Many people want to give great gifts for someone’s bar and bat mitzvah, but those same people aren’t always sure what type of gift will make a lasting impression.
Helen Fineberg, museum store manager at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, and David Schreibman, owner of Alson Jewelers in Woodmere, are both experienced in working with gift givers to help them select just the right thing to mark a young man or woman’s special day.
Fineberg says many who shop at her store are looking for a gift that relates to the Jewish journey on which the child is about to embark.
“Often, this is an opportunity to buy something that’s very special and lasting,” she says.
The museum store carries several items that might fit the bill, Fineberg says, including things that relate to famous Jewish people or events in Jewish history.
One of the books the museum store has is “Pirkei Avot,” which is a compilation of teachings and maxims central to Judaism. Fineberg also sells several age-appropriate graphic novels that deal with the Holocaust introduction and learning.
Another important thing for some gift givers, Fineberg says, is where the gift comes from.
“I think for some people, it’s important to them that it’s something that has come directly from Israel,” she says.
Getting a gift directly from Israel can be special for a young person at their bar or bat mitzvah and can help connect the gift to the significance of the event.
Fineberg says the perfect gift for someone depends on who they are. She says the more someone knows about the recipient, the easier it is to get them something they will remember and cherish.
“I will engage (customers) in a conversation about the recipient,” Fineberg says. “If its someone they don’t know well, that presents a different kind of challenge.”
The museum store at Maltz Musuem has gifts for a wide-range of budgets. Fineberg says many people, like teachers or other children, get invited to a lot of mitzvahs and want to get a meaningful gift, even though they won’t want to spend as much on each person.
“Try to match it with the importance of the event,” she says. “Regardless of what the budget might be.”
Schreibman says many people he speaks to at Alson Jewelers place an emphasis on finding something as distinct and momentous as the occasion being celebrated.
“Naturally, they want to make sure that they are buying something special to mark this important occasion in their child’s life,” he says.
Jewelry is a popular gift for bar and bat mitzvahs, and Schreibman says Alson Jewelers has many options to match children’s varied interests.
For girls, there are age-appropriate items such as cuff bracelets, colored stone rings and initial necklaces. While there aren’t as many options for boys, he says watches are a popular gift for bar mitzvahs.
People sometimes also pool their money to buy jewelry, Schreibman says.
“Sometimes, people will go in on a group gift,” Schreibman says. “They’ll get three of four friends together, or aunts and uncles together, and they’ll go in on a group gift.”
Schreibman says one thing that makes jewelry such a special gift is that, relatively speaking, it’s so infrequently purchased as a gift.
“You don’t buy jewelry every day, or every month or every year,” he says. “So, I think when someone is buying a piece of jewelry for someone, whether it’s for a bat mitzvah or birthday or whatever the occasion may be, it’s a special gift.” BM