Bat Mitzvah Gift Ideas
Bat Mitzvah Gift Ideas
Are you heading to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? While 13 may be an insignificant birthday in other cultures, in the Jewish faith, it’s a special rite of passage. It allows young boys and girls to enter the next phase of their spiritual life.
You may wonder what gifts are appropriate for this occasion, what Bat Mitzvah gift etiquette is, or what the right Bar Mitzvah gift amounts are. People often feel a bit uneasy about selecting a present for a religious celebration because they don’t know what is appropriate. Before we jump into our gift guide, we thought it would be best to navigate gifts for the occasion by exploring this Jewish tradition a bit further before buying.
Traditional Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah Gifts
For reference, a Bat Mitzvah refers to the initiation ceremony and celebration of a Jewish girl at 12 years and one day. A Bar Mitzvah is an initiation and a celebration of the same kind for Jewish boys. It is a coming of age celebration.
Both celebrations signify the young woman or man becoming a legal adult under Jewish law. It means they can now participate in public worship and observe religious precepts.
Traditional Bar/Bat Mitzvah gifts include:
· A ritually significant amount of money
· Educational books
· Jewish ritual items
· A cookbook that celebrates Jewish cooking
· A personalized gift to the teen to foster their hobbies/passions
· Monogrammed gifts
How Much Should You Spend on a Bat Mitzvah Gift?
Gift-giving can feel a bit awkward. You never want to give a gift too “small” or insignificant, but you also must gift appropriately and within your means. Having to ask the question about Bat Mitzvah or Bar Mitzvah gift amount may be a bit odd at first but having a range to work between is often helpful in the end.
One of the most popular ways to gift at a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is via cash or a gift card. However, unlike other occasions where you may gift a round number like $50 or $100, it’s most common to give in multiples of $18. In the Jewish faith, 18 symbolizes “chai,” which means “life” in Hebrew. By giving cash in a multiple of $18, you’re gifting a long and happy life to a young person being celebrated.
For teens gifting to their peers, it’s pretty normal to give $36, $54, or $72. The amounts will ultimately depend on factors like the culture of your area, your family’s financial means, and how close they are to the recipient.
Gifting is a bit more complex for adult guests. One rule of thumb says to think about what you’d spend on an ordinary birthday gift and multiply that by 1.5. Just be sure to round up to the nearest multiple of 18.
Other Bat Mitzvah Gift Ideas
If you don’t want to go the cash route, you don’t have to. While that’s a standard route, it’s not the only appropriate gift. Here are some other meaningful ideas that are worth considering.
Jewelry is among the most popular items to gift the birthday teen. Some will pass on symbolic Jewish jewelry, while others will pass on new, meaningful pieces that they know the person can wear for years to come as a keepsake of their special day.
If you want something specifically related to the Jewish faith, consider a Star of David necklace, the Chai symbol, a Hamsa, a Mezuzah, or the tree of life. Jewish stars are one of the most popular traditional gifts for 13-year-old boys. You can go with a necklace, earrings, classic charm bracelet, ring, earrings, or cufflinks (depending on the recipient).
If you want something less traditional and more symbolic of their new adulthood, consider one of the following pieces.
Gold Initial Anklet
For the bat mitzvah girl that is a free spirit and has a bohemian style, an anklet is the perfect bat mitzvah jewelry fit. This is a high-quality, dainty gold chain anklet that she’ll have for years. It will feel extra personal with her initial on it. Bonus points if you customize this bat mitzvah present with Hebrew letters.
Asymmetrical Initial Necklace with Diamond
Another great option for someone who loves anything with their initial or monogram. Additionally, it features a subtle diamond on the strand as well. The Jewish people have long had a unique connection to the diamond industry. This diamond necklace features a simple initial with a diamond bezel.
Dainty Emerald Bracelet
The recipient can wear a beautiful and subtle bracelet with practically any outfit. This is perfect for anyone born in May or celebrating their bat mitzvah in May. Additionally, in Judaism, emeralds are associated with wisdom and devotion. Choose this gorgeous necklace in either white, yellow, or rose gold. She can wear it as a simple reminder of her new role in her faith.
