosa Meinhofer Diedra Smith OPERATIONS Ray Guedez Leonard Porter Christopher Regalado ADMINISTRATIVE Barbara Byrd Erin Jordan

Published by Davler Media Group LLC 498 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018 P: 646.652.7512 F: 212.271.2239 Davler Media Group produces Celebrate! Party Showcase. To exhibit, 646.652.7512 Davler Media Group also publishes Westchester Parent, Rockland Parent, Fairfield Parent, BigApple Parent, Brooklyn Parent, Queens Parent, Long Island Parent

Chief Executive Officer • David L. Miller General Manager • Thomas K. Hanlon © NO PORTION OF THIS MAGAZINE, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ARTICLES, LISTINGS, MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISION OF THE PUBLISHER. Copyright: 2016 by Davler Media Group LLC. 212.315.0800. For circulation inquiries, call Ray Winn, 917.338.2210.

All rights reserved. For Advertising Information, call Sheri Lapidus, 646.652.7512. For a Free Copy, Email: Your Source for Ideas and Inspiration





H&H Photographers


Julie Markes Photography

10 Branding & Beyond!

How to Put Your Teen’s Personal Stamp on His or Her Celebration

16 The Ultimate Venue: A Guide to Having your Bar or Bat Mitzvah

in Israel

26 Mitzvah Service:

What Traditions Suit Your Family

30 Gone Fishing: An Innovative Mitzvah Project –

COVER PHOTO CREDIT: Gleb Kuznetsov for Todd Shapera Photography

Gabbie and Charlie Goldberg

32 36 38 40 46 50 70

The Art of Giving Mitzvah Project – Melissa Nadler Mitzvah Family Spotlight: Carrie Berk Mitzvah Family Spotlight: David Phillips Classic vs. Cutting Edge: What’s Your Style? Mitzvah Fashion: All in the Family Invite Success: Everything You Need to Know about Invitations! Top 15 Questions to Ask Your DJ



Venue: SPACE

Timeline: Planning Your Event Month by Month Checklist: Getting Ready for the Service Mitzvahnomics: Keeping Track of Your Costs Resource Directory

Photo courtesy of Met Life Stadium



By Brynne Magaziner

How to put your teen’s personal stamp on his or her celebration Matt loves football, but his family felt like they couldn’t go to yet another football-themed Bar Mitzvah party. So they dug deeper. Working with their planner, Melisa Imberman, President and Owner of The Event of A Lifetime, they thought through how to show Matt’s love of football in a personal, unique way. Since Matt’s family members are huge New York Giants fans and have been season-ticket holders for years they decided to create the ultimate Giants tailgating party complete with custom jerseys with logos merging Matt’s name and initials with the Giants logo and Metlife Stadium logo. The celebration featured concession stand-type food and tailgating games like cornhole. From start to finish Matt’s guests truly felt like they were attending a tailgating party and Giants game. Guests left saying “What a great party! That was so Matt!” What was it that made this event feel so much like this Bar Mitzvah boy? Branding. What is branding?

Branding is creating a completely immersive event experience for your guests. It sets the tone for the type of celebration your guests should expect and starts the moment your guests receive a save the date or invitation until they step into their car once the event ends. Good branding for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah happens when everything looks and feels like it fits together and it represents both the guest of honor and his or her family. Branding is important. According to Melisa Imberman, “When kids and families are going to Bar or Bat Mitzvahs


every weekend, they all start to blend together. An event that is branded well reflects the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child and is so much more memorable. I like to have different elements that reflect the brand happening throughout the night, so it keeps guests on their toes. The element of surprise is just so fun.” How do I get started creating a brand for my child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Branding is something that should be done relatively early, so it can touch on all of the visual aspects of your event. Amy Rubel, owner and president of Rubel Event Management, LLC advises to start working on a theme about 9 to 12

months before your celebration, “Kids change so much at this age, so what they say at 11 may not be the same as 13.” This is a great place to involve your child and he or she is sure to have opinions! First, with your child, brainstorm words that reflect both him or her and the type of event you want to have. When thinking through the type of event, you’re looking for descriptive words like: modern, colorful, sporty, fun, traditional, elegant, sophisticated, casual, or bold. Think about the things your child is known for, his or her personality and style. Once you have a list, narrow it down to the top three words. From there, think through if there are themes, motifs or colors you’d like to focus on. Or consider using your Mitzvah Project as a theme, advises Amy Rubin. “I have a client now whose son does not have a real theme, but he has a huge passion for books so we are literally incorporating books into the decor starting at the Shabbat dinner and working our way through the Saturday night party. The table names are his favorite book titles.”

To see more photos from this story, visit

It’s important to note that you can even brand your event without a theme; you’ll simply need to have more emphasis on color and style. Remember, the goal is for people to walk away saying that really represented what that child is all about. How to create a logo for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Your next step is to create a logo or tagline. This is a design that ties together the event theme (if there is one), colors and the child’s name and/or the celebration date. “A logo must be simple, memorable, versatile, and appropriate,” advises Stephanie Steinberg of Party Logo Design.  She adds, “a logo must be memorable and eye catching so that it generates that ‘wow factor’ that guests love. It makes for an event that everyone will be talking about long after the party is over.” Lauren Hoffman, owner and designer at Lauren’s Logo says designing a logo, “is really a collaborative effort between the parent and child. We brainstorm about what rhymes with the child’s name, what his or her hobbies are, and his or her favorite colors.” It’s important to discuss any party components that you’ve done up to that point such as invitations, then let your designer use their creativity to come up with something incredible for you. You may even want to use your child’s initials as a guide for the word. For example, Ben Nelson Eber could have a tagline Best, Night, Ever. Once you have


your vision for the party’s brand and logo in hand, you can get started using them in all aspects of your event.

in mind that your child can have a change of heart about their logo, so be careful how early you make the reveal.

Stephanie Steinberg shares some practical advice too: “A logo must be versatile so that it can be used in a variety of ways. It should look great if you blow it up for a wall or floor decal or if it is tiny for a personalized stamp or return address label. It should also show up well on t-shirts and other giveaways.” You will want it to be in a high resolution format, so that it will show well when it’s blown up to a large size. Ask your designer to give you multiple formats (e.g. jpeg, png, tif, gif, pdf etc). You will need many formats depending on how you will use it. Different venues will ask for various formats, for the video montage, cake, t-shirts etc. 

The decor

The invitation

Some families choose to incorporate the logo in the invitation, but others choose to make the big reveal at the party itself. Since your invitation is setting the tone for the celebration (and will be on fridges or bulletin boards for months!), you’ll want it to reflect your Bar or Bat Mitzvah’s brand in some way. You could go subtle--just using the colors and fonts that you’ll display at your event, or bold--including the event’s logo, theme or tagline. You could choose to include the logo or something that represents the logo on a custom stamp or sticker sealing the envelope. This is your family’s choice depending on how formal you’d like your invitations to be. Keep

Now that you’ve hinted at your event’s brand in your invitation, the decor is your opportunity to create the branded event experience for your guests. How will your brand be reflected in the larger, high impact areas--bars and cocktail space, dance floor and DJ booth, lounge area and guest tables? Decide which items will give you the most bang for your buck--this can include decals for bars or the dance floor, lighting like gobos (logos or designs projected on walls or the dance floor), the style of furniture and linens, the floor plan of the space, centerpieces, and games or novelties offered. For instance, in Matt’s Giants tailgating party, the kids’ lounge area had couches and tailgating chairs in the event’s colors, custom pillows with the event’s logos, area rugs that looked like grass and logoed pop up tents. All of those components created the feel of tailgating for Matt’s friends. Eat it up!

Think about how you can incorporate your brand into your food and beverages. Add signage for the food stations to reinforce the theme or serve food that makes sense for the theme. For example, at Matt’s tailgating Bar Mitzvah all guests were treated to cocktail-hour concession stations with hot dogs, soft pretzels and popcorn. You can also use color to continue

Photos courtesy of (clockwise) A Promos USA/The ImageMaker, Party Logo Design, Rubel Event Management and Extraordinary Productions.

the branding by serving signature drinks in the event’s color scheme or having a color coordinated candy buffet. Consider using the logo or tagline on your cake—either with icing or a custom chocolate disc. Put a toothpick with logoed flag in cupcakes or passed hors d’oeuvres. Don’t forget the details

Once those larger areas are taken care of, think through ways to include your logo in smaller details like cocktail napkins, menu cards, escort cards, stickers, sign-in boards or books. Are there screens where you can project the logo? Can it be included in a montage or candle lighting ceremony? Consider everything that your guests will see or touch during the event and if there is an opportunity for it to reflect your brand or include your logo. Favors and giveaways

Favors and giveaways are an easy way to tie in a logo or theme. Some brands easily lend themselves to items like towels, water bottles or certain types of clothing. A logo or

tagline can be printed on almost anything you can image from socks to stadium chairs. Branded dance floor giveaways like sunglasses or t-shirts keep all of your guests on brand while they’re on the dance floor. They look great in photos too! Finally exit snacks can be a nice surprise—think about putting your logo on water bottles or printing logoed stickers for snack bags or boxes to give out at the end of the night. Throughout your planning, remember this is your opportunity to put your child’s personal stamp on the party to make it their own. Your branded Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration will be memorable and stand out from the crowd! •

Brynne Magaziner is the owner and Chief Magic Maker of Pop Color Events, a boutique event planning firm specializing in Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah event planning in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Visit for more information. MITZVAHMARKET.COM 13




An important rite of passage deserves a lifechanging trip. The Jewish homeland is the ultimate venue for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. You can arrange for your child’s spiritual journey to be combined with a trip to Israel. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel offers the chance to forge spiritual links with the Land of Milk and Honey, a term that refers to the Torah being spiritually as sweet as honey and as nourishing as milk. Travel to Israel provides an unbreakable link with Jewish heritage for your child. Here’s a comprehensive guide to arranging this religious milestone with a trip to Israel. FIRST STEPS: WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN? A celebration in the Jewish homeland offers wonderful options for your special celebration. No other venue offers you so many choices for celebration. Tour operators, Jewish organizations, Federations, synagogues and specialty travel sponsors can ar-

range tours to your specifications. Abundant information on the web makes the job easier for DIYers. Your first decision is to decide just who will make the trip along with the celebrant. Some families choose the warmth and familiarity of the nuclear family to support their child. The trip can be especially meaningful for younger siblings who will be celebrating their own coming-of-age in the future. Other families opt for multigenerational celebrations involving the child, the parents and grandparents. They feel this choice adds a special dimension to the simcha of the ceremony. Families have found this choice to be especially meaningful when European grandparents who survived the Shoah join their American grandchildren in Israel.

A Complete Guide to Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel By Kim Dramer MITZVAHMARKET.COM 17

Some families make the trip to Israel in addition to their child’s service and/or party stateside. Others opt to have the entire celebration is Israel, offering their child the chance to read a Torah portion there. You might also choose to host a small celebration at your own home in anticipation of your upcoming trip to Israel. Or, you might enjoy organizing a Welcome Home party during which a Slide Show presentation would allow your child to share the trip and celebration in Israel with friends and family.

gave birth to sons within three weeks of one another. The new mothers made a vow to have the service of their Bar Mitzvahs of the cousins together in Israel. Thirteen years later, the two sisters worked with Lital Ganini from Mabat (www.mabat. com) to organize the joint ceremony for their sons. Cousins Eric Goldberg and Jonathan Mosberg traveled to Israel along with 19 family members from America for their special day. In Israel, they were joined by 70 more family members, as they celebrated their combined Bar Mitzvahs. The nearly one hundred family members of the two boys enjoyed a week of tourism and family outings in Israel that culminated in their Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Explains Sagit: “Lital from Mabat made arrangements for a luxury bus. We planned the itinerary with her help. Then, Lital found a fabulous tour guide in Israel who put the plan into action. It was 6 stars all the way.”

Photo by Sagit Goldberg

During the planning stages in America, the sisters found a rabbi through Chabad who prepared the two boys for their ceremony in Israel. The two cousins had a ceremony on Thursday and another on Shabbat.

Eric Goldberg is surrounded by his family as he reads from the Torah.

Many children prefer to “go solo” and be in the spotlight when reading their Torah portion. For others, a group Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel offers the chance to celebrate as part of a group that has chosen the Jewish homeland to celebrate this milestone together. A group takes the pressure off “going solo,” allows your child to share this spiritual journey with other young Jews and offers life-long bonds with other celebrants on the path to becoming active members in the Jewish community.

