At most bar and bat mitzvahs, close friends (and even some that are not so close) give the bar mitzvah boy or bat mitzvah girl a special speech or presentation. These presentations focus on special times, personal jokes, and other fun things between friends. Often times, the speeches will be presented during the adult cocktail hour, but this can vary from mitzvah to mitzvah.
After speaking with Beth Desmon of Mitzvah List, The Mitzvah Bowl and Mitzvah List decided to collaborate on an article regarding bar/bat mitzvah speeches. We figured that two heads were better than one! I posted several requests on Facebook and received feedback from parents and vendors from around the country. Mitzvah List asked several bar and bat mitzvah kids their thoughts on this topic. Between The Mitzvah Bowl and Mitzvah List, we came up with five steps for a successful bar or bat mitzvah presentation:
- Ask the mitzvah child’s parents when they want you to do the presentation.
As a mom who has planned 2 bat mitzvahs, I can tell you I had a very rigid timeline for our celebration. We wanted to keep the party moving along and maximize our time on the dance floor! To the children involved in a presentation, my advice would be to make sure you let the parents know about the mitzvah presentation at least a week in advance. Ask if the presentation should be during cocktail hour with just the kids as your audience, during the adult meal in front of the entire audience, or privately with just you, your friends and the mitzvah child?
Also check in with the DJ at the beginning of the party to make sure they are on board. We recently heard a story about a DJ who didn’t want to ‘stop’ the party and would not allow presentations at all. Many of the girls were in tears as they spent so much time working on their project. The party’s videographer, Cliff Matheson, saved the day by having the girls do the presentation in the hallway.
- Decide on a poster, video montage, scrapbook or a presentation.
On the popular bar/bat mitzvah Facebook page, South Florida Bar and Bat Mitzvah Planning Group, hosted by David Ockman, several additional suggestions by Karen Violet included putting together a photo calendar or memory box. Jane Sheinfeld, of the PiecedPalette.com, noted how a “pillow was used as a bat mitzvah presentation. The flip side was a fun photo of all of the girls together.“ The double pompom pillow (with the printed invitation on one side) is available on her website.
Jennifer Osterweil posted on the Facebook group ‘Bar and Bat Mitzvah Plans’ that you may use a “pillow or blanket with pictures on it of them and their friend. Collage.com has great blankets and you can get coupons from Livingsocial.com. Zazzle.com also makes great pillows or t-shirts.”
While these suggestions are great, according to bar/bat mitzvah attendee Morgan Mathis, many girls choose to hand make a poster or scrapbook for the bar/bat mitzvah child. Mathis says that many boys do presentations too, but rarely take the time to hand make a special gift.
- Make sure all of the friends involved have discussed their role in the presentation and you have actively rehearsed how it will play out.
It’s always fun to deliver a speech in a group. You can divide up what you’re going to say and even write a script. Make sure you practice at least a few times before to convey your message clearly and loud enough for all to hear. Remember, you are going to present this speech in front of lots of people and practice makes perfect.
- Plan to have the videographer and or photographer capturing this moment.
Matheson reports “Some of the girls just bring a memory stick (thumb drive) and the DJ plays it on the overhead monitors. Others have prepared what they want to say on their cell phones.” He suggests to have your videographer capture the audio directly from the DJ’s mixer so that the audio can be crystal clear. He notes, “Nothing worse than trying to hear what they are saying and it is drowned out by the background room noise.”
Bar/bat mitzvah speeches are about celebrating friendships and you child will want to remember them forever. A bar or bat mitzvah celebration is very overwhelming, so make sure your videographer and photographer capture these moments. This way you will have something remembering all of the time your friends spent putting these special presentations together.
- Have fun, celebrate your friend and keep it under 2 minutes.
Morgan Mathis states that at some bar/bat mitzvahs, there are 4-10 different speeches. Because there are so many, keep it short and sweet. Mathis says that most DJs will cut you off if you go longer than 2 minutes to keep the presentations moving. It’s important to keep it fun and focus on celebrating the bar or bat mitzvah child.