Hebrew Nameplate Necklace
The best of both worlds! This allows a personalized name necklace that proudly showcases the wearer’s Jewish faith and marks the special occasion that is their Bat Mitzvah! The bat mitzvah girl will love this dainty Hebrew name necklace, and every time they wear it, they’ll remember the occasion they received it.
You can’t go wrong here if you’re worried about Bat Mitzvah gift etiquette. Judaica is the most traditional gift possible. Most non-Jewish people hear this word and say, “Uh, what?”
Judaica is Jewish ceremonial art. Jewish people use these objects for a variety of purposes. By gifting these items, you’re purchasing an essential religious item for them to continue their practice.
While this is an incredibly solid present, we suggest you reach out to the parents of the birthday boy or girl. Although some items (like Hanukkah menorahs) are fine to have duplicates of, it isn’t necessary for other items. They can help guide you toward what they may or may not need.
If you have free reign, here are some ideas for Judaica. These are considered classic Jewish gifts. If someone is not as religious, it would be best to choose a different gift.
Mezuzahs are often beautiful designs with a scroll inside that are hung on the entranceway of homes and doorways inside the home. It is a way for a Jewish woman or man to show their heritage proudly.
A tallit is a prayer shawl in the Jewish religion. Tallits are often handed down between generations.
Shabbat candles and Shabbat candlesticks
In the Jewish religion, Shabbat is a day of rest. There are varying degrees of how Shabbat is honored but from sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday, it is Shabbat. In the Torah, the story of creation states there are six days of work, and the 7th is a day of rest. It is common on Shabbat to light a candle.
A kiddush cup is a silver goblet that holds wine during blessings over the wine. Kiddush cups are another item that is often passed down between generations.
3. Educational Books
“Educational” books can go in numerous directions. In the most traditional sense, this would have you purchasing Jewish cultural-related books. However, not everyone feels comfortable or interested in doing this, depending on their relationship with the birthday boy or girl. If you want to do this, try to choose an author particularly suited for young people. We all remember what it was like to be bored reading a more “adult” book when young!
That said, you can also opt for a more fun route. Twelve and thirteen are both highly impressionable ages. If the child is a voracious reader, consider getting them a new book series. Perhaps even a book is set within a favorite genre that they haven’t explored yet.
4. Charitable or Educational Donations
Donating to a charity or the child’s education is also a standard option. If you decide to venture down the charity route, check to see if the family has specified whether they want to support a specific organization or cause.
If they have not (and you’ve double-checked with the host), select a Jewish nonprofit or charity by donating in their name. You can use the same Bar Mitzvah gift amount guidelines as above.
Additionally, if you’re attending the Bar or Bat Mitzvah of a close friend or loved one, you can always contribute to a pre-established 529 plan or another investment account in the child’s name. While they may not know exactly what this is, they’ll certainly thank you later!
In both scenarios, be sure to write a card to the boy or girl and include information about the charity and what the gift will contribute.
5. Jewish Cookbook
Finally, purchase the birthday boy or girl a cookbook. This is a traditional Bar Mitzvah gift because passing down Jewish meals is a significant part of the faith’s culture. It helps to prepare the child for conventional holidays and Shabbat meals on their own one day when they have their own household.
If you decide to go with this gift, make sure the cookbook is specifically written for the teenage age group. This will help keep them engaged and allow them to begin preparing meals for the entire family — an undertaking that can initially be a bit overwhelming.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah gift etiquette can feel a bit difficult to accomplish at first, but after a few celebrations, you’ll have it all under control. You just have to determine whether you want to stick to a more traditional gift or whether you favor something more personalized to the birthday boy or girl. Mazel tov is a Jewish phrase that means congratulations, so be sure to sign your card with it!
When in doubt, both cash and jewelry are simple and easy gifts. Remember, at the end of the day, you’re gifting to teenagers!
Our mission at Alexis Jae is to help people skip the middleman and invest in high-quality, ethically sourced jewelry. We are happy to work with each customer to help find the perfect gift.