HIRE A PRIVATE PLANNER No matter how much background work you do, or how early you begin preparations, a professional planner can help you realize your dream day. That was the experience of Sagit Goldberg and Karnit Mosberg, two sisters who grew up in a suburb of Tel Aviv, but now live in the U.S.. The two sisters 18 MITZVAH MARKET MAGAZINE

For Shabbat, the boys chose Masada, the ancient fortifications on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. Here, after the destruction of the Second Temple The Tower of David Museum allows private ceremonies and features work by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly.

Photo courtesy of

Summer and December winter break are the most popular times to sign up for group tours. These dates correspond with most children’s school schedule. Bear in mind that these dates can mean that certain venues are likely to be crowded with other celebrants. The most popular days for services are Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Choosing a local synagogue in Israel offers an intimate setting as well as the chance to celebrate with locals on Shabbat.

On the Thursday of their trip, the boys read Torah at the Western Wall, known at the Kotel. The service was followed by a tour of the Western Wall tunnels, arguably Israel’s most spectacular archaeological site and a fantastic historic record. Mabat arranged for professional guides to explain the building of the Western Wall and the Temple during the 1st century CE, as well as everyday life in ancient Jerusalem.

Photo by Myrna Rodkin

Eight members of the Rodkin family made the trip to Israel for the occasion. Upon their arrival, Ayelet introduced Matthew to the cantor and rabbi who directed his ceremony. He and his family were also introduced to another family who had made the trip from the U.S. to celebrate their daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in Israel. On July 4th, Matthew and his sister B’nai Mitzvah chanted Torah at Robinson’s Arch.

At Robinson’s Arch, Matthew carefully reads his Torah portion.

in 70 CE, nearly a thousand Jewish rebels defended the fort against a Roman siege before their inevitable defeat. At the fortress, the storehouses and houses of the Jewish rebels have been restored, and the Roman attack ramp still stands on the western side. Mabat arranged for the boys to read Torah at the ruins of the fortress synagogue. This spot is said to the oldest synagogue still in use. “Reading from the Torah at Masada gave me the chance to connect to the roots of my religion in a way that I couldn’t have done anywhere else,” says Eric of the Shabbat ceremony at the fortress.

After the ceremony, Ayelet arranged for the families to return to the site for a special tour, underlining the historical and spiritual significance of the site. Robinson’s Arch dates from the Second Temple period. Chanting Torah at the site allowed Matthew and his sister B’nai Mitzvah to connect with one another and to forge yet another link in the unbroken chain of Jewish history. Sharing the celebration with another American family added an extra dimension to the trip for the Rodkin family. The celebrants got along tremendously, enjoying both the work and the fun associated with the day. A guide, provided by Ayelet, worked with them to bring the history of their parsha alive, and came up with a vibrant itinerary for the celebrants and their families. Exploring Masada, the western edge of the great palace-fortress.

Courtesy of

Sagit Goldberg emphasizes the spiritual dimension of a Bar Mitzvah in Israel: “I waited 13 years to see my son read Torah at the Wall and put on tefillin. At the holiest place on Earth, my son connected with his heritage and became a man. The day was a dream come true in every way.” Well worth the 13-year wait. MORE THAN ONE FAMILY For Matthew Rodkin, plans for his Bar Mitzvah came together quickly in the form of a phone call from his grandparents, Myrna and Stuart. The couple called their grandson to announce that they were taking the entire family to Israel for the happy occasion. Matthew would celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem. “Excited and surprised,” are the words Grandma Myrna Rodkin describes as Matthew’s reaction to the news. Matthew had never been to Israel. But Myrna had previously traveled to Israel with Hadassah. Ayelet Tours ( had arranged those tours, and Myrna found the tour company to be top notch. She contacted Ayelet, a company with three decades of experience in Israel, to help plan Matthew’s special day. “It was the best experience we could have had,” says Myrna. 20 MITZVAH MARKET MAGAZINE

ON YOUR OWN The Internet will be your best friend if you are determined to make the plans yourself. The Israel Ministry of Tourism site, ( should be your first virtual stop in Israel. Make sure to contact the Israel Ministry of Tourism at least 21 days prior to your child’s ceremony. The celebrant will be presented with a beautiful certificate as a souvenir of the occasion. Make certain that your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you arrive in Israel. Keshet, The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel (www. will help you create a tailor-made Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel. Keshet will introduce your family to the land and history of Israel through youth centered programming, hands-on Mitzvah Projects and encounters with locals around Israel.

There are many wonderful places to choose as the site of your child’s ceremony. To confirm that your location of choice is available the day you wish to have your ceremony, confirm with the local authority (www.barand-bat-mitzvah-in-israel). Bear in mind that many locations such as The Western Wall (also known as The Kotel) and The Western Wall Tunnels (one of Israel’s most splendid archaeological sites) have rules about men and women sitting and praying together. Finally, use your personal network of neighborhood and synagogue friends and acquaintances to obtain information and tips from others who have chosen to combine a spiritual benchmark with a visit to Israel. Your trip should be a minimum of eight days, though many feel a longer trip is ideal since it will allow more in depth travel. Choosing Eretz Yisrael as your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah venue can add an extra dimension to your Simcha. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is the celebrant’s first Aliyah, a term that can mean reading a portion of the Torah as well as immigrating to Israel. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel will allow your child to combine family, heritage and tradition in a deeply special and meaningful experience that marks the happy beginning of a new life phase. •

Remember to Keep in MIND • It is customary for the Bar Mitzvah celebrant to be at least 13 years and one day, according to the Hebrew calendar, and for a Bat Mitzvah celebrant to be at least 12 years and one day. • Remember, you are in a Jewish state. During Shabbat (Friday afternoon through Saturday after sunset), few retail establishments will be open for shopping. • Make sure that you are current on the exchange date of U.S. dollars and Israel’s shekels. Currency exchange rates fluctuate daily. • Summers in Israel (April-October) are long, warm and dry. Winters are generally mild (November-March). Remember that hilly regions will have drier and cooler weather. • Make sure to bring an adapter for your American appliances. • The flight time to Israel is around 11 hours: Prepare for lengthy travel. When leaving Israel, passengers must arrive at the airport three hours prior to the flight.






Thousands of years of Jewish history in Israel means hundreds of meaningful and special sites for your child’s celebration. Make sure that you confirm that your chosen site is open on the day you wish to have your ceremony ( com). Here are some of the most popular sites for celebrations.

The Western Wall, also known as The Kotel ( The Western Wall Heritage Foundation offers a free service to help families plan their celebration. Assistance includes the initial planning of the celebration and services such as lending tefillin (phylacteries), or talliot (prayer shawls) as well as help in conducting the service. A tour of the Western Wall tunnels, one of Israel’s most spectacular archaeological sites, can be arranged following the service.

Western Wall Tunnel, Minheret. Located under buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Western Wall Tunnel allows access to the majority of the Western Wall which is hidden underground. While the open-air portion of the Western Wall is 200 feet in length, the Western Wall Tunnel allows access to an additional 1,591 foot length of the wall. Warren’s Gate is the closest point a Jew can pray near the Holy of Holies. The Southern Wall. Part of the remaining enclosure of the

Temple Mount, this site allows ceremonies according to your rabbi’s tradition, allowing men and women to pray together. The Southern Wall is no less holy than the Western Wall. 4

Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, Migdal David ( Located in the medieval citadel

known as the Tower of David, near the Jaffa Gate, the museum tells the story of Jerusalem and its importance to three Abrahamic religions. Private ceremonies may be held in the historic courtyard and gardens of the ancient citadel. 5

Masada or “Fortress” ( the ancient

fortification includes the remains of the Zealots’ Synagogue, said to be the world’s oldest synagogue still in use. Here, services are conducted according to Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist tradition. Remember, winter can be cold on this isolated rock plateau. During the summer months, the sun is brutal. Try and secure a sheltered spot for your celebration. 6


Neot Kedumim, (www.neot-kedumim, Biblical Landscape Reserve, recreates the life of our ancestors 3,000 years ago. Located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the site offers a panorama of the landscapes which shaped ancient Jewish values and a Bar or Bat Mitzvah outdoor prayer service followed by a biblical-style catered meal. Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem ( also known as Hurvat Rabbi Yehudah he-Hasid, is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Destroyed during the War of Independence in 1948, and a symbol of the Jews’ return to the holiest city, is the perfect choice for celebrants interested in the history of the creation of the State of Israel.


Photo by Itamar Grinberg, Courtesy Israel Tourism.

Rafting down the Jordan River is a delightful experience.

ACTIVITIES to Consider While Traveling in


IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM: The Israel Museum and the Scroll of the Book The Tower of David Museum Walking the Old City Ramparts Jerusalem Scavenger Hunt with Ross Culiner Western Wall Tunnels Hezekiah’s Water Tunnels Machane Yehuda Market Yad Vashem Chagall Windows at the Hadassah Medical Center Beit Guvrin Caves Archaeological Dig at Tel Maresha with “Dig for a Day Archaeological Seminars” IN AND AROUND TEL AVIV: Independence Hall The Ayalon Institute The Palmach Museum (for ages 6 and over) Nachalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Market Carmel Market (Shuk Ha’Carmel) The Tel Aviv Museum of Art Tel Aviv Port Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea IN THE NORTH: Jeep Ride in the Golan Heights Rafting on the Jordan River Lunch or overnight at a Kibbutz Boat ride and dinner at Decks on Lake Kinneret Tree planting at a Jewish National Fund Site IN THE SOUTH: Bedouin Tent Experience Touring The Makstesh Ramon in the Negev Desert Touring Masada Swimming in the Dead Sea Hiking and swimming in a waterfall at Ein Gedi Coral World Underwater Observatory and Marine Park in Eilat Boat ride on the Red Sea

RESOURCES for Bar/Bat Mitzvah Travel to


• Ayelet Tours, Ayelet Tours provides private families and groups outstanding service from beginning to end. The hotels, guides, and restaurants are chosen from the personal experience of their expert staff, as well as feedback received from clients. • Tova Gilead, Inc., As a tour operator since 1982, Gilead operates small, upscale and unique tours. Three-generation family trips are her specialty. • ARZA World, ARZA World creates 9, 11 and 13 day comprehensive tours of Israel with local reform rabbis performing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony in Jerusalem at the Southern Wall at the Davidson Center, The Goldman Promenade, Mt. Scopus, or on the rooftop of Hebrew Union College. • Israel Discover Tours, This company is family owned and operated for 25 years. They offer three different tours (12 day Deluxe, 14 day Deluxe or December Deluxe), with options for different budgets. The ceremony is at Masada and presentation of certificates is in front of the Menorah outside the Knesset (the Israel Parliament). • Authentic Israel, Authentic Israel has a wide range of programs including family and celebration experiences and custom private tours.  They arrange the tour, ceremony and celebration.  On the family tour, they provide a tour leader and a youth counselor. • Travel and Events in Israel, Custom tailored for your family, they help with your itinerary, book hotels according to your budget, connect you with a rabbi who will assign the Torah portion and make all necessary arrangements.  They also offer custom special events at unique destinations in Israel. • Mabat Platinum, LTD., Mabat designs a tailor-made trip for you and your family. • Gil Travel, With over 40 years of experience, Gil Travel helps you to plan a private tour or organize a group tour, while arranging all of the touring details. • Jewish National Fund Travel and Tours, JNF allows you to join a Bar or Bat Mitzvah tour or plan a private one. You may have your service at the Southern Wall in Jerusalem or other sites throughout Israel.  JNF also provides other opportunities including planting trees in Israel, coordinating a mitzvah project and participating in the B’nai Mitzvah Remembrance Wall. • Keshet, The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel helps you create a tailor-made Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip to Israel that introduces your family to the land and history through youth centered programming, hands-on mitzvah projects and encounters with local people. 24 MITZVAH MARKET MAGAZINE


Julie Markes Photography


WHAT TRADITIONS Suit Your Family By Cara J. Moroze

I knew the routine well. After all, I had been a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor at the same reform synagogue for well over a decade. There was an expected protocol for preparation, and the services themselves were always conducted in a very familiar order with well-rehearsed choreography. Often families would ask, “How can we make the service feel uniquely special to our family?” Of course, there is something beautiful and comforting about the traditional customs and rituals of a temple community. Synagogue clergy will often encourage that any ‘customized ideas’ be relegated to a post-service celebration rather than during the service itself. However, there are ways to respectfully complement a ceremony with symbolic touches that will make the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience all the more meaningful and memorable. Each temple community has its own set of expectations for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and it is of utmost importance to re-


spect the customs of your congregation. When you schedule your first meeting with the rabbi or ritual director, feel out how much latitude you have in changing or augmenting any aspects of the ceremony, especially if you want to give out “parts” to family members. If you’ve attended other services outside of your own synagogue, be prepared to share which rituals or moments resonated with you most and why you want it for your daughter or son’s moment on the bimah. SHABBAT & BEYOND Nowhere is it written, “Thou shalt only have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah service on a Saturday morning followed by a catered Kiddush luncheon.” However, you really do need to check in with the temple administrators about what kind of flexibility you have with the days and times. If there is openness to dates outside of a Saturday morning, there will be significant changes to the service length and content.

