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Bar mitzvah boy
Bar mitzvah boy

As a family, we know that it will be in Ohel Leah Synagogue, a place where we are all at home. We know that Jewish education doesn’t end here and this is actually just the beginning. We all know the name of the parsha. We know the theme is Torah not iPhones, European football, Disney or Madonna. With what we consider the essentials covered, there are some unique details where planning a simcha becomes very Hong Kong.

Here is what I am discovering are the essentials of Hong Kong b’nai mitzvah planning:



In a community of about 4,000 Jews with a Jewish Day School, seven congregations and many more rabbis, even off the Jewish map, we have this more than covered. We are not suffering from a lack of choices.


In Hong Kong, we don’t need to look for the best websites for kippot. We are about 45 minutes from the Chinese border where there are tailors galore and prices are low. The trick is to find kippot from a simcha that you liked and get the name of their tailor. If you want tablecloths, this is the place for that as well.


Again, with a bit of creativity and access to printing prices that haven’t been seen in New York since 1980, this is an easy one. The advent of digital printing also means that if you can provide the layout, the rest is easy. (If you are sending these overseas, you do have to stick to a schedule, though, and allow for extra time.)

The bar mitzvah boy with Dad and little brother outside Ohel Leah Synagogue
The bar mitzvah boy with Dad and little brother outside Ohel Leah Synagogue


Ok, a potential pitfall. This is where things get a bit more complicated. This requires schlepers who can bring in hundreds of benchers from New York (Israel works too) and then you can customize the covers (see invitations).


Again, somewhat problematic. We do have a kosher market but if you want candy that is anything but the single available selection that year, again you must call in the schlepers.

Tefillin/Talit Cases for both and other ritual items for the Bar Mitzvah boy

Sorry. It is back to those schlepers or some pretty serious advance planning.

But in the end we have the parsha and all the rest is commentary.

Post-bar mitzvah, we have decided to (indefinitely) continue our family mishnah study with the rabbi. We hope our children are beginning to understand that learning isn’t reserved for a particular period in our lives or for a specific event but it is a lifelong pursuit. 

Our plans for how to celebrate in November are still most definitely undecided.


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