If you’ve ever been to a bar mitzvah, you’ll know that these were the most lit parties of your middle school career. A celebration held to honor the coming-of-age in the Jewish tradition, bar mitzvahs were basically the seventh grade equivalent of a fraternity pledge party. No matter whose it was or where it was held,  there were always some key memorable moments you keep to this day. In honor of Cornell Hillel’s Big Red Bar Mitzvah on November 12th, here are a few to take you back to the good ol’ days.  


1The Candle Lighting Ceremony


One of the mainstays of the bar mitzvah party was the candle lighting ceremony. Everyone remembers lighting thirteen candles–for being 13 years old–each representing an important person in their life. We all know too well how crazy the last candle would get when all your friends would swarm around the dance floor. No matter how hectic it got, you were glad to celebrate the people in your life that made you smile.


2The Photos


Those bar mitzvah photos are way too awkward to even remember. But who didn’t love cramming into a photo booth and making silly faces with all of their friends? It’s nice to look back on how much we changed (or didn’t). As much as you may want to burn them, save those photos because you may need them to advertise for Big Red Bar Mitzvah in 6 years.


3Cake on Cake on Cake


Nothing was sweeter than getting massive sheet cakes on your bar mitzvah. Whether yours was themed, plain, or color coordinated with your outfit, it was the taste that was the show stopper. The massive cake in addition to the candy bar at every bar mitzvah basically marked the inception of your sweet tooth. You also probably had enough cake to last you a year (even though most of it definitely got eaten in two weeks).


4Singing (or Screaming) “I Got a Feeling”


This was the song of the decade that all DJ’s knew would get the kids excited. You were also extremely proud that the Black Eyed Peas threw some Jewish lingo into the mix. You basically screamed this song all night, and didn’t stop humming it the next day. Mazal Tov!




The highlight of every bar mitzvah was the games. Needed a break from the dance floor? Just head on over for an intense round of basketball, foozball, or even Guitar Hero. After all, you always looked towards the rematch at the next bar mitzvah (probably in two weeks).


6The Candy Bar


Ending the night with candy? Is there any other way to end it? The best party of the year when a party always ended with a table of candy, ready to be stuffed into your little plastic baggy and eaten on the way home. You always kept this candy for the next day to remember the sweet times the night before (and to satisfy your sweet tooth, of course). It was definitely the sweetest part of the night.


7The Goody Bag


Whether it was a sweatshirt, sweat pants, shirt, or hat, you always knew there would be a great gift to pick up as you left the party. Although they were always at least three sizes too big, you cherished how lovely they were as you proudly wore them to class the next day. You probably still wear them now in college studying for prelims, and there is always someone who will recognize the gift–jewish geography at its finest.


8Dancing the Night Away


Dancing with all your friends and the dancers at the party was definitely a major highlight at every bar mitzvah. It was also the best when the Bar/Bat Mitzvah’ed friend came to dance with you and celebrate the night. Whether it was dancing the cotton eyed joe or the cha cha slide, you didn’t miss a chance to laugh and have fun with all of your friends.


9The Shabbat Before the Big Day


This was basically the day you would celebrate the beginnings of your friend’s manhood/womanhood, marked by a stellar torah portion and a great dvar in front of your entire synagogue. Your friends prepared for that speech for weeks, you knew how much it meant to your friends to be there. You were also graced with candy every time someone would make an aliyah and after almost every speech. What a time to be alive.

10The Themes


Your parents made sure that there was a central theme to your party whether you wanted a theme or not. It still makes you laugh to this day when you reminisce about how cute it was. Whether your theme was sports, candy, cars, butterflies or simply a color, you made sure that everything in the party matched, from the tiniest details to the biggest centerpieces.


11The Food


The food was obviously the most important part of the celebration. There was a top notch menu for everyone, including kids, who got the most gourmet burgers and chicken fingers around. For beverages, mixing cherry and sprite together and getting way too much of a sugar rush was definitely the move.


12Celebrating with Your Friends


The stress of the party planning and the excitement of the big day itself were nothing without your friends being by your side the whole time. Your bar mitzvah meant so much because you had your friends and family celebrating with you and, cheesy as it sounds, we all know that’s what really made your night so special.


Want to relive the bar mitzvah rush again in college? You can! Come to Cornell Hillel’s Big Red Bar Mitzvah on Saturday November 12th at Duffield Atrium from 10 PM to 1 AM and party like it’s 2009! More info can be found on the Facebook page here.