Some families opt for a Shabbat Mincha (Saturday afternoon) or Shabbat Ma’ariv (evening) service, the latter of which concludes with Havdalah, a ritually-rich ceremony complemented by lovely sung prayers that marks the end of Shabbat and the beginning of a new secular week. However, keep in mind that Shabbat ends with sundown, which will fall much later in the evening hours of early fall and late spring, affecting the timing of Havdalah. Typically, both the mincha and ma’ariv services, which may include a Torah service, are much shorter than a regular Shabbat morning service, which includes more extensive prayers and both Torah and Haftarah readings. Of course, you can hold a service that doesn’t fall on Shabbat at all. Many families opt for Sundays or a weekday, especially if family members are Shomrei Shabbat (strict adherents of the Sabbath) and cannot drive to your celebration on a Saturday. Each of the services offers different prayer components, so it will be important to review with your rabbi or service leader what’s expected of the Bar/

Bat Mitzvah if you have the option for a morning, afternoon or evening service, Shabbat or otherwise. Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies combined with the holidays allow for interesting ways to get creative and engage more family members. Last fall, I attended a Sunday service, which also happened to be the seventh day of Sukkot known as Hoshanah Rabah. The family’s rabbi suggested this festive occasion not only because it is resplendent in the colors and fragrances of the autumn harvest, it also happens to offer a shorter Torah reading. Together the rabbi and the family determined this would be better suited to the abilities of the Bar Mitzvah boy. The guests gathered in celebration, shaking the lulav and etrog, under the sukkah which was constructed with help from the family, making this occasion all the more spiritually significant. RITUAL OBJECTS It is customary at most temples for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child to wear a tallit (prayer shawl). If you have a tallit for

Kippah photo:


presentation, perhaps explain the significance of the ritual item and the importance of how it came into the family. The same could be true for a kippah (prayer cap) or a yad (pointer) used for reading the Torah. In some cases, a congregation will hold a Kiddush on the bimah immediately following a service. Is there a family Kiddush cup or challah cover that can be presented as part of the prayers over the wine and bread? If you have a celebration during Chanukah, include your family’s menorah and invite family to kindle the holiday lights. “I think personalization is wonderful, and the service needs to speak to our unique hearts and life experiences,” said Evan Moffic, a rabbi at a temple in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He embraces discussion about what families have observed at other services, and has often included rituals that strike a meaningful chord with families. “There have been a dozen occasions where we even used a Torah that has been part of the family. It makes the service quite special.” GIVING HONORS While an heirloom Torah is certainly a rarity, it is a visual splendor to watch a Torah be passed down l’dor va’dor (from generation to generation) in front of the open ark. At a reconstructionist service I attended, great grandparents, grandparents and parents stood alongside their Bar Mitzvah facing the congregation. As the rabbi explained the significance of the ancestral promise to carry on the tradition of teaching the commandments onto children, the family stood shoulderto-shoulder, ready to ceremonially pass the Torah from the eldest to youngest. The congregation stood mesmerized by the jingling of the silver ornaments that adorned the sacred scrolls as the Torah gently made its way into the arms of the Bar Mitzvah, who then brought it to the podium in preparation for reading.

“We included as many family members as possible, to involve and honor them,” recounted Ashley, the mother of a Bar Mitzvah boy from a conservative temple in Morris County, New Jersey. “My mother presented the tallis with a beautiful tribute to my son. His great aunt and uncle opened the ark. Aliyot [Torah blessings] were given by his Jewish uncles and cousin. English readings were read by family members who were not Jewish, since we are an interfaith family. It all culminated into a very personal, touching service.” Ask your rabbi about other ways to offer kibbudim. For younger children, consider several invitations to open and close the ark, or the honor of holding the Torah crowns and ornaments for safekeeping during the Torah service. If it’s customary at your temple, they also could join in the parading of the Torah scrolls around the synagogue. After the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child has read from the Torah, Jewish adults may have the opportunity to conduct the hagbah, or the lifting of the open scrolls to reveal what had just been read to the entire congregation, and the gelilah, which involves rolling up, binding and dressing the Torah for its proper return to the ark. Cantor Barbra Lieberstein Fergang serves students in both Rockland County, New York and Bergen County in New Jersey, and has a plethora of ideas to make services feel more personalized for families, whether in a congregational setting or outside of a synagogue environment. She suggests honoring immediate family members and if applicable, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s tutor, during the reciting or chanting of the threefold priestly benediction. “The parents, siblings and the tutor hold a tallit like a chuppah above the child signifying

Brad Photographers & Video Inc./Goodnight Productions

Julie Markes Photography


There are many other ways to offer up honors, known as kibbudim, to family members and close friends at your service, regardless of their faith.

a shelter of peace and protection,” explained Cantor Barbra, making this a poignant moment for those closest to preparing the service. You could also consider raising the tallit as a chuppah during a parents’ blessing. YOUR UNIQUE FAMILY The leadership at the Bar or Bat Mitzvah service in and of itself is a unique contribution. Michael Sternfield, a rabbi based out of Bradenton, Florida, encourages the B’nai Mitzvah to conduct as much of the service as possible. And then there’s the much anticipated d’var Torah (aka “The Speech”) where your child is expected to draw relevance from the Torah portion to one’s life. Rabbi Sternfield guides his students to take on Mitzvah Projects that have an emphasis on the interpersonal human experience, so that they can speak from the heart about the ethical gains they have made as part of this Jewish rite of passage. And as for the parents’ remarks that add another distinct element to every service? The rabbi advises, “Remember, this is not the Academy Awards. It’s not about how great a soccer player you have or about the merit badges that your kid earned or the grades he or she gets at school. This is your opportunity to talk about the spiritual meaning of the occasion and how the entire experience has represented your family’s values.” Indeed, family is at the heart of what makes a ceremony different from anyone else’s. Mazel tov and best wishes in making yours especially memorable for your loving mishpucha. • Cara J. Moroze is a B’nai Mitzvah tutor whose students’ ceremonies have been held in places from a traditional synagogue to atop Masada, and everywhere in between. She resides in Montclair, NJ with her husband and two sons.

Ask CLERGY Cantor Barbra Lieberstein Fergang offers advice on questions to ask clergy as you explore ways to personalize your Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony: • What makes the service unique or different from other synagogues or clergy? • How can we adapt the service to my child who has special needs? • How can we include non-Jewish family members to make the service all-inclusive? • How can we include all immediate family members to make the ceremony more meaningful?



Gabbie and Charlie Goldberg, Merrick, NY Gabbie and Charlie Goldberg’s uncle Eric Turk is developmentally disabled. He lives in a group home in Brooklyn, New York. For the twins’ B’nai Mitzvah Project, they decided that a hands-on activity which involved their whole family would be one they’d always remember. The siblings raised funds that went towards building and upkeep of an amazing and spectacular fish tank for the group-home residents to enjoy in addition to a variety of other improvements. Here is their story. “Our grandfather was very active in advocating for those who cannot, and we wanted to do something to make him proud and do something that would last a lifetime,” Gabbie and Charlie tell us. To that end, the twins each took different responsibilities to give back to the resident home where their uncle lives. The twins interviewed the residents, talked to the administrators, and decided on two main projects. “I wanted to make the residents in the home feel joy and happiness and brighten their mood. Since I have three fish tanks that I enjoy, I thought it would be nice to give the same relaxing experience that I get when I look at my tank to the residents,” Charlie says. He is the one who got to decide the location of the fish tank, the type of tank, the type of fish,

and was responsible for setting it up. His sister Gabbie was responsible for deciding what improvements to make to the school. “My uncle Eric spends a lot of time in the main living area, and I personally think that the creation of our mural will bring interest and lend to their imagination, “ says Gabbie. She worked with acclaimed New York artist Bonnie Siracusa, who is know for her uplifting mural designs. “Painting a mural is a big project. I learned how to work with an accomplished artist and together we came up with the idea of a Coney Island Aquarium with the rides in a silhouette reflecting through the tank. Gabbie worked closely with the artist. She says, “Getting on the ladder and mapping out the mural with Bonnie and brushing the first strokes was amazing.” Together, they made something unique for all the residents to enjoy along with the fish tank. In order to fund the fish tank and mural, their family started working on the project a year before their B’nai Mitzvah. They began getting funds, when the family celebrated their grandmother’s 80th birthday they put a note in the invitations that read: “In lieu of a gift, in honor of our grandmother’s 80th birthday please consider donating to our Mitzvah Project involving

Top: The Goldberg family aimed to improve their uncle’s group home, the cheerful mural shown here is just one several projects they completed. Bottom: Twins Gabbie and Charlie flank their uncle, Eric Turk.


improvements for our Uncle Eric’s group home. As we approach our B’nai Mitzvah, which is next October, we reflected on many ideas for a hands on project that would be extra meaningful for our family. Thanks for your help in accomplishing this goal. These additions will bring joy and happiness for years to come.” —From Charlie and Gabbie Goldberg

From this experience, Gabbie and Charlie have become friendly with the director, administration, and residents of the group home. In fact, they recently purchased a Karaoke machine so maybe they can all have a party by the mural! No more funds for these projects are needed for residence at this time. Muralist Bonnie Siracusa can be reached through her website, • Artist Bonnie Siracusa stands proudly while working on the mural.

The group home residents appreciate all that the twins did to improve their space.

In addition to the funds they received instead of gifts, the family set up a Go FundMe page as well. The twins did the projects in two phases. The fish tank, phase one, was completed in April. Phase two, the mural, was completed this past summer. They were also able to purchase a Roku, a streaming media player device for the home’s television. The projects proved to be very gratifying for the twins. Gabbie tells us, “Choosing a project that involved my family and grandparents was truly rewarding.” Charlie adds, “Sharing your special interests can lead to great accomplishments. I love taking care of my tanks and now I have an excuse to visit more often and be more active in the home. My sister and I both learned how an idea can become a reality.”

To read about other Mitzvah Projects, visit




Melissa organized her friends and family to each make a tile to raise money for SCOPE.

Melissa Nadler, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY Five summers ago, I visited Camp Westmont in Poyntelle, Pennsylvania. I instantly fell in love. Not only did they have a beautiful campus, but they also had this amazing arts and crafts program with some really cool projects. I couldn’t wait to go the following summer. As it turns out, camp was even better than I imagined. I made some of my best friends of my life—we are in touch 24/7! Four years later, I still think camp is the best place on earth, and in the fall before my Bat Mitzvah, I found a way to incorporate my love of camp into my Mitzvah Project. My mom and I went to Mitzvah Market’s Celebrate! Party Showcase in Westchester to get ideas for my Mitzvah Project and, of course, for the celebration afterwards. The place was huge, but we came across ArtWare for Good, a charity that sets up art projects to raise money for organizations locally and throughout the world. At first, I thought I’d raise money to help children in Nepal. But then we came up with something that was closer to my heart. ArtWare for Good was about to partner with SCOPE. (SCOPE stands for Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education.) I thought raising money for SCOPE, a charity that helps underprivileged kids go to camp, would be a perfect way to give back. I was also able to combine all of my favorite things—arts and crafts, my friends,


and camp—into my Mitzvah Project! Here’s what I did: At the beginning of February, I invited my friends and family to an “Open House Art Party” at my house. They could stop by to create their masterpiece, have a sweet treat, and help make this meaningful idea a reality. I asked my friends to donate $20 each and create a work of art based on the theme of “Fun in the Sun.” For example, my tile had my favorite camp food—s’mores. Every tile was unique: My brother, of course, made one that showed sports, while other friends drew ice cream cones, flip flops, and the ocean. For those people who could not attend the party, the process was easy: They created their artwork at home and just sent it to me. Our artwork was then transferred onto tiles with the help of ArtWare for Good. Ultimately, our designs became part of a tile wall mural that was donated to SCOPE. The mural will be hung in a SCOPE-funded camp in the tri-state area. With just a small donation from each of my friends, we not only created a mural for campers to enjoy, but we provided a child less fortunate than myself to have the opportunity to go to camp, and ultimately enhance his or her life. The project ended about three weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, so that ArtWare for Good could create the tiles in time for

ArtWare for Good helped me with my vision of creating something artistic for the greater good, but their partnership with SCOPE made my project a perfect fit for me. I know from experience that there is no better place to spend a summer than at sleepaway camp. I have been fortunate enough to have had four incredible summers so far at Camp Westmont, and I have learned and grown so much from my experience away from home. Being able to give someone the same kind of opportunity feels so good. •

Photo courtesy of SCOPE

me to present them at my Bat Mitzvah. This experience was so incredible, and I got to share it with so many people from all parts of my life—my school and camp friends, long-time family friends, and relatives. Everyone loved seeing the masterpiece that we created together.

