Bar Mitzvah Cost

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  • #1448621

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    talking to my brother in law making a bar mitzvah next year. Caterer asking 60/person minimum 150 people ($9,000). Hall and mashgiach – another $1,000. shtick, photography, schnitzel brothers, musician – another 5-10 grand. that’s $20,000. Shabbos Kiddush, Friday night meal and Shabbos meal, waiters, party planner to decorate hall, clothing, hats, tfillin another $10,000. total cost 30k

    #1448659

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Ridiculous waste of money.
    My kids made a Bar Mitzvah celebration for their son in September. Thursday morning minyan in Shul. Herring, kichel, coffee, cake, whiskey, one waitress, paper goods, linens, etc. $300

    Sunday afternoon open house at home to celebrate for about 100 family and adult friends fleishige buffet. $1500. 12 kids went bowling with the Bochur Motzei Shabbos $200
    Cost of Tefillin isn’t part of the equation because they are needed even if their is no simcha. We also buy a tallis

    I fixed a few typos. Hope I got it right

    #1448671

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    I have made numerous bar mitzvah celebrations and including all costs never came close to $10,000 (caveat – grandparents paid for the tefillin). I don’t know where your BIL lives but we paid anywhere from $18 – 25 per person for the catered weekday seuda (included all the fees except waiters and we limited the guest list). Photographer. One man band. What’s “schnitzel brothers”? Why do you need a party planner? Shabbos kiddush – usually $9 – $10 per person. How many people you having for the Shabbos meals? Clothing – The Hat Box has a special to outfit Bar Mitzvah bochrim. Tefillin – depending on your hidurim $800 – 1500. Bar Mitzvah Teacher?

    #1448672

    Joseph
    Participant

    Tell him not to be so fancy. What a waste of money. He could make the whole Bar Mitzvah on Shabbos and it’ll cost far far less.

    #1448676

    Meno
    Participant

    Bar Mitzvah Teacher?

    Are you kidding? How could anyone afford a Bar Mitzvah teacher after all those expenses?

    He could make the whole Bar Mitzvah on Shabbos and it’ll cost far far less.

    How could he have a photographer and band on Shabbos?

    #1448685

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Made three BM in last few years
    All different places
    Never more than 8k

    #1448697

    Joseph
    Participant

    Mazal Tov!

    #1448712

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant
    #1448725

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Talking about apples and oranges….depends on your income, local minhagim (invite everyone in the shul for the luncheon or just to a “Kiddush” with lunch reserved for the family/friends, whether lunch is table service or buffet etc. For a formal lunch, the $30K estimate is not unreasonable for upscale kosher caterer with large family/friends invited. Obviously, the norm is much lower in NYC area…typical $7000-$10,000 max for buffet lunch in shul verus renting a simcha hall nearby.

    #1448742

    Joseph
    Participant

    The B”M’s of very frum families cost in the range of $3,000 – 4,000, ghd. You must be referring to Reform and Conservative b”m’s.

    #1448741

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @Gadolhardorah
    Yes, it is apples and oranges.
    There is no reason to go into debt and spend beyond your means to impress others.
    We certainly could afford the over the top celebrations, but think they are in bad taste and not good for the community as a whole.
    OOT it is most common to hold the affair in the shul social hall which cuts cost. A weekday morning Bar Mitzvah is less expensive than a Shabbos event and typically will have far fewer shul members in attendance.

    It is the policy in our shul that all members are invited to a cold kiddush after Shabbos services hosted and paid for by the Boy’s family. It is held in the vestry or library. Then, invited guests only attended a full luncheon in the social hall. Motzei Shabbos were typically parties for the young people only.

    This is a far cry from the affairs of my childhood during the Baby Boom. My eldest brother’s Bar Mitzvah was a three day event on Labor Day Weekend for 500 guests…BUT it was 50% business guests of my father and paid for by his business. It was a chance to entertain guests with Kosher meals and entertainment not generally available in our town.

