Even without the excitement of receiving Bar Mitzvah gifts (or Bat Mitzvah gifts), there aren’t many days quite like the day of a Jewish child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
After all, when you officially “become an adult” at 12-13 years old, it’s bound to receive a special place in the list of days to remember.
This meaningful day perfectly combines spirituality, fun, family, friends, maturity, and immaturity (ESPECIALLY immaturity – don’t let the whole “becoming an adult” thing fool you!) in a way that nothing else can.
The child’s favorite part might just be reading from the Torah.
Or, it could be that they get to be the center of attention among all their family, friends, and guests.
But, in MY opinion…
I think most young men agree that the absolute, without question, BEST part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience is – you guessed it – the thrill of receiving all their amazing Bar Mitzvah presents (or Bat Mitzvah presents).
For a Jewish child, this day is a day like no other. Typical birthdays might mean a few gifts here and there, but a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the king of all birthdays, and many will receive more gifts than they have on all other birthdays combined.
Sure, you can always take the traditional way out and give them some cash or write them a check, but I’ve never considered that to be good Bar Mitzvah gift etiquette, no matter how much you give.
As a guest at a Bar Mitzvah, I like to put some more thought into my Bar Mitzvah gifts.
If you give something thoughtful and personalized instead, they may just remember that moment for the rest of their life.
So, I always make sure to put in some thought and pick out appropriate Bar Mitzvah gifts that the child will remember his entire life, instead of getting him just another average Bar Mitzvah gift he’ll forget about in a couple days.
A personalized Bar Mitzvah gift is FAR better than cash in my opinion, even if the cash is worth more.
In general, worry less about how MUCH to give for Bar Mitzvah gifts, and focus more on finding cool gift ideas that will bring the boy some joy.
Terrible at thinking of gifts?
Here, I’ve carefully scoured the internet for the absolute best, most memorable, and affordable gifts out there.
Let’s get to it.
Bar Mitzvah gifts and Bat Mitzvah gifts are usually interchangeable.
However, some gifts – especially ones that are religious based – are specifically tailored for one or the other.
This article focuses specifically on BAR Mitzvah gift ideas, so that’s the term I’ll be using moving forward.
However, if you need BAT Mitzvah gift ideas as well, feel free to view this guide and see if there’s any ideas that speak to you.
Like I said earlier, the typical Bar Mitzvah gift can be given as a Bat Mitzvah gift as well, so there should be plenty of ideas for you to choose from.
Technology Bar Mitzvah Gifts
The one gift that every 13 year old boy wants more than anything else is whatever the latest technology is at the time.
While lacking in spiritual significance, he’s sure to receive plenty of “meaningful” and “appropriate” Bar Mitzvah gifts from everyone else, so why not be the cool aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister, or friend, and get him something fun?
After all, the best Bar Mitzvah gifts are the ones that can be enjoyed right away.
Here are the top electronic based gifts to get him in 2019:
Traditionally, younger people usually gravitated towards bigger, over the ear headphones.
There were no good wireless in-ear options, and bigger headphones tended to be more stylish.
That all changed with the invention of Airpods.
All of a sudden, there was a cool, wireless earbud option on the market – and even better, it was made by everyone’s favorite brand, Apple.
If the Bar Mitzvah boy has an iPhone – and maybe even if he doesn’t – Airpods are definitely worth considering.
Beats headphones – or nice headphones in general – are something almost every child WANTS, but can’t always justify spending money on (and that goes DOUBLE for the parents spending money buying it for their kid).
Which means, it’s the perfect choice for a cool Bar Mitzvah gift.
Beats have long been the headphone brand of choice for middle school/high school children, as the mixture of style and quality is a perfect fit for that age group.
If you get them for him as a Bar Mitzvah gift, he’ll quickly become the most popular kid in school.
In short – you can’t BEAT Beats as a Bar Mitzvah Gift.
If you get these for the Bar Mitzvah boy, he’ll be sure to wear them around all day, every day.
As to whether that’s a good thing or not? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Remember how we said that nice headphones were something everybody wants, but can’t always justify?
That goes double for Apple Watches.