On July 18th, the mural was presented to Camp Herrlich in Patterson, NY.

If you would like to learn more about ArtWare for Good and SCOPE, please see the contact information below: ArtWare for Good 973-919-6086 @artwareimages - Instagram SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education) 212-627-4097 @SupportSCOPE on Twitter & Instagram

An “Open House Art Party” allowed the kids to create their masterpieces. To read about other Mitzvah Projects, visit




B e rk e i r r Ca By Carrie Berk,


Everything came together in “Carriewood.” The finishing touch was the Oscar-worthy cake! Carrie looked radiant wrapped in her custom Tallit by Ina Bearak Helfland.’s Teen Blogger

After writing so many articles for about attending my friends’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, it was finally my turn to have one. We selected the date, 1-16-16, not just because it had a nice ring to it, but because it’s the actual time they read about Miriam, Moses’ sister, in synagogues. “Miriam” is my Hebrew name, and I’m named for my greatgrandma Miriam Horwitz, who was very special to my mom. I knew I wanted the evening to feel like a red carpet movie premiere, and I came up with “Lights, Camera...Carriewood!” for my theme. The first step was creating a logo and a savethe-date card that had “star quality.” We mailed guests a movie ticket printed with all the info on it, and tucked it into a gold padded envelope with microwave popcorn and movietheater candy. For the logo, we created several options: my fave was a Carriewood logo with an Oscar in the center of the A with film reels for the Os. But I also loved a black movie camera with my Bat Mitzvah date as well as my name surrounded by gold, sparkly stars. We decided to use them all, varying them between the hoodies, tees, sweatpants, hats, bags, socks, and sunglasses that were creating as favors. My dream was to have photos on display at my Bat Mitzvah celebration that looked authentically Hollywood. So for my 12th birthday gift, my parents arranged for a trip to California so I could shoot with renowned dance photographer, David “Sharkcookie” Hoffman. He snapped pics of me on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater, even with the real Hollywood sign in the hills behind me. 38 MITZVAH MARKET MAGAZINE

My theme was carried through in every detail, from the giant Oscar statuettes that flanked the dancefloor, the movie posters atop lucite film reels that served as centerpieces at each table. The montage video was “The E True Hollywood Story of Carrie Berk,” and I gathered videos of celebrities saying “Mazel Tov, Carrie” everywhere I went. I went to book signings, meet and greets, stagedoors...I even chased Jimmy Fallon into a store when I saw him in the Hamptons! The ceremony was a tribute to all the people I love, including my grandpa “Gee,” Great-Grandma Miriam, Great-Grandma Chickie Binder, and my ballet teacher Elizabeth Maria Walsh who passed away only a year earlier. Their photos were copied onto fabric and sewn into my tallit, and my Mitzvah Project for Dancers with Cancer was in Elizabeth’s honor. The highlight for me was singing “Aitz Hayim,” with my mom (she had sung it at her Bat Mitzvah as well) and my dad blowing the shofar to signal me becoming a woman in the eyes of the congregation. When it was over, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and headed for the party upstairs. We entered on a red carpet with velvet ropes and paparazzi snapping pics into the huge room lit entirely in gold and red. The napkins at each place setting were folded to look like Oscar envelopes with gold seals, and there were oversized filmstrips with my photos scattered throughout the space. Over the arch that marked the kids’ lounge, was a giant Carriewood sign in lights, and my sign-in board was a mirrored movie poster that read: “The Bat Mitzvah.” My parents wanted everything guests saw and tasted to reflect my favorite things, so we created a “restaurant row”

Party photos by Heidi Green Photography

Family photos lined the inside of Carrie’s tallit. This spectacular room design gives a nod to Hollywood. The kids area was adorned with “Carriewood” stars.

that included Burger-Fi, Gina La Fornarina, even a “Starberks” bar that served frappucinos. I had a Dubsmash booth (since I love to sing) and Chic Sketch artists drawing fashion sketches of everyone in their red carpet attire. I also insisted on a virtual “Carrie Coaster” so everyone could go on a wild ride (rollercoasters are kind of my thing!). Since I’m the author of a cupcake book series, there had to be amazing sweets throughout the evening. We started by passing out 700 bite-sized Baked by Melissa cupcakes on silver platters before the ceremony. There were old-time Hollywood “cigarette girls” handing out boxes of movie candy during the cocktail hour, and for take home treats, guests got Schmackery cookies (my fave in all of NYC) and a custom Georgetown Cupcake with the Carriewood logo on top. The dessert bar spotlighted Marilyn Monroe cupcakes with fluffy white frosting forming her skirt, and my cake was a showstopper, too:

giant film reels stacked nearly three feet tall with my star on top and a giant box of popcorn spilling out at the base—all 100 percent edible. My Bat Mitzvah party flew by and before I knew it, the evening was drawing to a close. I lay down on the dancefloor, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. I was heartbroken that it would never happen again. But the best part now is looking at all of the photos and watching the video. I saved every single card my friends and family gave me, and even kept some of the lounge pillows from the party for my bed. My advice to teens on their Bar or Bat Mitzvah day—now having experienced it firsthand—is to enjoy every second. Don’t let anything stress you out. Remember that everyone there loves you and supports you, and this is truly your moment to shine! •

The following vendors helped to make Carrie’s celebration special: Custom Tallit: Tallit By Ina Bearak Helfand, 914-656-2816 Decor/Florist: Phyllis Skolnick-Extraordinary Productions,, 973-467-1637 Montage: Shari Sollender-Images4ever, 973-945-0573 Security: Bar Mitzvah Bouncer,, 973-758-9800 Venue: Guastavino’s,, 212-980-2711 Event Producer: Patrick Menton, Plan P Productions Music/Entertainment: Total Entertainment;, 201-894-0055 Photographer/videographer: Heidi Green Photography,, 212-545-5304 Invitations: Venture, 212-288-7235 Logos: Amy Wohl-Fabudesigns, Carrie’s Dresses: Sherri Hill,

To read more stories by Carrie Berk, visit

Clutch: Custom crystal bag, Mom’s Dress: Custom beaded suit from Vivaldi, 212-734-2805 Hair/Makeup: Glamsquad, Officiant: Joel Cohen/Becky Keren, Door to Door Tutoring, 888-224-DOOR Oscar statuettes that read Best Bat Mitzvah guest as favors: SWEET TREATS Cupcakes: Baked By Melissa, 212-842-0220; Georgetown Cupcakes Soho (cupcake favors): 212-431-4504; Marilyn Monroe and tuxedo cupcakes for reception: Cakes Jagla, 718-425-0974 Custom logo ribbon (to tie Georgetown cupcake favor boxes): Cookies: Schmackary’s, Cake: Vinny Buzzetta-Staten Island Cakes, 347-751-3648




Be Creative Photography,

David Phillips Freehold, NJ

It’s party time and David gets to relax in the stunning lime-green space.

By Julie Gerstenblatt When planning a Bar Mitzvah celebration, it can be difficult to select a theme that is both of-the-moment and timeless. However, that’s exactly what Shari Phillips did when planning her son David’s party. Instead of focusing exclusively on David’s favorite sport of skiing, Shari went with a color theme—lime— and planned the entire evening around that color. “Kids tend to change their minds all the time, as they are growing and changing and developing,” Shari explained. She didn’t want the family to look back on the Bar Mitzvah party in the years to come and regret making choices that felt too specific and no longer relevant to their lives. “David is the kindest, most generous person we know and we wanted to celebrate him as a person,” Shari said. To do that, she selected a venue that worked equally well for both the adults and the teen partygoers, striking a balance between sophistication and fun. She also considered the location of the venue, not wanting her guests to have to travel too far from home. For Shari, iPlay America, an indoor theme park with over 200 games, rides, and attractions, was the perfect destination. “By sending children into an amusement park for the first hour and a half of the party, I knew they would have an ex42 MITZVAH MARKET MAGAZINE

traordinary time,” Shari said. “And that gave adults an extended cocktail hour too,” she added, “although parents enjoyed walking through the park as well!” In fact, Shari herself spent much of the cocktail hour in the park, watching the kids and having fun socializing and celebrating outside of a traditional venue. David loved seeing the “look of shock and awe” come over everyone’s faces as they realized they were attending a black-tie Bar Mitzvah at an amusement park. Plus, he had a fantastic time with friends on the go-carts and while playing laser tag. Back in the formal party space, magician Robert Clark entertained adults and guests were treated to a massive sushi station and “every hors d’oeuvre under the sun.” Planning an event of this magnitude could not have been done without help from a well-organized team of professionals. Shari thanks Phyllis Skolnick from Extraordinary Productions for much of the overall success of the night. Right from the start, Phyllis designed the acrylic invitation that became the inspiration for the three-tiered, green-and-black “ski” cake. Everything in between played off of the invitation as well. In the banquet room, the lime-o-licious theme really came to life: The overall mood “was edgy and cool, and yet simple and clean,” Shari says. The walls were backlit lime green, and

all other accents were kept in the scheme of black and grey and white, to keep the room balanced. The table centerpieces were built of open steel cubes that were architectural in feel, the hard edges softened by hanging votives and delicate mirrors to catch and reflect the light. White hydrangeas provided balance to the mostly masculine space. “The punch of lime green really resonated in the space,” Shari said. They used it sparingly, on the walls, in the cake, as lighting for the kids’ plexi-glass dining tables, and in accent pillows in the lounge area. An LED wall with David’s name and green swirls provided an extra dimension. “It felt interesting,” she said. Shari, a self-proclaimed “micromanager,” really understood the stress involved in planning a Bar Mitzvah celebration. “We are blessed to have an incredibly close knit group of family and friends,” Shari said. Therefore, no matter what was planned, Shari was certain that her guests would have a spectacular time together. That being said, Shari felt what many mothers planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration feel, the constant push-and-pull between focusing on your child and considering everyone else’s enjoyment, of the anxiety of sticking to a budget and splurging here and there, of having so many big and small decisions to make. In the end, the advice Shari would give others is that, while every decision feels overwhelming in the moment, all the decisions you ultimately make are the right ones. “You are putting a lot of pressure on yourself. Go with your gut and you’ll never be wrong,” she said. • Right, from top: The LED wall lit up the room and was a great backdrop for all the kids. Circles of calla lillies enhanced the place card table. The spectacular cake by Pink Cake Box highlighted David’s love of skiing.

The following vendors helped to make David’s celebration special:

Invitation Design, Décor & Planning: Phyllis Skolnick, Extraordinary Productions,, 732-740-7676 Cake: Pink Cake Box,, 973-998-4445 DJ: Total Entertainment:, 800-783-9335 Photography: Be Creative Photography,, 201-540-9779 Videography and Montage: Michael Adelson-Luria Visuals,, 215-934-7247 Sweatshirts: Show Me The Favors,, 856-912-4006 Magician - Robert Clark

To see more Mitzvah Family Spotlight stories, visit

Photos by Be Creative Photography

Venue: Jennifer Cornier-iPlay America,, 732-577-8200

Interactive Entertainment Group


Todd Shapera Photography


Whether you’re a traditionalist or a trendsetter, your celebration can reflect your style By Mindy Grill In this day and age, people are always looking for the latest and greatest high-tech developments. It’s no different in the world of Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties. Yet for those who don’t like new-fangled ideas, tried and true is the way to go. Readers have asked and we’ve searched to come up with these top high-tech party trends. See how they compare to their more traditional counterparts. n ds ear Frie Invite: D

Signage vs. Snap Chat Geo Filter

Paper vs. Paperless Invitations Just like newspapers, magazines, and bill paying, Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations are now going paperless. Companies like Paperless Post and Green Envelope or full-service graphic design firms can take your ideas and turn them into amazing digital invitations. Whether it is an e-mail that directs your guests to a creative website, or a video invite performed by the Bar Mitzvah boy himself, paperless invitations are increasing in popularity. You can also just go digital with the rsvp. Paperless options are great for the environment and show guests that you are a step ahead of the curve on the technology forefront. However, if you’re a traditionalist and want to have a hard-copy keepsake, you can never go wrong with a classic paper invitation, like the beautiful one above.


For this category, you might choose to go old-school or new-fangled. Displaying your child’s name using over-sized 5-foot letters, or light up ones you might find at a craft store, or simply a well-designed foam-core sign will set the tone for your party. Then, if you want to take it further, a Snapchat geo filter is another great, high-tech way to personalize your special event. Party goers are using the Snapchat App to share their photos from your event with friends. Now, Snapchat allows users to create custom geo filters that enhance pictures with the location and date of the event where the pictures are taken. Get creative when coming up with yours—use your logo, date, or any fun artwork to make a statement on Snapchat.

