What do I give for a bar mitzvah gift?

…aside from money.

GrizzWife and I are invited to a bar mitzvah in about six weeks. (this is the son of GrizzWife’s employer)

I like to think of myself as Jew friendly (raised Methodist and currently a member of an Episcopal church), but I’ve never BEEN to a bar mitzvah before and don’t know what to give the boy (man?) as a gift.

I’ve been told that, gift wise, I should treat it as a birthday. But, since it’s the passage from boyhood to manhood, I think something more substantial is in order.

Any suggestions?

Generally, family and close friends may give religiously oriented gifts. For friends, I agree with the advice to treat it as a birthday. If you want something more “substantial”, you might go for something like a book – either a book of religious significance or a “treasure”-type book. For instance, we’ve often given a complete Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t know either, but I don’t think I would give Summer sausage!

Another vote along CK’s lines. A Jewish book is usually a good way to go.

Zev Steinhardt


Head Cheese?

A can of Vienna sausages?

A dreidel?

An airplane model?

Subscription to Maxim?

Ask the parents what he is into.


A nice birthday gift.
My parents tend to give gift certificates to electronics stores and the like, figuring that the kid probably got enough books and religious objects and that the parents may take gifts of money to help pay for the event. (Not to sound unnappreciative, while my brother uses his kiddush cup weekly, he didn’t need seven of them.)

I mostly got jewelry for my bat mitzva, but that doesn’t really work for the guys.

Membership to the SDMB? :wink:

Screw it. Give money.

You can NEVER go wrong with a personal check!

zev: You forget the obvious and classic. A nice pen and pencil set. I still have two of the three I got as a prize in the “Fumbling through Hebrew while wondering why they even make something you have to touch with a wand that looks like a pointy finger in the first place” competition.

Seriously never underestimate the value of a nice pen and mechanical pencil set. Mont Blanc is always a classic choice, but I’ll bet there are some really neat ones out there now.

If you do go the money/gift certificate route, amounts divisible by 18 are preferred. (That’s the numerical equivalent of “chai”, which means life.)

A brisket?

(Get it? Get it? BRIS-KIT? Ahhhh, I slay me)



Well, I’d be about thirteen years LATE for that!:stuck_out_tongue:

Figuring he’d get all kinds of Judaica from the other relatives, I gave my little brother a nice hand-carved stone chess set. Something he’ll actually use, yet intellectually stimulating. Plus, you know you’re growing up when you can kick your dad’s butt at chess.

Damn you, ski. You beat me to the punch.

A good pen and pencil set is a fine choice. My usual bar mitzvah selection is a classic-style Cross ballpoint pen; something substantial that has a practical use and has a good chance of lasting a long time.

C K’s idea has a lot of merit too; a good substantial book might be a good idea, if the bar mitzvah boy has a literary bent.