Bar or Bat Mitzvah Gift Guide

What to get for the bar or bat mitzvah kid in your life.

Print this page Print this page

You've received a beautiful invitation in the mail and sent back your RSVP card. Now it’s time to figure out the perfect gift for the young man or woman who has invited you to this bar/bat mitzvah. Becoming bar or bat mitzvah is an important milestone in a young person’s life and being invited to celebrate with them is certainly an honor. Gifts are a way to congratulate them for the hard work they have done to get to this day and to commemorate their symbolic entrance into adulthood.

Choosing the right gift can be a difficult task. You want to give something thoughtful and that the recipient will enjoy. Gifts that match the recipient’s interests are always appreciated, such as a book of sheet music for the musical theatre lover or a nice baseball mitt for the sports enthusiast. Asking the parents about what their son or daughter would appreciate is also a great tactic. Many guests prefer to give a gift with symbolism or meaning. After all, you only become bar/bat mitzvah once!

Giving Money

Giving money is an easy way to assure that the recipient will enjoy the present, and if you are tight on time, it could be the best bet for you, too. Many young men and women apply the checks they receive to college funds or towards a more expensive item they’ve been wanting. There is some debate about the appropriate amount of money to give to a 12 or 13-year-old. Traditionally, checks are written out in $18 increments. The Hebrew letters for the word "life" (chai) are numerically equivalent to the number 18, and therefore this number holds great significance in Jewish tradition. But don’t worry – you don’t need to give in $18 increments! If $50 in cash sounds good to you, go for it. If cash or a check is not your cup of tea, a gift card to Amazon.com, iTunes, or Barnes and Noble would also be welcome.

Judaica Items

If you prefer to purchase a gift that you can wrap, a beautiful Judaica item is an excellent choice. This type of present can stay with the recipient throughout their life – you never outgrow a set of Sabbath candlesticks or a Hannukah menorah.

An artistic gift that also speaks to the universal value of helping the needy is a tzedakah box, which can be displayed as a piece of art but also used to collect money for charity. (In Hebrew, tzedek means “justice”). This classic tzedakah box design will fit into any Jewish home. Hung upon the doorposts of Jewish houses and the rooms within these homes, a mezuzah is a scroll (held within a beautiful case) inscribed with biblical text.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Arielle Sperling

Arielle Sperling is an editorial intern at MyJewishLearning and Kveller. She is a rising junior at Colgate University where she is double majoring in English with a creative writing concentration and environmental studies. Her work has appeared in The Jewish Week newspaper and The Colgate Portfolio.