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Whose Bar Mitzvah Is It Anyway?

June 26, 2016 | by Stephanie D. Lewis

Some theme party ideas for adults considering a belated Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

“Today I am a man … but I still have to listen to my mom and make my bed.” That was the beginning of my son’s paradoxical Bar Mitzvah speech and it brought a few chuckles. There’s no question parents remain in charge of 13 year-olds, but ever stop to wonder how much control the grown-ups should exert over the Bar/Bat Mitzvah itself?

How about the: “Who Do You Think I Am, The Maid?” Theme

In the 2006 movie Keeping Up With The Steins, scenes of a Titanic themed Bar Mitzvah depict how over-the-top some parents become when conceptualizing these milestones. I’d justify the director utilized this particular theme so he could make lame jokes about Goldbergs, Rosenbergs and Icebergs ­­­ – but nobody asked me for script analysis.

Nonetheless most of the time it’s the parents (and by parents, I mean mothers!) influencing the way these simchas unfold, and if pressed (and they’re honest) some might admit secretly orchestrating these occasions to impress their own age group.

Therefore if we want to have fun (and we do, right?) with the premise of adults pushing the limits so their mid-life guests (who may never have had a Bar Mitzvah when they were younger) will get a kick out of it, I submit the following ideas:

Aging Theme

This theme needn’t be depressing at all; it can be energizing and lively. Choose beautiful but fragile gray paper for the invitation and crumple it in a wad so it gets nicely wrinkled. Construct centerpieces of reading glasses on chains placed at jaunty angles atop orange Metamucil containers. Serve an entrée called “Past Your Prime-Rib paired with Forgetful Farfalle.” Beverages include coffee/iced tea and Dr. Pepper, which is poured by appointment only. Lift people up and down in wheelchairs during the Hora.

Losing Weight Theme

Direct guests to sit at the Sugar-Free, Fat-Free, Sodium-Free, or Gluten-Free table with place cards shaped like scales. Project Jenny Craig’s picture onto the dance floor. Use measuring tapes (for checking lost inches) as napkin rings. Serve Opti-Fast chocolate shakes (613 calories) in beautiful crystal goblets. And nothing more.

Dad’s Stock Market Theme

Bulls and Bears comprise the masculine room décor because everyone knows it’s a jungle on Wall Street. Serve Mergers, Burgers & French-fried Acquisitions. Hire a live band to crash cymbals together throughout lunch because it’s only a matter of time until history repeats with the crash of 1929. Party favors? Shares of Levi Strauss, since he was Jewish!

“Who Do You Think I Am, The Maid?” Theme

Squeaky-clean theme moms will relate to! Place “Welcome!” mats for guests to wipe their feet as they enter and immediately separate people into lights, darks, and colorfasts. Waiters dressed up as Mr. Clean, The Tidy-Bowl Man, and Madge The Manicurist lookalikes stroll around pointing at bowls of matzo ball soup, advising guests, “You’re soaking in it!” Strategically place beautiful blue Windex bottles and rags on all tables so guests can wipe up after themselves. To emphasize religion, hang a banner proclaiming, “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.”

Midlife Crisis Theme

Engrave invitations on Red Ferrari brochures. Craft clever centerpieces out of gold chains, hairpieces, and Botox injection syringes. Make sure entrée plates are mirrored so guests can keep glimpsing their own reflections as needed. Print marriage Ketubahs on cocktail napkins for added reinforcement to honor prior commitments.

“The Wedding We Never Had!” Theme

And why not??

Mom’s Day At the Spa Theme

Book a local spa and redecorate it to look like Israel. Photographs will look awesome with guests wearing mock “Dead Sea” mud masks.

Just always remember that when asked, “So what theme will the Bar Mitzvah be?” A good, solid answer is always, “Judaism!”

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