    #1448831

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GH- Sorry but it is not apples and oranges. Even outside of NYC this is excessive.

    #1449316

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Are you kidding? How could anyone afford a Bar Mitzvah teacher after all those expenses?

    I’m willing to bet that, with a little work (assuming you are in a large enough community), you can find someone to teach the Haftorah (and maybe even the laining) on a reduced-fee (or even free) basis.

    The Wolf (who, in almost thirty years of teaching has never turned away a student for lack of money — but do you really want an apikorus like me teaching your twelve year old?)

    #1449336

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    Wolf; Why do you call yourself an apikorus? Do you wear red shoes or something?😉

    #1449397

    jakob
    Participant

    start saving up for your child’s wedding or bar mitzva 5 years before, even if its only $50 a month

    its time for people to start thinking out the FUTURE & not just about now & wasting thousands of dollars on unnecessary desires versus needs like food & clothing. sure you can take a family vacation but 3 times a year when your budget is tight? thats insane, instead save it towards your next child Bar mitzva or wedding

    #1449489

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    wolf: I too give “bar mitzvah lessons” and B”H never had to deal with an issue of a parent telling me that they can’t afford my fee. I have been told numerous times that I charge less then most other teachers in my community.

    #1449513

    Joseph
    Participant

    iac & Wolf: What is your rate?

    #1449582

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    I charge $1,000,000 but I collect far less.

    #1449614

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    iac & Wolf: What is your rate?

    I don’t have one. They are free to give me whatever they want. And if it’s 0, that’s fine too.

    The Wolf

    #1449616

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    bar mitzvah lessons (parsha and haftorah) are typically $65 for 35 min once a week for a year before the bar mitzvah = approx. $3k

    #1449645

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GC: I collect flat fees: haftorah only $450. Haftorah with maftir $500. Full leining an additional $500 – $700.

    #1449647

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    and I do not give lessons starting a year before. I plan 8 -10 months for most bochurim and some have taken even less time then that.

    #1450509

    huju
    Participant

    The Torah commands us: If you got it, flaunt it. And if you don’t got it, borrow it.

    Oh, vait. It doesn’t say that.

    #1451277

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @groissechuchum

    “bar mitzvah lessons (parsha and haftorah) are typically $65 for 35 min once a week for a year before the bar mitzvah = approx. $3k”

    Maybe in your neighborhood, not in ours.
    Bar Mitzvah lessons come along with synagogue dues, here in suburban CT. They are taught either by the shul Rabbi or Educational Director (the Talmud Torah principal who deals with the members who attend public or private non-Yeshiva schools). It is customary to give the teacher a $300-500 gift at the end of the teaching. Takes about 6 months twice a week for an hour. The initial Trop classes are held for all Bar Mitzvah boys in the shul as a group. Haftorah and leyning of the specific parsha is private.

    Our grandsons’ day schools teach the trop to all 6th grade boys as part of regular classes.
    In my day, one went to the local Hebrew Book Shop and bought a 78RPM record and the Parsha/Haftorah booklet for about $10 a set. The shul Shammos gave lessons Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons for about $1 per lesson. My zeidy taught me and my sons. I have taught 2 of my grandsons , the others have been taught by my SILs’ fathers..they didn’t want a Litvak (Tayrah) pronunciation.

    #1451292

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Just want to point out that there is no chiyuv to lain.
    It’s a nice minhag, but a very recent minhag. From what I can tell it’s not encouraged in Israel. Even in America I know of shuls that don’t allow it ( for various reasons . Including many are concerned that due to inexperience and stage fright the boy will lain from memory and not from the klaf)
    So,
    It certainly makes sense to spend more on laining then the gashmius . But if finances are a concern, then don’t do it.
    I gave my kids the options. One chose not to do it another did part of it. Another did the whole thing.

    #1451375

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    mentsch1: I agree with you. I was just surprised it wasn’t mentioned as most bar mitzvah bachurim lein the haftorah.