An Apple Watch is definitely cool – it’s stylish, made by Apple, and has all sorts of cool features like:
- the ability to make calls and use certain Apps that are on your phone
- sensors that count steps taken, stairs climbed, heart rate, and everything else you can think of
- an extremely long 18-hour battery life
- Water Resistance
And, believe it or not, it even tells you what time it is! Pretty cool for a watch, huh?
However, even more than nice headphones, many people just can’t justify buying it.
After all, an Apple Watch isn’t a necessity in the same way a Smartphone is, so many people balk at getting one – which, again, makes it one of the best Bar Mitzvah gift options.
Virtual Reality is one of the biggest new technologies to come out recently.
The possibilities are endless – you can use it to play games, explore the world, or even make new friends!
Of course, these days a 13 year old boy has been around technology his entire life, so figuring out how to use this in fun, creative ways should be no problem.
While extremely cool, Virtual Reality isn’t QUITE mainstream yet, which means if you get this for the Bar Mitzvah boy as his Bar Mitzvah gift, you’ll be sure you’re getting him something unique and memorable.
“Alexa, what do I give someone for a Bar Mitzvah Gift?”
“How about an Amazon Echo so he can ask Alexa anything he wants?“
“Alexa, which of the Bar Mitzvah gifts was the Bar Mitzvah boy’s favorite?”
“I think we all know the answer to that one (hint: it rhymes with Bamazon Becho)“
“Alexa, are Amazon Echos affordable?”
“Yup! For under $100 (technically), you get access to the latest Artificial Intelligence technology that transforms your boring, normal living room into a high tech powered funhouse. Can’t beat that deal!”
“Alexa, will you be my friend?”
…Ok, I think we all get the point by now. An Amazon Echo is a great gift… is a great gift… great gift…
Get it? It’s echoing!
Ok, I’ll see myself out now.
Bigger than a phone, smaller than a computer, and cheaper than both.
What’s not to love about an iPad?
Nowadays, most 13 year old kids already have phones, and many will also have their own computer, but not everyone has their own iPad.
This leaves you with an opportunity to get him a cool piece of technology to add to his repertoire.
The versatility of an iPad is, simply, unmatched by anything else.
You know what else will be unmatched?
The happiness of the Bar Mitzvah boy when he sees your gift.
Can’t beat that!
When considering fun, cool technology gifts to get a 13 year old boy, the obvious choice is to get him a gaming system.
After all, which 13 year old doesn’t love games?
The 3 main gaming systems out there right now are the Playstation 4 Pro, the Xbox 1 X, and the Nintendo Switch. All are great choices as Bar Mitzvah Gifts, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them
One thing to keep in mind is that while the Xbox and Playstation listed here come with a game included, the Switch does not, so you may want to separately buy him a game as well. After all, the system itself is useless without any games.
While a bit pricey, opting for a gaming system would certainly be a memorable gift choice, and is bound to be one his favorite gifts he receives.
Jewish – Based Bar Mitzvah Gifts
This category is where most typical Bar Mitzvah gifts are found.
Sefarim and items with religious significance are often given at a Bar Mitzvah, and for good reason.
It’s important to note that if you decide to go for a Jewish based Bar Mitzvah gift, keep in mind that the average Bar Mitzvah boy already gets many such gifts, as many people decide to go in this direction.
So, see if you can confirm that he won’t be getting the same gift from someone else.
“Jewish” style gifts can be hit or miss. While the parents will likely be happy, and the gifts will likely be quite meaningful, oftentimes religious Bar Mitzvah gifts simply aren’t too exciting for a young boy or girl.
So, before deciding on what type of Bar Mitzvah gift to get, be sure to think about the recipient’s personality and try and determine what their face would look like when seeing the gift for the first time.
If you picture them excited and ready to become a man and join the Jewish People? A meaningful, religious based gift might be just what they need.
Luckily, there’s other categories above that you can choose from!
Now, let’s see some examples of great, proper Bar Mitzvah Gifts with a religious spin to get for that special young man.
Here’s a unique and cool Bar Mitzvah gift that’s perfect for the more creative type.