Place Cards vs. a Unique Table Seating Chart

Sarah Merians Photography & Videography

If you love the look of a handwritten place card or one done in calligraphy, there’s nothing like beautiful cardstock with each guest’s name and table number written on a tented card—or tucked into a tiny envelope. Now, there are other options. If you’re on a budget, think about creating a poster with your seating chart. Or take an oversized mirror, and artfully list all the names of your guests and their table assignments. For the high-tech lover, consider an electronic sign with your table arrangements. All are possible!

Walk-in Photo Booth or High-Tech Photo Station? Do you remember piling into a photo booth with all your friends to see how many people could fit in the photo—and barely closing the curtain? If this brings back great memories, consider renting a traditional-style booth for your celebration. Most DJs or independent photo booth companies offer these. However, if you’re looking for virtual graffiti, animation, slo-motion video, and morphing, where you can turn yourself into different characters, you can now find photo stations with all of these amazing features. With this type of high-tech photo booth, you can instantly share your creation on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For social media obsessed kids (and adults!), this is the way to go for instant gratification. MITZVAHMARKET.COM 45

Classic Sign-In or Digital? Will you hang your child’s sign-in board in his or her room or do you think it might be relegated to the basement or garage after the party? If you fear that you may do the latter, consider an electronic option. Simon Elliot Events offers a customizable digital iSign guestbook. Guests write their well wishes on an iPad. They can use a stylus, so you even see the guests’ handwriting. If you wish, the content can be broadcast on screens at the party. After your party is over, you will have a book of photos with messages from each guest. Digital iSign: Simon Elliot Events

Table Games or Futuristic Fun

Venue: SPACE

Games like foosball and Nok-Hockey never go out of style. However, just as home gaming has taken on a whole new dimension, so too has Bar and Bat Mitzvah games. Virtual reality games allow party goers to simulate a variety of situations like riding a roller coaster, racing cars, or flying an airplane. The use of the latest oculus lenses, which you can find at Interactive Entertainment Group, further enhances its virtual reality gaming with. Even pop-a-shot games have been given a new look—with graphics to simulate a real inner-city basketball court down and multi-player scoreboard, personalized with your child’s name, logo, or slogan. Top scores are posted digitally for all to see.

Thirteen Candles or Something New? iPad candle lighting: Galaxy Productions


There are so many ways to put a new spin on your classic candle-lighting ceremony. First, you no longer have to have thirteen candles. Some celebrations may only include three candles—a candle representing past (perhaps relatives who are no longer with you), the present (immediate family), and future (all the children in the room.) You should decide how many people or groups of people you’d like to honor. If you want to go high-tech, we’ve found just what you’ve been looking for: Use 13 iPads instead of 13 candles. Galaxy Productions, an event production company based in Florida, introduced iPad candle lighting ceremonies and received rave reviews. Thirteen iPads on specially constructed stands displays an image of the unlit candles instead of the real thing. When the honorees are called up to light the candles, they simply swipe the iPad to bring up the next image of a candle with a lit flame! If you want to do your own version, you could even have each iPad display part of your poem to introduce your honored guest.

The Bar Mitzvah boy listening to his grandfather saying the prayer over the challah from Florida.

Traditional Challah Cutting vs. Via Satellite Cutting the challah and reciting the blessing is a true honor. This honor should be given to someone special in your family. The memory of your child standing with a favorite grandparent, aunt, or uncle will remain in your hearts forever. In some cases, that special person may not be able to travel to your celebration. Luckily, with technology, families can now reunite—either via a pre-recorded video or even in real-time with options like Skype or Facetime. Don’t miss this opportunity to share a wonderful tradition with a loved one—in person or via satellite.

Salzman & Ashley Studios

Photography by Neal

What’s NEW, What’s NEXT

• Oversized Multi-Faceted Screens: Plasmas, full-projection screens in different sizes and shapes (some are even rounded!) are all available now. You can have an animated logo running on the screens, zap shots, live simulcasting and much more. The sky’s the limit in this category. • Custom Nike Elite Socks: Your guests will love the chance to customize a pair of Nike Elite socks. These socks are really trending with both boys and girls. Ask Simon Elliot Events for the Nike Elite booth for your next affair. • Silent Clubbing: Give the adults a break during dinner, while the kids go crazy to their own music while wearing wireless headphones. • Glow-in-the-Dark Tattoos: Using UV blacklight, you can have a temporary air-brush tattoo that glows. Artemix offers a variety of designs, such as butterflies, flowers and tribal designs.

To see more pictures from this Spotlight, visit



H&H Photographers



A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish rite of passage celebrated by the entire family, and that means attire for the day extends past the guest of honor. Each and every family has its own style, and the clothing should reflect it. While the Bat Mitzvah dress or Bar Mitzvah button-down is the star of the fashion show, parents and siblings deserve to shine in their own special clothes.

Date of Simcha: March 19, 2016 Party Venue: Crystal Plaza, Livingston, NJ Dress Code: Party Attire Fashion Statement: Bat Mitzvah girl Julia wore an aqua Terani Couture party dress with a sweetheart neckline, a crystal- embellished bodice, and a tulle bottom. The Parentals: Mom wore a black and silver cocktail dress by Betsy & Adam, and accessorized with silver sandals while Dad David wore a Brooks Brothers suit.

This year, we highlight the dresses, suits, shoes, and accessories worn by our Bar or Bat Mitzvah families. Some toasted the occasion in gowns and glitz, while others chose to stay casual with denim and football jerseys. Whatever the dress code, these families looked stunning while celebrating their Bar or Bat Mitzvah!

Special Accessory: A diamond necklace given to Julia by her aunt and uncle marked the occasion. Favorite Fashion Moment: “Finally seeing everything all put together—the dress, the makeup, the shoes, and the hair.”

AMANDA & RYAN CARESS Date of Simcha: December 5, 2015 Party Venue: Edison Ballroom, NYC

At Home Studios

To read more and see more photos from these celebrations or to have your child’s Bar or Bat featured, visit

Dress Code: Party Chic Twinning: Amanda sparkled in a long beaded and sequin Tiffany blue Jovani dress from Party Girl in Tenafly, New Jersey, while Ryan wore a crisp, black DKNY silk suit from Lubin’s, which was accented with a silver pocket square and worn over a white shirt and silver tie. Costume Change: After the candle lighting, Amanda changed to a silver-beaded cocktail dress by LEXIE from Party Girl and Sarah Jessica Parker rhinestone stilettos for the fatherdaughter dance. After the dance, she changed into high heel Nike sneakers that were blinged out with rhinestones. The Parentals: Mom Tammy rocked a black organza dress with a rhinestone beaded neckline from Marina Rinaldi, paired with black, raw silk stilettos embellished with crystals and a Swarovski crystal clutch.  Dad Jeffery wore a Hickey Freeman suit and a purple seven fold tie. Matchy Matchy: Tammy and Amanda had matching diamond necklaces, but Mom got to wear hers with diamond dropped earrings!   Hair & Makeup: The NYC-based, on-demand Glam Squad coiffed and painted Amanda and Tammy at the Edison Ballroom. MITZVAHMARKET.COM 51

MAX FREIFELD Date of Simcha: December 15, 2015 Party Venue: Temple Avodah, Oceanside, NY

Fashion Statement: Max wore a white dinner jacket from Esquire in Merrick, New York and patent leather converse high tops that kept him comfortably stylish for the party. Dad Steven wore his own white jacket to compliment his son’s. Hot Mama!: Max’s mom Beth wore a mermaidcut, steel-gray gown with a platinum-lace overlay, custom-made for her by Runway Couture, Bellmore, New York Sibling Love: Eight-year-old Sadie looked stunning in a custom pink princess dress from Designing Dreams and custom-blinged Converse from One Small Step in Woodbury, New York. Her favorite accessory? A rhinestone tiara to dress up her tresses. Costume Change: Max and Steven switched things up by wearing black tuxedo jackets at the cocktail hour and white dinner jackets for the party.

Photos byWhite Light Photography & Video

Dress Code: Saturday Night Formal

STEFEN SHAPIRO Date of Simcha: SuperBowl Sunday, Feb 7, 2016 Party Venue: The Carlyle at The Omni, Uniondale, NY

Simon Elliot Events

Dress Code: Jerseys, Jeans and Jewels Football Fashion: Stefen sported a custom name and number “Throwback” Jersey Dallas Cowboy Jersey for the cocktail hour, and then changed into a current Dallas Cowboy jersey with the number 13. Both jerseys were worn with Lucky Brand Jeans, and Nike Lebron “What if” Dallas Cowboy sneakers. Designing Women: Sister Jaidyn, 11-years old, wore a white Dallas Cowboy Jersey and had it redesigned into a dress by Robin at Designs On You in Port Jefferson Station, New York and white wedge DooBallo sneakers embellished with crystals. Mom Heather wore a Dallas Cowboy Jersey redesigned into halter, paired with McGuire Jeans from Bloomingdales and blue suede Dallas Cowboy wedge shoes. Father Knows Best: Dad Scott suited up in a Dallas Cowboy Vintage Throwback Aikman Jersey, AG Jeans from Bloomingdales, and Nike Lebron “What if” Dallas Cowboy sneakers. All Dallas Cowboy gear were purchased at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Favorite Accessories: Stefen added LED Laces to his Lebrons...he loved the glow. Nothing is better than wearing accessories that you love!”

CHARLOTTE FORMAN Date of Simcha: September 26, 2015 Party Venue: Haute Durvo, Roslyn, NY Dress Code: Party Chic Triple the Fun: When your mom owns a dress rental company (, an outfit change is easy! Charlotte started in two different dresses by Blush: for the service, she looked elegant in a white embroidered dress, then she changed into an embellished strapless dress for the cocktail hour. Finally, she danced the night away in a blue ball gown designed by Tiffany. Mommy Couture: Mom Jen wore a fitted Stella McCartney from Bergdorf Goodman. For the Boys: Dad Eric and brother Dylan wore Michael Kors suits purchased at Nordstrom. Favorite Accessory: Studded converse sneakers that allowed Charlotte to dance all night! Favorite Moment Getting Dressed: “My mom helping me into my ballgown, which meant the cocktail hour was over and it was time to party!” Celebrity Fashion Inspiration: Selena Gomez




Paper, metal, wood, or leather—what look fits your celebration? By Lisa Siglag You are about ten months away from your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah; you need to start thinking about your invitation. The invitation sets the tone for your event, so it’s important to select something that reflects your child, your traditions, and your celebration. Where do you begin? THE EXPERTS Below we’ve explained the differences between an invitation professional, a local retailer, and online resources. • Invitation Professionals: These people really know the industry. Some offer completely custom designs, while others work from books. They will have samples that you can see and touch. Often, personal invitation experts extend a discount that you won’t find other places. Debbie Kaliner, the owner of Informally Yours explains, “I give people a little education.” An invitation expert can be very helpful to guide you through the process, work within your budget, and even select the proper wording for your invite.

From top: Cutie Patootie Creations, and Informally Yours

For more invitation ideas, visit

• Retail Store: Retail stores like Papyrus and Paper Source will have books to look through as well. You will be able to see the product and the colors in person. However, most retail stores do not offer discounts. • Online: The web is a great way to see a multitude of possibilities, but you may not get the customer service or the hand-holding that you will from a invitation professional. If you decide to purchase an invitation online, request a sample first to see what you are getting. Keep in mind, no matter which type of vendor you choose, you will most likely have questions along the way, so select an invitation retailer who is accessible, advises Stephanie Feldman, the owner of Cutie Patootie Creations. WHAT’S IMPORTANT? “Create an invitation that has meaning,” says Stephanie Feldman. Stephanie, who makes all custom invitations, tells us of a Bat Mitzvah child, who is a wonderful artist. The girl created a Zentangle design, which Stephanie used on the invitation. The incorporation of the Bat Mitzvah girl’s artwork truly made the invitation unique—one that will be cherished forever. Jeanne Woodyard, the owner of, reminds us that you can typeset the child’s Hebrew name or even the Hebrew date on the invitation. If you can get your child involved in selecting the invitation, it will have more meaning in the end. PAPERS & MATERIALS Do you like a heavy-weight invitation? If so, there are a number of ways to achieve this. You can go with a heavy-weight paper 220 lbs and up or a cardstock. You can also consider layering papers or having a pocket layer to create a more substantial invite. If you’re planning to print the invitation yourself, go with a lighter weight, like an 80 or a 110 stock, to make sure it goes through your printer smoothly. Depending on the company, the type of paper may add to the cost of the invite. In some cases, you will pay a premium for a shimmer paper, rather than a flat color. If you like a traditional look, you might opt for embossed or letterpressed type that will require a soft paper like cotton in order to get that deep impression. “Letterpress has been available for years, but it has become very popular recently,” says Michelle Schwartz, the owner of Pretty Paper & Polka Dots. If you’re looking for something a little more out-of-the-box, consider a metallic paper or even printing on metal. Wood and leather looks are popular now too, often giving a nod to

a sports theme. And Lucite options are still popular if your budget allows. PRINTING TECHNIQUES Your budget and personal style will dictate which kind of type you will select. Here’s a rundown of your choices. • Engraved type: This technique dates back to the 1700s. A custom plate is made and the letters are etched onto your paper, allowing the print to be raised. This is a very formal application, mainly relegated to weddings, but it certainly can be considered for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. This type can be very costly. • Letterpress: Using a moveable type machine, letterpress gives an indented impression. Bright colors can be used or even blind embossed type. Letterpress offers a classic look. It is generally less costly than engraved type, but more than flat-printed. • Foil: Foil can be used in a variety of ways. You may see it indented or raised. Using foil will increase the price of your invitation. • Thermography: A raised-print type, but the type will have a shine to it. It usually is a mid-priced option. • Flat-printed: This is the most affordable type. It can be offset or digital. Offset works best on textured paper, whereas digital looks great on smooth stocks. Whatever you decide, involve your child in the process. You’ll want your selection to be something that he or she will be proud to send to all of his or her friends. •

1. Back printing: Custom designs decorate the back of the invitation. 2. Laser-cut invitations: A name or shape is incised in the paper. 3. Personalized liners: Names or logos are printed right on envelopes. 4. Exciting flat-printed designs: Glitter and confetti designs have become popular. 5. Monograms: Your child’s initials helps to brand your invitation.


