The bar/bat mitzvah signals the transition to adulthood for Jewish teens, and it includes religious tradition and ceremony along with celebration. Teens who attend bar and bat mitzvahs must respect the significance of the occasion by following proper etiquette throughout the event. By behaving well, guests of the teen being honored can celebrate their friend in a festive but respectful manner.
The bar/bat mitzvah is a celebratory but semiformal occasion, and teens should dress appropriately for the event. Teen girls should select modest attire, wearing skirts or dresses that hit their knees. They should not bare their shoulders, making strapless or spaghetti-strap dresses or tops inappropriate. Teen boys should wear a suit and tie or slacks with a collared shirt. These choices respect "tzniut," the Jewish value of modesty and restraint in dress and behavior, according to Temple Har Shalom.
While the bar/bat mitzvah reception is a joyful celebration, the ceremony that precedes it is an important and solemn one. Thus, teen guests at bar/bat mitzvahs should turn their cellphones off to avoid interrupting this sacred ceremony. Moreover, teens should remain quiet throughout the ceremony, sitting silently during the prayers rather than whispering or chatting with each other. Such behavior respects the importance of the ceremony.
The reception is the joyful celebration that follows the religious ceremony, which can lead many teens to let loose. However, teen guests should remain on their best behavior during the reception. They should respect the music that the band or DJ is playing, never requesting inappropriate music. They should dance appropriately with their peers, never delving into “dirty dancing.” Even if a time lag exists between the ceremony and reception, teens should remain in their modest, appropriate attire for the celebration.
Interactions with Guests
Teens should interact maturely and appropriately with guests at a bar/bat mitzvah. Teens can engage other guests -- both fellow teens and adults -- in polite, casual conversation throughout the reception. They should respect the venue, never tampering with or stealing decorations set up for the event. Teen guests can also politely ask someone to dance or accept an offer from a peer.
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