While most Bar Mitzvah boys get some combination of money, Sefarim (Jewish books), and electronics, you can easily stand out from the crowd by getting him this absolutely stunning and intricate replica of the Bet Hamikdash (the Hebrew name for the Jewish people’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed over 1000 years ago.
Putting this together will be a nice, fun challenge for many people.
Then, once it’s complete, you can enjoy a stunning and meaningful visual representation of the Jewish People’s past.
This is the type of Bar Mitzvah gift that will be great for some recipients, but not as good for others.
If the Bar Mitzvah boy is creative, likes building things, and enjoys history, this Bar Mitzvah gift will seem personalized and tailored to him specifically.
If he has other interests, you may be better off getting him one of the other options on this list.
According to Jewish traditions, once you hit Bar Mitzvah age, you instantly become a man.
This means that all of a sudden, you are now able to participate in all of Judaism’s customs the same way any adult can.
So, What better Bar Mitzvah gift is there than your very own Kiddush Cup? Personally, I can’t imagine a more meaningful and appropriate Bar Mitzvah gift.
With this Kiddush Cup, you can now make Kiddush during the Shabbat meals and really learn what it feels like to be an adult.
In many ways, this gorgeous Kiddush Cup is a perfect Bar Mitzvah gift choice for pretty much any Bar Mitzvah boy.
Helps the boy feel like a man?
Combination of luxury, functionality and spirituality that few other gifts can come close to matching?
Check, Check and Check.
It’s an inevitable fact that every religious Bar Mitzvah boy will end up with more Sefarim, or “Jewish Books”, that he knows what to do with.
After all, Sefarim are the traditional Bar Mitzvah gift, with many people choosing to give them by default.
So, if you decide to give him Sefarim as well, you better make sure you give him the best of the best, something he’ll be able to use well into adulthood.
After all, there’s no rule that says Bar Mitzvah gifts that are also for adults aren’t allowed!
Here are two such possibilities. Both are travel sized sets of Shas (Talmud), with one containing an English translation, and the other containing all the most popular commentaries along with the Talmud itself.
While the Artscroll with the English translation will obviously be preferable for many people, unfortunately it comes with a very steep price tag (although the travel edition is priced much more reasonably than it’s full sized counterpart).
If the price tag is a dealbreaker, you can get away with a much cheaper set by getting the one without the translation instead – with the extra commentaries, the Bar Mitzvah boy may just find himself preferring this one in the long term anyway.
I think it’s fair to say that Hannukah (or Channukah, if you prefer) is on the short list for everyone’s favorite holiday.
In fact, it has alot of similarities with a Bar Mitzvah – this holiday is famous for it’s family time, presents, guests and food!
In my opinion, that’s enough to make a Menorah a perfectly appropriate Bar Mitzvah gift.
Now that the Bar Mitzvah boy is a man, he should be ready to take part in the special tradition of lighting the Menorah every Channukah.
And what better way to do that than with a new, gorgeous silver Menorah that you got him for his Bar Mitzvah gift?
Here’s another Sefarim option that will surely be useful to the Bar Mitzvah boy.
Chumash with Rashi is, in a way, the basis for the entire Jewish Religion.
After all, the 5 books of the Torah tell us all about the Jewish people’s origin and God’s commandments, and utilizing Rashi alongside the basic text is the proper way to learn them.
The English translation covers both the actual text of the Chumash, as well as Rashi’s commentary, so it should be easy enough for the Bar Mitzvah boy to use.
13 years old is right around that special time of life where boys are JUST starting to get into fashion.
And what’s more fashionable than a beautiful silver pendant proudly displaying the hebrew word Chai (“life” in Hebrew) and signifying your connection to the Jewish people?
Nothing, that’s what.
The fact that the necklace displays the word “Chai” is extremely appropriate, as Chai is a very meaningful word to the Jewish people.
In fact, Chai is such an important and symbolic word to the Jewish people that it is used to help people decide how much money to give as a Bar Mitzvah gift if they opt to give cash instead of a present – often, multiples of $18 are given (more on this later).