Pretty Paper & Polka Dots

Clever ways to SAVE • “Include information about the service and the celebration on one card,” says Stephanie Feldman of Cutie Patootie Creations.

The Only


a Family Needs to Plan Their Child’s Simcha

• Party Ideas & Themes • Mitzvah Family Spotlights • Inspirational Mitzvah Project Profiles • Mitzvah Project Resource Directory • Vendor Directory • Deals & Discounts • Weekly e-newsletter

• Skip the direction card. Debbie Kaliner from Informally Yours says: “Most people have GPS. This is a BIG way to save money.” • Consider asking guests to RSVP through an email or a custom website. • Mix and match. “Choosing a thank you note that does not match, but is less expensive can save you money,” advises Michelle Schwartz of Pretty Papers & Polka Dots. It’s also fun to use a photo from your event and turn it into your thank you note. Your guests will enjoy seeing your memory. • Find out what the guidelines are for postage. Oversized envelopes will be more costly. • Ask what your options are in terms of envelopes. Often a dark-colored envelope will require white ink, which will add to your bottom line.

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Planning Your Event Month by Month BY MARLA J. WASSERMAN

If it “takes a village to raise a child,” it can take at least that many people to plan that child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It’s a lot to take on alone, so seek out help. Besides, it truly is more fun when you involve others. The following timeline should help you with your planning process and highlight how many villagers you may need to involve.


G  et a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date from your synagogue. T  alk to friends who’ve already planned a Bar/Bat Mitzvah for ideas and tips. G  o to a Celebrate! Party Showcase. There are seven locations in the tri-state area. F  ormulate a realistic budget. Have a budget in mind so you can decide where you want to spend your money and what type of event you will have.  egin looking at venues. You may not want to book two years in advance, but you can start looking at your ❑ B options. Instead of a cash deposit, ask if you can put a soft hold on a space with a written agreement giving you the first right to that date. If you put down money, ask what the refund policy is. ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑


❑ D  ecide if you want to hire a party planner. If so, start interviewing. Understand their services and how their cost structure works. Remember: you can hire a planner just for specific tasks including running events the day of.  tart thinking about a party theme. If you have a theme (even if it’s your child’s name or initials) then your ❑ S invitations, décor, party favors, etc. may all be coordinated.  rainstorm with your child about ideas for a mitzvah project. ❑ B

ONE YEAR BEFORE ❑ I f you are hiring a party planner, sign a contract. Keep a folder with copies of all contracts, your notes and contact information.  ign a contract with your venue and put down a deposit. Confirm what will be provided, including feeding the ❑ S outside staff you bring in, lighting, etc. ❑ Interview and sign your band or DJ. Now’s the time to check out a few recommended DJs/bands in person. ❑ Interview and sign a photographer/videographer. ❑ Interview and sign a florist. ❑ Plan the extra entertainment you want and sign contracts. Ask your DJ or party planner for recommendations. ❑ I nterview and sign a montage specialist. Begin organizing your photos and videos for inclusion. If you are doing it yourself, start now.

TEN MONTHS BEFORE ❑ F  irm up your guest list.  ook a block of hotel rooms for out of town guests. You can often get a ❑ B discounted rate if you guarantee a certain number of rooms. Do this even earlier if it’s over a holiday weekend or a busy time of year like June or December.  et up a website with all the details of your party. Go to mitzvahs.myevent. ❑ S com to create a personalized site with hotel information, weekend events and details about your child’s mitzvah project. Include the URL on your save-thedate cards.  et up a spreadsheet to keep track of invites, RSVPs, gifts, thank you notes sent out, etc. ❑ S  end out a Save the Date card or email. This is especially important if your event if over a holiday weekend and ❑ S for out-of-towners who need to buy plane tickets in advance.  hoose and order invitations. ❑ C


SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE ❑ B  egin planning/booking other weekend events. These can include a Friday night dinner, Kiddush after services and Sunday brunch.  ave florist or party planner show you a sample centerpiece. ❑ H ❑ Hire a calligrapher to address the invitations. ❑ B  egin shopping for clothes for the special day/weekend.  egin thinking about what you want to do for a sign-in. ❑ B


White Light

❑ P  lan the menu and do a tasting with your venue/caterer.

Photograph y & Video

 et invitations to calligrapher and order personalized stamps. ❑ G  rder party favors. ❑ O  rder cake if you want a specialty design. ❑ O  rrange for buses to transport guests to events. ❑ A  lan the candle lighting ceremony. ❑ P

TWO MONTHS BEFORE ❑ M  ail the invitations. Traditionally this is done 6-8 weeks before the date.  ake a play list of “must have” songs for band or DJ. ❑ M  ake a detailed timeline of your event. Work with the venue or party planner on this. Decide who will say the ❑ M prayers over the bread and wine.  e-confirm all vendors and timing. ❑ R  ake arrangements if you are donating your centerpieces. ❑ M  ook a hairdresser and make-up person. ❑ B  rite speeches. ❑ W ❑ I f you are doing a program for synagogue, have it printed.

ONE MONTH BEFORE ❑ D  o dress/suit fittings.  rder personalized kippot. Check first if your synagogue allows them. ❑ O  urchase a tallit. ❑ P  all any guests who haven’t sent in RSVPs and make a final seating chart. Print out place cards or have ❑ C calligrapher start doing it.  ake a list for photographer of “must have” group shots you want. ❑ M  ut together welcome baskets for out-of-towners. Arrange to have these delivered to their hotels. ❑ P

ONE WEEK BEFORE ❑ H  ave a dress rehearsal. The synagogue will usually arrange this so you know the sequence of events.  ave everyone in the family try on their synagogue/party outfits. This is ❑ H especially important with growing teens. Make sure everything fits and that you have all the parts (belts, accessories, etc.).  chedule a photo shoot. Some families take photos in the synagogue during ❑ S the week before if this isn’t allowed on Shabbat.  ive the final guest count to venue/caterer. ❑ G  inalize the seating chart. ❑ F  o a final re-confirm with all vendors, including hair and make-up. ❑ D  emember to relax, enjoy, and savor this special moment! ❑ R Salzman & Ashley Studios



Getting Ready for the Service BY MARLA J. WASSERMAN

Though most of us know this already, it’s helpful to remind yourself and your child that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah is not the party afterwards but the religious duties he/she performs during the service. Sometimes the emphasis can fall more on the celebration than the actual religious milestone. Here is a checklist to keep your family on track with the real elements of the big day. ONE YEAR TO EIGHTEEN MONTHS BEFORE ❑ ❑

Meet with a member of the clergy. You and your child will want to find out what your synagogue requires. Some require that the child attend a certain number of services and perform a mitzvah project. Your child will be assigned a Torah portion. You may have known this years before if your synagogue assigns dates early, but now’s the time to start researching the Torah portion to get familiar with the story.

SIX TO EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE ❑ Begin working on a mitzvah project. There are many organizations that are happy to help your child put together a project. You may also want to discuss with your child the idea of donating a percentage of his or her monetary gifts to charity (sometimes a denomination of chai, 18). ❑ Learn the elements of the service. If you are not a regular synagogue attendee, you may want to begin to attend Shabbat services as a family to get a feel for the service and understand what your child will be undertaking. Remember, becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a process and not a single day in your child’s life.

SIX MONTHS BEFORE ❑ Start working with a tutor. The synagogue may provide one or you can hire your own to work with your child (usually once a week) to learn the Torah portion and haftorah.

THREE MONTHS BEFORE ❑ Your child should begin writing his or her D’var Torah. ❑ Decide who will receive aliyahs and other honors during the service. ❑ Plan the siblings’ role. This event is so much about family, but siblings—particularly younger ones—can get lost in the shuffle. Be sure that everyone feels a part of this meaningful moment. ❑ Check in with your child’s tutor and the clergy. Make sure that your child is on track and that you know all your responsibilities for the day, including sponsoring a kiddush, ordering flowers, etc. ❑ Order personalized Judaica for your child. A special tallis or kippah can add to the sentimentality of the day.

ONE MONTH BEFORE ❑ Coordinate a rehearsal with your synagogue. This is also a good time to take a step back and revel in how far your child has come toward becoming a Jewish adult. ❑ Order tallit and kippot for celebrant. ❑ Order personalized kippot for your guests.



MITZVAHNOMICS BY MARLA J. WASSERMAN No matter what kind of celebration you plan for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, there are many costs involved. First, you need to decide what kind of party to have and what extras to include. Do you want to spend more money on the entertainment or the food? Do you want to hire a magician or have the kids make flip books? What other events will you host? We’ve provided a list of all of the potential costs. Check off those that pertain to your party and how much you want to budget for each. Planning ahead and keeping track of your expenses will help you develop a realistic picture of the total costs. FOR THE SYNAGOGUE

Synagogue Fees Ask what costs are associated with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah service.

$ _______


Programs Some families choose to print a program or brochure to explain the service rituals and who is participating.

$ _______


Kippot See if your synagogue allows personalized kippot before ordering.

$ _______


Flowers Do you need to provide flowers for the bimah?

$ _______


Tallit Are you purchasing a new tallit for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child or using one from a family member?

$ _______


Kiddush If you plan to host a buffet or luncheon following services, ask your synagogue what costs are involved (food, staff, flowers, linens, etc.) If there is another celebrant, see if you can share the costs.

$ _______



Invitations These can range from expensive custom invites to do-it-yourself homemade ones.

$ _______


Thank You Notes

$ _______


Save the Date Cards

$ _______


Table Place Seating Cards

$ _______


Calligraphy If you decide to hire someone to hand write your place cards and/or envelopes.

$ _______


Postage Make sure to weigh an envelope with all enclosures to determine the final cost. For an extra fee, you can order customized stamps through many websites including and

$ _______



Clothes for synagogue and party for your child and other family members

$ _______


Hair and makeup

$ _______




Transportation Will you transport out-of-town guests from the hotel to the synagogue and to the party if it is off site? You may also need transportation for children attending without parents.

$ _______


Additional Meals Are you having out-of-town guests for Friday night dinner and/or Sunday brunch?

$ _______

Welcom Gifts for Hotel Guests

$ _______




Party Planner (if you choose to use one)

$ _______



$ _______


Caterer Food may be included in the total rate, but can be additional.

$ _______


Band or DJ Keep in mind you will be charged extra for dancers and motivators and be sure to factor in feeding the extra staff.

$ _______


Entertainment This varies widely depending on the type and quantity of activities you bring in.

$ _______



$ _______



$ _______



$ _______


Montage Specialist You can hire a specialist or ask your DJ/Entertainment company if they can put together a creative montage of photos and videos.

$ _______



$ _______


Custom Cake

$ _______


Party Favors

$ _______


Giveaways Some DJs supply giveaways they hand out on the dance floor; others may ask you to supply your own or you may want to supplement their offerings. Ask what’s included in their fee.

$ _______


Socks Sounds odd, but trust us, girls will often take off their shoes for dancing and will want to don socks for sliding around the floor.

$ _______


Exit Treats Many parties include candy bars, coffee trucks and other fun food as guests exit the party.

