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Photograph by Kate Swerdlow
17 August 2021

Non Jewish and Jew-ish guests at your Bar mitzvah / Bat mitzvah

by Liz Gatherer
, estimated reading time 3 minutes

When you and your family have been preparing for you son’s Bar mitzvah / daughter’s Bat mitzvah for as long as you can remember, it can be easy to forget what it might be like for your non-Jewish guests and your not-so-Jewish friends. 

L’Chaim! personalised Simcha magazines are the ideal way to make sure everyone feels a big part of your Simcha, whether it is their first time attending a Bar mitzvah or their tenth time.

non jewish bar mitzvah guests
Everyone feels a part of your Simcha with a Bar / Bat mitzvah personalised magazine

Explaining a Bar mitzvah to your non Jewish guests

When it was time for Aaron’s Bar mitzvah, his mum contacted me to say she needed L’Chaim! at this Simcha as it had a job to do! Half of Aaron's family and friends attending weren’t Jewish, and although they had a good idea about what would happen, it did mean that Aaron’s Bar mitzvah would be many people’s first one that they’d actually bean to.

Within Aaron’s personalised Bar mitzvah magazine, we included a double page spread answering all the questions a non-Jewish guest might have. The article not only explained the importance of this life event, but also some of the lingo! Putting all the guests at ease, and perhaps adding a gentle reminder to the Jewish guests exactly what Aaron had to do, but why. 

Not being Jewish myself, I found the article brilliant and reassuring too. Mrs J’s guests certainly would have felt at ease in a new situation, and would have been confident with understanding the meaning behind the occasion and the proceedings of the day.

non jewish bar mitzvah guests
Explaining what a Bar mitzvah is to non Jewish guests

How to help your non Jewish guests following the Bar mitzvah service

Being Jewish certainly does not mean that you can read Hebrew! I have plenty of Jewish friends who freely admit to not having a clue on how to read Hebrew. Something that L’Chaim! has proved its weight in gold in the past, is by having the phonetic spelling in English alongside the Hebrew text, ensuring that all guests, whether they are Jewish, Jew-ish or not at all, can follow along with the Torah portion, Haftarah, blessings and more.

non jewish bar mitzvah guests
Include the Bar mitzvah program so that non Jewish guests can follow along with ease

Ensuring your non Jewish and Jew-ish guests have all the need to know Bar mitzvah information

Your L’Chaim! personalised Simcha magazine is completely bespoke to you, therefore whatever it is you need your guests to know, we will include. 

Over lockdown, when the Zoomitzvah was commonplace, I would often include the QR code for the Zoom meeting within the L’Chaim! magazine. Alongside this I was asked to include the programme so that guests could follow along with the online service.

L’Chaim! hot tip: rather than print out a programme to hand out to your guests (which will likely end up in the bin within a few weeks) why not incorporate your programme and schedule of the day within your L’Chaim! magazine? This in turn saves you money, and is better for the environment as L’Chaim! magazines are treasured keepsakes rather than disposed of after the event. 

It’s also worth knowing that L’Chaim! is printed on recycled materials at a chemical free printers.

non jewish bar mitzvah guests
An order of service is particular useful for non Jewish guests at a Bar mitzvah

If you would like to bring your Simcha to life for your non-Jewish and Jew-ish guests, then please do get in touch with me, Liz at liz@wedition.co.uk I’d love to set up a Zoom with you and show you some previous copies of L’Chaim! magazine

bar mitzvah swag

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