Surprisingly affordable, this Sterling Silver Necklace is the perfect memorable gift to get a young man coming of age.
What’s not to love?
This popular Bar Mitzvah gift idea may not be so unique, but that doesn’t make it a bad option.
The Mishnah Brurah is by FAR the best, most complete source for anyone who wants to learn about Jewish laws.
Written by the Chofetz Chaim (one of the most famous Rabbis of all time) over 100 years ago, it remains the golden standard even today.
This Seforim set is one that everyone should have, and giving it as a Bar Mitzvah gift makes all the sense in the world.
Miscellaneous Bar Mitzvah Gifts
While kids do love their electronics, contrary to popular belief they enjoy other things as well. Kids still love sports, fashion, music, and tons of other things as well, and these categories can make for great Bar Mitzvah Gifts.
In this section, let’s go over some miscellaneous gifts to get the Bar Mitzvah boy if you don’t feel like getting a religious or electronic based gift.
Yes, I know. This is TECHNICALLY another technology gift.
However, it doesn’t have a screen, or plug into anything with a screen, or even necessarily go NEAR anything with a screen. Plus, the whole waterproof thing makes it kind of outdoorsy, so I decided to put it into a separate category.
(I know, I’m really not doing a great job proving that kids have interests other than technology).
Categorization aside, these speakers are SUPER cool.
They sound great, look great, are waterproof, dustproof, drop proof, outdoor proof, and whatever-abuse-kids-these-days-can-throw-at-it proof.
What more can you ask for?
Bar Mitzvah boys are just getting into that age where they start to care about fashion.
That can mean many things, like nicer shirts, sweaters, or the latest basketball shoes.
However, to really take your fashion game to the next level, a fancy watch is an absolute necessity.
Watches can get very costly, but this one manages to stay reasonably priced while still looking amazing.
And not only that – its functional as well.
Solar powered, water resistant…
This watch has it all.
Let’s be honest – everyone loves Harry Potter.
Unfortunately, kids don’t read as much as they used to, which means there’s a chance the Bar Mitzvah boy has never read Harry Potter (can you imagine?!)
Getting him the complete set as Bar Mitzvah gifts will change that really quick, and give him memories he’ll treasure into adulthood.
This may not be the most traditional Bar Mitzvah gift, but I’m sure he’ll get enough traditional Bar Mitzvah gifts regardless, so getting something unique is a better idea.
Of course the alternative is to just let him go through life without reading Harry Potter… but you wouldn’t want THAT, would you?
This one definitely isn’t your average Bar Mitzvah gift.
I’m not sure if you missed it, but we’re officially living in the future, as everyone’s favorite movie “Back to The Future” has proven to be prophetic.
Yup, that’s right – hoverboards are real now!
Getting one as a Bar Mitzvah gift opens up tons of new possibilities for the Bar Mitzvah boy, and is sure to quickly become one of his favorite possessions.
This hoverboard has enough battery to let the kid have fun for a long time, and looks stylish to boot.
Looks like he found a new favorite mode of transportation!
Obviously, a beginner friendly, all inclusive, stylish, gorgeous sounding guitar isn’t for everybody.
However, if the Bar Mitzvah boy loves music and has expressed interest in learning to play instruments before, a beginner friendly, all inclusive, stylish gorgeous sounding guitar might be the perfect gift for him.
This guitar includes a waterproof guitar bag, strap, tuner, picks and guitar wipes, is affordable when compared to many other guitar options, and is extremely highly rated in terms of sound quality.
And bonus points – if the boy goes on to become a famous guitarist, you get to take the credit!
Like many Bar Mitzvah gift ideas, this is another gift that can be great for some people and not great for others.
For music fans, this is a cool, personalized Bar Mitzvah gift, but if the Bar Mitzvah boy doesn’t enjoy music they likely won’t enjoy this gift too much.
Besides being an amazing present to the Bar Mitzvah boy, this Bar Mitzvah gift is great for his friends as well.
Imagine inviting your friends over the weekend, or after a long day of school, and having this awesome, competition-ready Ping-Pong table set up and ready for hours of fun.