    #1451396

    Chaver
    Participant

    Bar Mitzvah Cost? Isn’t it free to turn thirteen? The only thing you have to purchase is Tefillin.

    #1451383

    DovidBT
    Participant

    (Since this is the Rants forum …)

    What’s the purpose of the Bar Mitzvah “event”?

    Is it primarily a family reunion, or is a recognition of the boy becoming a Bar Mitzvah?

    If the latter, isnt it “fake” to give the boy special instruction to present the illusion that he has the ability to read any part of the Torah and/or the Prophets?

    #1451387

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    The “gashmisus versus ruchnius’ battle goes on virtually non-stop since every decision about “how much is too much” triggers a question of whether at the margin, additional expenditures don’t contribute to hidur mitzvah but rather are focused on “hidur those who are the simcha machers” (aka showing up in shul with a Calabrian esrog that cost several hundred dollars in a sterling silver box). There is no bright line test in terms of $$/person spent on a bar mitzvah any more so than having a chassidus charter a commercial jet to shlep over several hundred chassidim to join a rav at some simcha or on his vacation or advertising a “heimeshe peisach” at some incredibly expensive Florida hotel for a cost of $5,000 per family member. Its what you can afford and what makes you happy. Every dollar you spend for a simcha celebration beyond the minimum required to be yotzeh the mitzvah, at the margin, could feed some poor family or help some yesomim. But that’s not life.

    #1451584

    Me12345
    Participant

    For all the families with multiple boys laining lessons isn’t so difficult to teach. If the father can’t teach the boy and he wants to lain tell him yo pay attention in shul during krias hatorah and he’ll pick it up himself. If that doesn’t work invest in lessons for the oldest boy and then he can teach his younger brothers. I taught younger siblings and a lot of my friends were taught by older brothers.
    It also doesn’t take more then 4-6 months by a competent teacher. Any teacher and a student with a decent work ethic. Any longer you need to question how good the teacher is and if your son really wants to lain…

    #1451582

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    DovidBT: You asked:

    What’s the purpose of the Bar Mitzvah “event”? Not surew hat you mean by the “event” but it is brought down that one makes a seuda when his son on the day that the boy turns 13.

    Is it primarily a family reunion, or is a recognition of the boy becoming a Bar Mitzvah? Boy becoming bar mitzvah.

    If the latter, isnt it “fake” to give the boy special instruction to present the illusion that he has the ability to read any part of the Torah and/or the Prophets? Just the opposite. A bar mitzvah bochur is normally given the amud for maariv and to lead the zimun to specifically demonstrate that he has attained the age of mitzvos. Since we generally do not allow a child under bar mitzvah to lein or read the haftorah, this comes under the category of demonstrating that he has attained the age of mitzvos.

    As someone who teaches boys to lein at the time of their bar mitzvah, it is not an illusion. They actually can read from the torah and I give them the “tools” to be able to become a baal koreh if they so choose.

    #1451577

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    point was that for my nephew to have what probably 75% of his classmates/friends are having (weekday affair + Shabbos ) it’ll cost 30k. those are the numbers. my BIL can put out rugelach after Monday morning Aliyah too. that’s pathetic and unrealistic. He needs to accommodate traveling family that don’t live local which is why Shabbos meals need to be catered. the price gets to $30,000 real quick and as you can see there’s nothing ostentatious and didn’t even cover leining

    #1451713

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GC: We don’t know what neighborhood your BIL lives in so we can’t say if it’s reasonable or not. Based on the community in Flatbush it is extremely overpriced. We made an aufruf last year where the catered lunch for approximately 70 people was ~$1800.

    me12345: I have made that suggestion to a number of parents. Almost everyone of them declined my suggestion.