$ _______

Tips There may be some staff you would like to tip afterwards.

$ _______




To find additional Bar/Bat Mitzvah vendors, visit’s Vendor Directory

Clergy and Service Preparations

516-325-6804 Cantor David Krasner became the youngest Cantor at age 16 in 2007. He has taught many B’nai Mitzvah students with great success. Cantor Krasner was ordained by the Jewish Ministers Cantors Association of America.

Cantor Barbra


David Schwartz Magic

Entertainment: DJs/Music/Band

Interactive Entertainment Group

866-496-3168 Turn your pictures into confetti to make your event personalized and memorable! Photofetti is 1” pieces of confetti made from images you upload, e-mail or mail to us, mingled with colorful accent pieces! Your event will be unique and fun!

EK Productions LTD.

287 N. Central Avenue, Ramsey, NJ 201-788-6653 Jewish lifecycles are a time of growth when we express ourselves through ritual. Cantor Barbra is available to serve your needs whether it is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah for your child, your own wedding, or the naming of your child.

474 Wild Avenue, Staten Island, NY 1-800-PARTY-NY, 1-888-PARTY-NJ, 718-982-6000,, E.K. Productions, servicing the tri-state area for 30 years, is a boutique DJ Entertainment and Event Planning company. We offer one of a kind advanced DJ set-ups, lighting & video designs along with EK Apparel Prints, our new favor division.

Rabbi William Kurry


100 Little Silver Parkway, Little Silver, NJ 732-245-9965 Whether you are in need of an interfaith Rabbi, or the traditional temple hebrew school isn’t the right fit for you, Rabbi Bill Kurry, along with a certified teacher, provides Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation and ceremony for the unaffiliated and interfaith families at any location of your choice.

Decor - Balloons/Centerpieces/Flowers Awesome Events

1750 Australian Avenue, Suite 3, Riveria Beach, FL 561-881-8705 Awesome Events has reasonable priced DIY centerpieces & candle lighting Kits. Our kits are easy to assemble & custom designs are available. Styrofoam theme shapes & lettering in many sizes & colors, plus a full line of centerpiece supplies. We service the entire United States.

Backdrops Fantastic

478-750-8061 Backdrops Fantastic® rents and sells high quality hand-painted themed backdrops for special events, themed parties, and photo ops. The perfect finishing touch for your Mitzvah!


800-892-9792 Make your celebration unique with Custom Statues (centerpieces) and Puzzles (candle lighting ceremony) made from YOUR PHOTOS of YOUR CHILD! Unique and Personal, Fotoforms will remain cherished keepsakes for years to come.


914-419-3610 Imagine your child rockin’ out on guitar, drums, keyboard or singing with a great band. Guests can perform as well. Coolest party of the season.

Entertainment: Games/Amusements/ Interactive Activities Amazing Bottle Dancers

800-716-0556 The surprise highlight! Spectacular Bar/Bat Grand Entrance and highenergy Klezmer hora. Kids & Adults LOVE US! Some great options: Unique Candle Lighting or interactive Bottle Dance Contest for the kids! See our videos!

Artemix Entertainment Inc.

159 N 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 1-888-ARTEMIX Artemix boasts a team of over 20 artists specializing in super creative airbrushed party favors as well as over 10 unique types of temporary tattoos. Let’s work together to make your entertainment stand out from the pack!

Builder Birthdays

123 West 71st Street, New York , NY 917-780-2345 Perfect for your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah! Budding engineers, game designers, or programmers love our hands-on parties! Choose Minecraft, Laser Tag, Video Game Design & Coding, Rocket Scientists, Robotics, or Inventors! Fun, hands-on, and unforgettable!

Glen Cove, NY 917-453-0046 David Schwartz’s expert sleight-of-hand and easygoing humor will entertain and delight your guests, leaving them smiling, laughing and amazed. 425 Oser Avenue, #3C, Hauppauge, NY 516-349-5988 Interactive Entertainment Group is Full Service Entertainment Company. DJ/MC’s, Interactive Games, Photo Booths, Mini Donuts, Virtual Reality and more. Full time planners on staff. Visit our showroom!

Party Service Company

319 E. 46th Street, Brooklyn, NY 631-568-3481 Party Service offers the most unique entertainment for Bar Bat Mitzvah celebrations.

Simon Elliot Events

516-586-6822 Simon Elliot Events specializes in photo and video production, extra entertainment services, large format printing, graphic design and web development, and event planning services.

Event Planners Party Art Productions

P.O. Box 846, Suffern, NY 845-357-3318 Party Art Productions provides “art and artists for the party”. The ultimate in personalized theme décor, top unique entertainment and quality party favors.

Planned To Perfection

Ramsey, NJ 646-594-4973 Planned to Perfection is a full-service event planning company. We offer a range of services from full coordination to “day of services.” Call us for a complimentary consultation. We can accommodate your every need.

Prosper Lankry Design

33-34th Street, Brooklyn, NY 917-434-3889 Henna Decoration specializes in Moroccan-themed furniture rentals and full-service event planning. We create magical experiences your guests won’t forget!

Rubel Event Management

Maplewood, NJ 917-886-8609 Full-service event planning. We’ll plan the Mitzvah of your dreams within your style and budget. We handle all details so you can relax and celebrate!

Successful Affairs

208 E 28th St., New York 212-684-6402 Don’t just plan an event, create an atmosphere! With close to 3 decades of experience, Successful Affairs turns their client’s dreams into reality!

The Event Of A Lifetime, Inc.

914-762-5770, 212-251-0163 The Event Of A Lifetime is a full service event planning company that can assist with all aspects of the planning process to ensure that the experience is stress free and enjoyable.

Fashion - Apparel/Jewelry 2 B Seen

206 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 516-921-5777 2 B Seen is Long Island’s best dress boutique for Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, Proms, Mother Of the Bride/ Groom and all happy occasions! Free Alterations.

Charlotte’s Closet

14 Vanderventer Suite L7, Port Washington , NY 516-570-0200 Charlotte’s Closet is the leading online destination where young fashionistas can rent designer dresses for every occasion including mitzvahs at up to 75% off retail. Charlotte’s Closet also has a showroom where local customers can book a private fitting to find their dream dress.

Rissy Roo’s

Cornerstone Commerce Center, 1201 New Road, Linwood, NJ 866-779-7667 Rissy Roo’s features special occasion designer dresses for women of all ages. Find the perfect dress for Bat Mitzvah, Prom, Sweet 16, Graduation, plus more!


973-207-2401 Custom, made to order Bling Converse. Let your daughter sparkle and shine on her big day with Bling sneaks custom made just for her.

Favors - Wearables/Photos/Novelties A Promos USA dba The ImageMaker & Aarrow Promotions

143 E. Merrick Road, Freeport, NY and by appointment only 210 Terminal Road, Plainview, NY 800-987-8766 Unique Printed and Embroidered Party Favors. Factory Direct, Huge Showroom, Zipper T-Hoodies – $13.75 Printed! Flannels, T-shirts, Girly Shirts, Sweatshirts, Jerseys, Mesh Shorts, Bags, Towels & More.

Alevei Jewelry

300 Winston Drive #1715, Cliffside Park, NJ 917-859-7102 or 917-273-7848 Alevei Jewelry makes your event memorable with customized bracelets that match your party theme. Sweets, travel, sports, movies, favorite team….on and on!

Do Me A Favour

917-763-8223 GET THE WOW FACTOR! Everything Party from creative custom mitzvah logos to fabulous favors including custom lounge pillows, unique sign in pillows/books/boards, custom socks, custom step and repeat banners, custom seating ideas and DJ giveaways.


Franklin Lakes, NJ 973-715-1015 Favor-it! delivers top-quality, fun and innovative personalized favors, for any event. Sweatshirts, t-shirts, flannel pants, shorts, pinnies and more from cutting edge brands.

Fester Custom Airbrushing

954-747-0712 It’s not just Airbrushing, it’s ART! Fester can turn any occasion into a pARTy! Quality airbrushing services from a professional, friendly & creative family operation!

Jaylor Party Favors

516-643-2511 JAYLOR is the ultimate in Trend-Setting Screen Printed and Embroidered wearable party favors. We have over 20 years’ experience creating unique and desirable custom themed designs that will create memories to last a lifetime!

The Image Makers

79 St. Johns Avenue, Yonkers, NY 914-963-8551 Quality photo favors. Professional, experienced, affordable. Innovative photo items: Smart phone covers, Photo candy boxes, Step & Repeat designs & custom green screen backgrounds. Call for a no obligation appointment.

The Lanyard Ladies

464 Jericho Turnpike, Mineola, NY 516-578-2248 Custom Made Shoelace Charm Bracelets. Choose your shoelace, your charm and watch your bracelet being made. Completely customizable. We also offer bracelet making, glitter tattoos, hair feathers.

Food Chocolate Velvet Fountains

64 Jules Drive, Staten Island, NY 718-698-0888 Make your special day special for everyone! Order the #1 chocolate fountain company in NY and NJ. First Time Discounts - Free Cotton Candy / Pop corn Machine. Chocolate Fountains / Ice Cream Sundaes / Photo Booths.

Garelick & Herbs

3611 Post Road, Southport, CT 203-254-3727 x:3 Garelick and Herbs has a passion for making celebrations perfect in every way. Our food is known for being stunningly presented and abundantly delicious.

Tobo Foods

516-623-4624 Tobo Foods offers a unique concept specializing in after party dessert and food service for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. They provide the finest of products at reasonable prices.

Gifts/Gift Baskets Israel Bonds - Development Corporation for Israel

999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale, NY 914-713-9003 Express your commitment to the future strength of the State of Israel and celebrate a Bar/Bat Mitzvah with a gift of Israel Bonds beginning at just $36.

Hotels Delamar Greenwich Harbor / L’Escale

500 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, CT 203-413-3599 Delamar Greenwich Harbor is an ideal venue for special events with over 2300 sq ft of private event space, including a private waterfront terrace. The hotel’s full-service event team creates magical events, with catering customized by Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer and the kitchen at L’Escale.

Melville Marriott Long Island

1350 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 631-673-4325 At the Melville Marriott, you will find the perfect balance of elegance, sophistication and exquisite cuisine that will make your Bar Bat Mitzvah celebration unforgettable.

Invitations - Calligraphy/Stamps Bees Cards

661-618-9413 Bees Cards specializes in unique, theme-based invitations custom designed for your event. In addition to invitations we offer save-the-date, RSVP, information, custom thank you, table and place cards along with anything else involving paper.

Cutie Patootie Creations

704-776-0738 Cutie Patootie Creations specializes in Custom Designed Bar & Bat Mitzvah Invitations, Party Decor, Party Logos, Dance Floor Party Socks, Sign in Boards, Personalized Napkins, Party Favors, Place Cards, Stickers and Labels, Pillows, Candy Buffet Supplies, Vinyl Banners and Signs, Menu’s, Temple Programs & More!

Dear Friends

Woodbury, NY 516-367-7877, 516-456-2514 Dear Friends sells custom invitations, by appointment only. Owner, Dara Grunberg, gives the utmost attention to detail, artistic originality and will help to meet your budget without compromising the quality of her invitations.

Informally Yours

6 Meadowlark Road, Rye Brook, NY 914-939-9003 Debbie brings you 20 years of experience, helping you design the perfect invitation for your Bar Bat Mitzvah celebration.

888-497-3581 has been providing quality invitations at affordable prices since 1999. Our experienced staff will provide you with superior customer service from start to finish.

Low Schmaltz Invitations

Chicago, IL Low Schmaltz offers unique, themed Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah invitations – from Rock Star to Movie Star to Sports Star – for the big event.

Pretty Paper & Polka Dots

914-576-6920 Pretty Paper and Polka Dots is a home-based Bar Bat Mitzvah invitation and personalized stationery business owned and operated by Michelle Schwartz.

The Artist’s Palette

845-721-9529 The Artist’s Palette specializes in custom invitations, event logos, sign-in boards, and hand-made artistic creations such as candle lighting displays, place cards, and gift card boxes.

Israel Travel Ayelet Tours

19 Aviation Road, Albany, NY 800-237-1517 Ayelet Tours offers specialized Israel tours for Bar/Bat Mitzvah families, creating Memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s start planning your family’s Israel adventure Today!

Judaica Kippahs Your Way

P.O. Box 300848, Brooklyn , NY 866-692-1975 You will find a wide selection of high-quality, modern kippahs suitable for any occasion. We are Jewish attire specialists and will work with you to give you just what you want!


855-75-KIPPA Pic-A-Kippa creates custom picture Kippas in a completely new, unique way. Our super high quality, affordable Kippas have low minimums and 5 star customer service.

