2020 has taken a complete U-turn, starting the year full of positivity and growth has been completely bombarded with negativity, reducing celebration numbers from 50, down to 15. According to Baltimore magazine, one reader celebrated a virtual Bar Mitzvah which was described to be like ‘The Brady Brunch but on steroids and with better music!’. Is this really the new reality? Enjoying a Bar Mitzvah from the comfort of our own home? Being such an important Jewish celebration it would be such a shame to not celebrate with all your family and friends.
“Right now, more than ever, we need reasons to rejoice. Right now, more than ever, we need reasons to celebrate. We need reasons to come together (albeit virtually and in accordance with current CDC and governmental guidelines) and recognize that there is good in this world. That there is growth in this world. That there is community in this world. That goes for good times as well as bad.” – Baltimore Magazine.
So here it is, the JLife Magazine’s ultimate guide to throwing a Zoom Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah:
Get your hands on a Tikkun Korim or Chumash
Given that reading from the Torah is largely a focal point of the Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah, the best bet according to most Rabbi’s is to get your hands on a Tikkun Korim, Chumash or another online resource to ensure you have something to read from in physical form. If you’re lucky enough to know somebody who has the real deal, you could always borrow!
To keep the Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah running smoothly, gather the family together for a pre run through via Zoom to avoid technical difficulties, make sure Grandma doesn’t have the camera too close to her face!
Dress to Impress!
Don’t let the fact you’re in the comfort of your own home take away from the enjoyment and excitement of getting dressed up, put on your best frock! You could even set a theme and make a Zoomitzvah photo album, it would certainly be one to remember.
Get a professional zoom production company in
Create a theme or backdrop and make yourself a balloon garland full of your favourite colours and flowers
Amazon is a dream when it comes to ordering themed decorations for your celebrations, why not create the perfect back drop using some vibrant décor or balloons, perhaps in Autumnal colours? Make your home and your Zoom background a vibrant exciting space!
Enjoy socialising and welcoming your guests as they enter the chat room
As you would in person, enjoy the welcoming of your guests, catching up and finding out how the family is doing, enjoy a toast to the special occasion before beginning your at home ceremony!
Use the Zoom Chat function to give out your well-wishes
No guest books? No problem! Utilize the chat function to send your well-wishes which will allow the host to return to them later, they could even note them down themselves and make a little scrap book, perhaps you could even save the messages and print them out later in a memory box or scrap book to look back on the post Covid era and your Bar Mitzvah celebration.
Un-mute certain participants
Instead of physically passing down the Torah from older generations to the bar mitzvah, as is customary to symbolize the transferal of Jewish knowledge l’dor v’dor (“from generation to generation”), perhaps each grandparent could be asked to name something they would like to pass on to their grandchild.
Throw sweets to the screen
Make sure you’re careful! Instead of the customary throwing of sweets, nuts and raisins, say ‘Mazel Tov’ and throw your sweets to the screen, enjoy eating them after picking them back up again!
Enjoy the after party!
You’re already on zoom, you made a lot of effort so why not enjoy it some more and stick around for a celebratory toast and some more conversation!
It goes without saying the post Covid-19 era is a strange time, and whilst celebrating has to be put on hold for many families both in and out of the Jewish Community, let’s make the extra effort to keep on smiling.