    You also wrote:
    “It also doesn’t take more then 4-6 months by a competent teacher. Any teacher and a student with a decent work ethic. Any longer you need to question how good the teacher is and if your son really wants to lain…”. I am sorry but I would guess you have never given these type of lessons. Except for certain parshiyos like Netzavim and Vayelech it is difficult to complete this in 6 months. Possible? Yes. Having taught close to 100 bochurim I can tell you that the system I use takes closer to 8 – 10 months. One has to take into account when the bar mitzvah falls on the calendar. If it’s in September – December one basically loses the 2 months in the summer to sleepaway camp thereby causing one to start earlier than 6 months before. If it’s in January – March one has to budget time for the Yomim Noraim, Sukkos, chol hamoed trips, mid terms, finals, mid winter vacations and possible missing a lesson or 2 due to illness. My general schedule – Two weeks for trop recognition, two weeks to teach the tune. I start with the haftora which averages 4-6 weeks depending on the length of the haftora. For example the haftora of Vayechi is 12 pesukim and generally only takes 2 weeks with a third week to teach the nusach for the brochos after the haftora. Parshas Shemini when not Machor Chodesh is 39 pesukim and needs 6 – 8 weeks. Most pasrshios averages 120 pesukim. My students are taught 5-6 pesukim a week which means, on average a parsha takes 20 – 24 weeks which doesn’t include weeks set aside for full review. Parshiyos like Vayeitzei (154 pesukim) and Mikeitz (146 pesukim) take even longer as there are no pesuchos or stumos and the bochur only sees a “sea of words”. Please don’t throw around the word “competent” if you yourself have never actually taught anybody.

    #1451729

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    iacisrmma….

    Perhaps you can do a milchig stand-up Kiddush after davening for about $25/pp in Flatbush but thats NOT the frame of reference in the original question which implied the family was doing a full seated meal with music, photographer and simcha hall rental…. get real. They are not doing some quickie Kiddush catered by the Sisterhood or fish platters from some local takeout place (hopefully not sushi from Jin in Passaic)

    #1451793

    Me12345
    Participant

    Iac: you missed my point. Once you teach the trup why are you “teaching” and only 4 or 5 pesukim per week. I don’t pretend to be a teacher, it happens to be that I’ve taught a few kids full parshiyos with haftorah, but when I was taught the 1st week was dikduk the 2nd week was the trup until I actually understood that the symbols symbolize a time. And the 3rd week we put it all together and we learnt a full aliyah. My parsha is shoftim which is a small parsha and I knew the basics of leining before so I’m not expecting everyone to be this quick, but it took me 7 weeks for the parsha and my teacher told me to listen closely to the bal koreh in shul for the haftorah trup so it took me another 2 weeks to master. The whole thing was 3 months. If your “teaching 3 or 4 pesukim a week” it has to be that your not doing a good job teaching. The best way to learn is for the kid to figure out the leining on his own. I used to come to my lessons every sunday having mastered the next aliyah and my teacher used to go it over with me and point put little mistakes.

    To sum up what I’m pointing out: if he is not preparing by himself he’s a parrot and if he ever wants to lein again he’s gonna have to do the work (which your being paid to teach) on his own. I’m also proud to say that the half dozen kids that I’ve taught have all leined again shortly after without my help learning a new parsha because they already new how to lein!

    #1451882

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    me12345: I didn’t miss your point. I disagree with it. I have taught over 100 bochurim, most of them since 2006. I haven’t had a complaint from any parent or Rov of a shul that my student leined in about my approach to teaching bar mitzvah bochurim. If my method is incorrect why do the same parents hire me multiple times for all their sons?

    GH: I don’t know where you live but we don’t have $25 milchigs stand up kiddush in Flatbush. Most of us have a sit down kiddush (cake, herring, 2 types of kugel, cholent, soda, paper goods) for $10 – $12 a person. In addition, $60/pp for a sit down full fleishigs bar mitzva seudah is either double or more then double what caterers charge in Flatbush. I have B”H made multiple bar mitzvahs, so in your own words….get real.

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