I’d say that would instantly make him the most popular kid in his friend group.
Unfortunately, Paddles and Balls aren’t included with this table, so you have to buy those separately, but it DOES come 95% preassembled, and includes a premium, sturdy net that should be able to survive kids playing their heart out night after night.
Here’s a cheap, extremely personalized gift you can get for any Bar Mitzvah boy who happens to be a sports fan.
The size, color, number, and name of the Jersey are all customizable – so tailor this gift however the Bar Mitzvah boy likes!
You can choose to put his name, his favorite player’s name, a funny name, or anything in between on the front and back of the jersey
In the child’s eyes, this is likely the best Bar Mitzvah gift a boy can ask for.
What About Cash?
Cash is probably the most popular and traditional Bar Mitzvah gift idea in the world.
However, as I stated above, I personally don’t consider giving cash to be a good form of Bar Mitzvah gift etiquette. I much prefer to look for more personalized Bar Mitzvah gifts.
Then again, is cash really such a bad idea? And if you do opt to give cash, how much should you give? What is a good amount for a Bar Mitzvah gift? Let’s discuss this a bit further.
Remember, this is, to date, the most important day in the boy’s life. Writing him a $20 check just isn’t appropriate in most cases.
Most of the amounts for the Bar Mitzvah gifts listed here are in the $100-200 range, and I think that’s a fair range to think about if you decide you MUST give cash instead of a present.
Since cash is the least personal gift you can give, I personally recommend giving somewhere at the higher end of that range, to make the gift a bit more memorable for him.
OBVIOUSLY, how much you can afford to give as a Bar Mitzvah gift is a huge factor. Don’t go broke just to make the Bar Mitzvah boy happy!
When deciding the amount, many people like to give multiples of $18 when giving money as Bar Mitzvah gifts. The reason for this has to do with a Jewish concept call “gematria”
Gematria is a way to turn words into numbers. Each letter has a numerical value associated with that letter, and to get the Gematria of a word, you simply add up the numerical values of each letter in the word.
The Hebrew word “Chai”, which means life, is spelled with the Hebrew letters “Chet” and “Yud”. Chet has a numerical value of 8, and Yud’s value is 10, for a total value of 18.
So, that’s the reason why it’s common amongst Jews to use multiples of 18 – or multiples of chai – to determine the amount when giving money as a gift for any big event, such as by a wedding, when a baby is born, or, of course, a Bar Mitzvah.
Do you have to do this? No, but it’s a cute idea that’s become popular amongst Jewish gift-givers.
It makes money a touch more personalized, and as an added benefit, it helps you decide how much to give by providing an appropriate amount for the Bar Mitzvah Gift.
With this in mind, $180 (10×18), $324 (18×18, so extra credit here!), and $360 (20×18) seem to be the best amounts for Bar Mitzvah gifts if you decide not to give a REAL present.
Those amounts are high enough to feel like significant Bar Mitzvah gifts and have the added benefit of being multiples of 18.
In my opinion, cash definitely isn’t the best Bar Mitzvah gift, and a more personalized one would be better in most cases (even one that costs less than the cash you would have given). This applies even when the Bar Mitzvah money is given in increments of $18.
However, sometimes you have no choice. In that case, giving cash is fine – and giving an amount that is a multiple of 18 would then be preferable.
And that’s that! That is my complete (for now) list of my favorite Bar Mitzvah gift ideas.
A Bar Mitzvah is such a special time in a young man’s life, and getting a proper Bar Mitzvah gift can really add to his happiness, while the wrong gift will likely get tossed aside, never to be looked at again.
Talk about pressure!
Luckily, this article has so many great ideas for personalized Bar Mitzvah gifts, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find him something he loves.
Side note – While there should be something for everyone in this list, obviously there are plenty of other great gift ideas out there that we haven’t included. If you have any awesome ideas, let us know! We’d love to add more options.
Enjoy the Bar Mitzvah!
P.S – Looking for gift ideas for other occasions? Giftingarea.com is your go-to source for everything gift-related. For example, check here for a list of amazing gag gift ideas, or here for a list of useful gift ideas for grandma.