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Honoring your Bar or Bat Mitzvah child

According to Jewish law, when a Jewish boy or girl reaches 12 or 13-years-old, they've come of age and should learn the responsibilities and obligations they'll have as an adult. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony will be taken care of by the synagogue, but afterwards, amaze your friends and family with a stunning party.

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah service will be conducted by the rabbi in the morning and your child will say blessings in front of a substantial audience. This could very well be an extremely stressful time for them, as a lot of teenagers tend to be hesitant about public speaking outside their classroom. You could give your child a Bar/Bat Mitzah mint tin before the service and tell them to open it when they finish the service - this will give them something to look forward to.

Jewish holidays often follow a blue theme, but it's not required. You may want to give your teen the honor of selecting his favorite color for the theme and decorate the room according to his preferences. For instance, if it turns out he loves the color green, you can use this hue as inspiration when deciding on centerpieces, linens and seat covers.

Your guests may be hungry by the time they reach their table, so offer some snacks, hors d'oeuvres and treats. You can serve anything from pretzels to pastries to personalized religious caramel corn. Be sure to offer kosher and vegetarian dishes for those who cannot eat otherwise.

The music should be tailored to both the kids and adults. Your child may be adamant about the style of music he wants played, and it's appropriate to let him have some say, but try to mix in some swing, boogie and slow dance songs which will likely help your adult guests feel more comfortable.

You may not be allowed to take photos during the service, but you can certainly snap away during the celebration. Either hire a photographer or find yourself a reliable camera. Get a big family picture together frame it with an engraved silver photo keepsake box.

Most importantly, remember that this occasion honors your teenager and teaches them values which they will hold on to the rest of his life. L'chaim!