The Ultimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration Book by Jayne Cohen and Lori Weinrott
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Book Reviews


The Jewish Exponent
“All the Page: The Best Big Day
Books to Buy”
August 26, 2004

By Gary M. Kramer

The authors of this fine guidebook offer Jewish history, advice, recipes, planning tools, and more. Putting the mitzvah into Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Cohen and Weinrott pepper their book with ways to refine and improve The Big Day.

Each chapter in the book includes a detailed description of the procedures and expectations of every part of the ritual – what to anticipate from the synagogue and the various aspects of the celebration. There are checklists for determining the proper space for one’s reception hall and guests, as well as what questions to ask the florists, caterers and entertainers as parents make the party preparations.

Wisely, the authors include personal stories that relate the experiences of various Bar/Bat Mitzvahs putting every facet of the ceremony into perspective. Several of these examples come from the Philadelphia area, as Cohen and Weinrott have organized many celebrations locally.

The authors also provide some very good advice about keeping tradition and ritual part of the ceremony so that the meaning of the vent is not lost either on the Bar/Bat mitzvah or on the attendees. Cohen and Weinrott emphasize that the focus should be the service, not the celebration. This is not to say that the party is unimportant; rather that the meaning will be in what the Bar/Bat Mitzvah does to personalize his/her day.

As such, perhaps the best suggestions made in The Ultimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations Book involve performing mitzvahs. There are some excellent recommendations, such as “twining” (linking a child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience with those of people in other countries) or tutoring kids at a school, for carrying the tradition of learning forward. These thoughts, about how to give back to the community are perhaps the most welcome advice.

Moreover, the authors emphasize that this important rite of passage if not just about finding the most appropriate way to celebrate; it means becoming a member of the Jewish community, and upholding all of the responsibilities that entails. For this message, The Ultimate bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration Book is truly worth celebrating.

The Ultimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration Book
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