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Celebrating the Joys of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

Planning Bar and Bat Mitzvah Celebrations With Your Child

For Jewish families, this important rite of passage is a profoundly meaningful moment in a family's history. It represents the calling to the Torah, a stepping over the threshold into adult responsibilities, including taking charge of one's own spiritual life. Because mitzvah celebrations require so much study, planning, and preparation ahead of time to make them happen, they can become sources of stress, though.

To keep that from happening, make it something you and your preteen plan and prepare for together, says Debra Beck, a teen mentor and founder of Spirited Youth and author of My Feet Aren't Ugly!: A Girl's Guide to Loving Herself from the Inside Out.

Unless you are absolutely wedded to a certain type of event, ask your teen what type of bar or bat mitzvah celebration he or she wants to have and help your child carry out this unique vision.

If conflicts come up during the planning process, work through them by asking your preteen for solutions. If your child wants to invite more people than you have the budget for, for example, put it in your preteen's corner. Say "Here are the funds I've set aside; how do you want to spend them?"

If it's really important to your teen to have all his friends and classmates there, perhaps he'll be willing to forego music in order to feed more people, for example. Or, he could kick in the additional funds himself. You could say, "Here's how much more we'll need; you have four months left to earn it, so let's think of ways for you to do that."

Keep everyone focused on the idea that what matters is a memorable event for your family and friends that everyone will look back on and feel good about.

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