Are Bar/Bat Mitzvahs really that tough?

Many disc jockeys think that a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a tougher gig than a wedding. Why is this you might ask? I thought long and hard about this and I have come up with a couple theories.

First, what makes these parties difficult is not the candle lighting ceremony or cavalcade of kiddy activities, but rather the idea you may be fighting an inflated expectation. It’s not uncommon for a Bar Mitzvah mom to spend years planning for this day.Why, was that matter, some moms, it seems, set thinking of a theme and color scheme in the Maternity Ward 13 years before. If you’re playing that party over and over in your head for years, your mind’s eye will turn any party into something unbelievably outrageous and to DJ, unbelievably unobtainable.

Secondly, chances are the girl or boy celebrating this special day may have just attended 10 Other Bar/Bat Mitzvahs recently, with entertainment ranging from $4,000 Orchestras to a $2,000 disc jockey company, complete with 2 DJs, 6 dancers, 3 roadies, $10,000 in lighting, $300 in hawaiian leis, glow sticks and blow up instruments. And here you are with your microphone and a couple of Lights ready to do battle! But it can be done. Here’s how.

Forget about the unavoidable DJ comparisons, inflated expectations, and even the fact your client may have shelled out as much as $30,000 for this day. Undo pressure on yourself won’t help. Turn that anxiety into confidence. Walk into that party ready to give your best performance, regardless of the hurdles.

Know your stuff! While most Bar/Bat Mitzvahs will require the blessing (Motzi), some may not include the introduction of the parents and candle lighting ceremony. Here’s what you need to know:

INTRODUCTIONS: Usually after cocktail hour, and before the blessing, the disc jockey will introduce the parents and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah into the room just like you would for the bridal party introductions. Sometimes the brothers and sisters, and even grandparents, will be asked to be included in the introductions.

BLESSING (MOTZI) (pronounced Ha-Moat-sea): Usually done by either the boy’s grandfather or rabbi, it is traditionally done at the beginning of the party when everyone is seated. The DJ is usually required to get everyone’s attention and introduce whoever is to perform the blessing.

CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY: Usually happens right after the blessing, but can take place after dinner. Your best bet is to check with your client. The ceremony requires members of the boy’s family, such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins, as well as close friends light one of 12 candles on the cake. The 13th and 14th candle or designated for the boy’s parents and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah themself. Each candle can be lit by one, two, and even a whole group of people. Most light one candle. Other than the 13th and 14th candle, it’s generally thought the order represent ascending order of closeness to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Friends of the family, aunts and uncles, are generally the first to light candles, while grandparents, brothers, sisters, and best friends until the end. Background music can be a constant Loop of Hava Nagila, a mixture of We are family, through the years, and that’s what friends are for, or even playing of a specific song For each lit candle. Check with your client with their preference.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Since this is an event celebrating the boy or girl’s 13th birthday, candle lighting ceremony is usually followed up with a chorus of Happy Birthday or happy Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Once that is done having blow out the candles. if the child’s birthday was months back you may not want to sing Happy Birthday, so please check with your client.

OPENING HORA: Right after Happy Birthday have everyone come to the dance floor in a circle with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the middle. Have the Bar/Bat Mitzvah take a seat and a chair and have four to five strong people lift them in the air while you play Hava Nagila.

PARENT DANCE: The Bar/Bat Mitzvah child may want to dance with their mother or father. A good traditional song would be “Sunrise Sunset”.

That’s it! Now your client may delete some formalities, rearrange the order, or even decide to spread things out, but rest assured, there are no other formalities. Once you’ve gotten through the formalities, the party turns into a mixture of an 8th grade dance and a wedding reception; Lots of music and activities for the kids, mixed in with some music for the adults. Activities such as Coke and Pepsi, a Freeze Dance, Limbo, chicken dance, and line dances are proven winners at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.

Remember, your great personality can make up for a lot of those frills offered by other Bar/Bat Mitzvah DJs. By familiarizing yourself with the simple formalities, and by understanding what your client is expecting of you, can turn yourself into a great Bar/Bat Mitzvah DJ.

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