Tallis Man

+972507943156 Handmade & custom made tallitot for bar mitzvah, wedding or any other occasion. Unique designs, made on traditional weaving looms in Israel.

Tallit By Ina Bearak Helfand

914-656-2816 Custom made and original one of a kind Talliot for B’not Mitzvah and adults. Cotton, cotton/poly/silk and /or poly sheer may be combined with fabric heirlooms to create a more personal prayer shawl.


To find additional Bar/Bat Mitzvah vendors, visit’s Vendor Directory

That One Special Touch

Syosset, NY 516-496-1025 For all your last minute Bar/Bat Mitzvah needs - Yarmulkes & Ladies Headcoverings, Custom Decorated Yarmulke & Ladies Room Baskets, Socks, Hotel & Favor Bags and Large Acrylic Sign-Ins.

The Tallis Lady

201-321-4995 Lisa, the Tallis Lady specializes in selling the most beautiful collection of tallitot for men, women, and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

Dave & Buster’s (other locations) Times Square: 243 W. 42nd St., 3rd Floor New York, NY 646-495-2015 Islandia: L.I.E. @ Vets. Memorial Hwy Islandia, NY 631-787-1406


Westbury: The Mall at the Source Westbury, NY 516-247-6337 A multi-level private party room complete with a huge presentation screen and an array of A/V equipment. 50,000 square feet of serious food and outrageous fun that guarantees your child’s party will be fun, entertaining and above all memorable.


Fox Hollow Catering, Restaurant & Hotel

202 East 77th street, New York, NY 212-861-4330 Known for over 30 years as “The Bar & Bat Mitzvah place.” D,J., balloon and food connections. Reasonable.

Atlantis Banquets & Events

431 East Main Street, Riverhead, NY 631-574-8008 Your once-in-a-lifetime celebration deserves our upscale kosher-style catering including a variety of menu items, incomparable service and our spectacular aquatic displays, all in our one-of-a-kind waterfront venue.

Chateau Briand Caterers

440 Old Country Road, Carle Place, NY 516-334-6125 Chateau Briand Caterers is Long Island’s premier venue for special events. Call us to schedule a tour.

Chelsea Piers 62 Chelsea Pier New York, NY 212-336-6777

1 Blachley Road, Stamford, CT 203-989-1005 From sports activities to DJ & dinner receptions, let Chelsea Piers customize a Mitzvah celebration your family and friends will never forget!

Dave & Buster’s

Palisades: Palisades Center West Nyack, NY 845-348-6006 Pelham: 881 Pelham Parkway Pelham, NY914-380-8506


7725 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY 516-921-1415 Fox Hollow is a destination on Long Island featuring a state of the art event venue, boutique hotel & fine dining restaurant.

Grand Plaza

23A Nelson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 718-967-4034 Whatever the occasion, you and your guests can count on enjoying the very best of everything from the moment you arrive at the Grand Plaza.

Hard Rock Cafe New York 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 212-343-3355

Yankee Stadium: 1 East 161st Street, Gate 6 Bronx, NY 646-977-8888 Sophistication infused with funk, the Hard Rock Café New York offers stellar service and modern elegance. Come experience the cuisine, music and distinctive design. Day or night there is something to fit every mood and satisfy every impulse.

Hornblower Cruises & Events

353 West St. 646-576- 8412 Hornblower Cruises & Events is about creating amazing experiences. Every day we provide memorable occasions for people celebrating milestones.

iPlay America

110 Schanck Road, Freehold, NJ 732-577-8200, x383 State-of-the-art event spaces at this New Jersey venue offer a unique setting for your teen’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Lessing’s at Stonebridge Country Club

2000 Raynors Way, Smithtown, NY 631-656-6899 Celebrate this milestone in “Lessings’ Style”, at the newly renovated Stonebridge Country Club in Smithtown. We look forward to hearing from you. Mazel Tov!

Meadow Wood Manor

461 New Jersey 10, Randolph, NJ 973-537-5454 We invite you to host your child’s mitzvah celebration at our beautiful banquet facility. We promise your event will certainly be one to remember! Mazel Tov!

MetLife Stadium

One MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 201-559-1642 Host your Mitzvah Celebration at MetLife Stadium, Home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants, and be dazzled by our innovative winning cuisine at our Championship Venue.


491 S. Dean Street, Englewood, NJ 201-567-3810 SPACE is a one-stop shop incredible venue that includes eveything you need to make your event unforgettable! We own all, so there’s no need for rentals! All inclusive venue, menu, entertainment, decor and staff.

Steel Event Space

39 Post Avenue, Westbury, NY 516-686-9950 Steel Event Space is the premiere hot spot to hold your event on Long Island. Specializing in all inclusive Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16’s, Wedddings, Quinceaneras, Engagement Parties, Corporate Events, and any other celebration.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Mathews Park, 303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT 203-899-0606 Stepping Stones Museum for Children is a one-of-a-kind space that will make your child’s Bar Bat Mitzvah something to remember.

The Cutting Room NYC

44 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016 212 691-1900 Our unique, prestigious performance venue, restaurant and bar can be tailored to accommodate small intimate or large Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.


To find additional Bar/Bat Mitzvah vendors, visit’s Vendor Directory

The Rock Club

130 Rhodes Street, New Rochelle, NY 914-633-ROCK The Rock Club is an amazing alternative venue for a Bar Bat Mitzvah combining rock climbing and dancing with club sound and lighting.

The Sands at Atlantic Beach

1395 Beech Street, Atlantic Beach, NY 516-317-4000, The Sands Atlantic Beach is the perfect destination for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration. Check out their special deal/discount on all inclusive and package pricing.


Riverdale Square Mall 92 Route 23 North, Riverdale, NJ 973-333-4737 Vibe – NJ’s first nightclub style, private party event space. Featuring state-of-the-art sound, lighting, special effects and giant screen video systems designed with families in mind.

Watermill Caterers

711 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown, NY 631-724-3242 Experience the ALL NEW Watermill in Smithtown! Newly renovated featuring state of the art amenities and breathtaking décor throughout!

Mitzvah Project ALEH

Rechov Harikma 9 P.O. Box 36163, Jerusalem, 91361 Israel 866-717-0252 Celebrate your Bar/Bat Mitzvah with the disabled children of ALEH. Do the ultimate act of kindness and chesed – help give kids who can’t walk, talk or even breathe on their own a chance to live a better, happier life.

Montages Images4ever

Short Hills, NJ 973-945-0573 Images4ever produces professional DVD montages that make your pictures come to life. You will get a one of kind montage that you will treasure forever.

Magic Pictures by Video Keepsakes Inc.

888-854-7278 Amazing 3D Themed Bar & Bat Mitzvah Montages that are designed with your THEME. Our Montages are unique and unusual and are sure to delight.


Party Details - Logos, Candle Lighting & Extras Goodie Pails

516-987-7481 Add some flair to your next event with GoodiePails! GoodiePails are custom pails personalized with your own photos. What a wonderful way to incorporate your personality into your next big event. They also make for a great gift for many special occasions.

Lauren’s Logos

516-277-1252 Great parties start with a great LOGO! Get the perfect custom designed LOGO and create a one-of-a-kind signature brand for your celebration.

646-652-7512 Simplify your simcha! With this comprehensive web-based planning tool, you have access to all the details of your celebration including the guest lists, seating arrangements, invitations, favors, transportation, honors, candle lighting, and much more.

Party Logo Design

Westchester County, NY 914-432-8835 Party Logo Design creates logos for Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvah’s, B’nai Mitzvahs and Sweet Sixteens.

Poems By Carolyn

Woodbury, NY 516-312-0727 Poems by Carolyn is a creative writing service for all special occasions including Bar Bat Mitzvahs, sweet 16’s, milestone birthdays, anniversaries and more.

Photography/Videography Brad Photographers & Video Inc./Goodnight Productions

28 Mandon Drive, Wayne, NJ 973-696-8763 Our goal at Brad Photographers and Good Night Production is to provide quality photography and wonderful memories at an affordable price. DJ services, video and decor - we do it all!

Julie Markes Photography

917-224-2859 Julie Markes is a photojournalist, portrait, and event photographer with a specialty shooting Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. She will capture one of the most important days in the life of your son or daughter with grace and skill in images that you will treasure for a lifetime.

Salzman & Ashley

1 Dupont Street, Plainview, NY 516-349-9500 “Photography at its finest preserving your memories forever…” Specializing in innovative posters and uniquely designed albums by our exclusive art department.

Sarah Merians Photography & Videography

419 Park Avenue South Suite 1302, New York, NY 212-633-0502 Sarah Merians Photography & Videography Company offers a wide range of products and services for Bar Bat Mitzvah famililes. We will capture and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Todd Shapera Photography

429 Old Sleepy Hollow Road, Pleasantville, NY 914-631-8353 Todd Shapera captures events as a stort teller with relaxed, elegant, beautifully lit photography. He has received numerous International WedAward’s and Event/Wedding Wire awards.

White Light Photography & Video

80 Tec Street, Hicksville, NY 516-933-3399 White Light Photography & Video is a highly skilled, professional and detail oriented company run by a young, energetic staff with a passion for visual production.

Security Bar Mitzvah Bouncer Inc.

973-758-9800, 631-367-1519 We specialize in the supervision of children at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Enjoy the big day while we supervise the children. Our services include supervision of the kids at the party, the temple service and on transportation to/from the party.

Boards/Books

631-374-3399 specializes in Surfboard and Snowboard signin boards and table centerpieces. Each board is hand painted by artist and therefore one of a kind.

The Pieced Palette

Chappaqua, NY 914-420-1746 Your logo/invitation is enlarged and printed on fabric, then made into a comfy Sign-In pillow, beanbag chair, huge floor pillow, or wearables such as ties. Smaller sizes available for unique gifts and/or lounge pillows. We ship nationally.

YOU’RE INVITED... Join the Conversation Bar Bat Mitzvah Facebook Groups

Ask questions, share ideas and get advice from other families who are also in the planning process. New Jersey: Type in FB: “New Jersey Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning”

Westchester/Rockland/Fairfield: Type in FB: “Westchester-Rockland-Fairfield Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Group”

New York City: Type in FB: “New York City Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Group”

Long Isand: Type in FB: Long Island Bar and Bat Mitzvah Planning

Share These Groups With Your Bar Bat Mitzvah Planning Friends!

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Celebrate! PARTY SHOWCASE 2016 October 16

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November 6 November 20

Westminster Melville Marriott Hotel Livingston

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New Jersey Long Island Westchester M eet DJ’s


Marriott Tarrytown

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Courtesy of EK Productions


BACKGROUND 1. How many years of experience do you have doing Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations? 2. What do people say about your parties? 3. May I have some references of families who have used your services at a recent Bar or Bat Mitzvah party? 4. Will you guarantee a certain DJ/MC will be at my event? Will it be in the contract? Can I speak to that person? Tell me a little about him or her? Does he or she have other experience with working with teenagers? 5. Can we see you in action? (Most DJs have videos showing them performing so you can get a sense of their style and interactions with guests. Others will supply dates they are doing similar affairs so you can see them in person.)

GAMES, PHOTOS, FAVORS AND MORE! 9. Will you supply the giveaway party favors? Do we get to choose what we want? Is this an additional charge or is it included? If there is an additional charge, you can save money by purchasing these directly from novelty companies. 10. Do you have a zap shot photographer and the ability to show those photos on screens during the party? (If this is supplied by your photographer, have them coordinate with the entertainment company to make sure they have access to the screens.) 11. What other extras can you supply? Many DJs can supply arcade games, live musicians, magicians, photographers, video montages experts and more.

PARTY TIME 6. What attire will the MC, DJ and dancers be wearing? Ask this if you have any preference. You may want them to wear black shirts and bowties if it’s a formal affair or have a more casual look for a club theme. You also may not want the dancers to be dressed too scantily. Some families provide T-shirts with the party logo for a coordinated look. 7. Do you bring all your own equipment or do you need the venue to supply anything? Also, do you have backup equipment and other MCs and DJs available in case of emergency or illness? 8. Will you work with us to create a timeline of the event and when to add in such special activities as the hora, candle lighting ceremony and montage? (Coordinate this with the venue as well.)

THE BOTTOM LINE & OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS 12. What is your fee and what does it include (including number of people they will bring, how many hours they will play, etc.)? Are there any other fees? Be clear about this. Some entertainment companies charge for parking, travel expenses, etc. Finally, what about tipping—ask what is customary. 13. Are you insured? 14. Am I expected to feed the crew? If so, ask your venue or caterer to supply sandwiches and determine cost beforehand so there are no last minute surprises when they charge you for a full price meal for each person. 15. What is your cancellation policy? •


Mitzvah Market Magazine 2016-17 Issue  
Mitzvah Market Magazine 2016-17 Issue