What Clothes to Wear to a Bar Mitzvah Party or a Bat Mitzvah Celebration?
One of the most common questions asked by Jews and non-Jews alike on bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah forums is what to wear to a bar mitzvah. A bar mitzvah is usually held either in a synagogue or in a restaurant or celebration hall and the mode of dress is slightly different for each of these bar mitzvah venues. Another factor which influences what you wear to a bar mitzvah is the degree to which the celebrating Jewish family is religious.
What to wear to a bar mitzvah/bat mitzvah party held in a synagogue?
A general rule of thumb is to wear something which would be appropriate to wear to church on a Sunday. As a synagogue is a place of worship the religion is respected by dressing modestly.
For women attending a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah modest dress means avoid strapless or sleeveless tops, rather go for something with at least a small sleeve. See through clothing is not modest enough to wear to a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah in a synagogue. Skirts or dresses worn to a bar mitzvah should be at least up to the knee and not mini dresses, extremely tight or with sexy slits up the side.
Should women wear a head covering when attending a bar mitzvah party in a synagogue?
Married Jewish women cover their heads when attending synagogue and out of respect for this place of worship bar mitzvah guests should consider wearing a head covering as well. Although the rule about women covering their heads is not as strictly observed as the rule for men covering their heads. I suggest wearing a shawl, scarf or wrap to the bar mitzvah and then if you feel the need you can cover your head with it.
What should men wear to a bar mitzvah held in a synagogue?
For men attending a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah in a synagogue you should wear long pants (trousers) and a shirt or top with a sleeve. Vests or tank tops should not be worn to a bar mitzvah. Jewish men cover their heads in a synagogue, and out of respect guests at a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah are encouraged to do so as well. This means that you could wear anything from a baseball hat to a yamaka (Jewish skullcap or kippah). Most of the time paper yamakas are provided at the synagogue entrance for bar mitzvah guests, and sometimes the yamakas are even printed with the birthday boy's name as bar mitzvah "party favors". Don't hesitate to call up the mother of the bar mitzvah boy and ask ahead of time, or stuff a hat in your pocket just in case!
What to wear to a bar mitzvah in a reform synagogue?
If the bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is in a reform synagogue the rules are not as hard and fast although the smart bar mitzvah guest wear described above will save you any embarrassment no matter what brand of Judaism your friends follow.
What to wear to a bar mitzvah /bat mitzvah party not in a synagogue?
What you wear to a bar mitzvah party or bat mitzvah celebration not held in a synagogue is a lot less important. So long as you wear something modest enough for your guest's religious convictions you are ok. If the bar mitzvah boy's parents are ultra-orthodox you can follow the guidelines given above for what to wear to a bar mitzvah in a synagogue. If the bar mitzvah boy's parents are not practicing Jews then you can dress for the bar mitzvah as you would for any large important party. Keep in mind that children, aunts, grannies and maybe a Rabbi will be present so don't over do the sexiness of your bar mitzvah outfit! There is no need for men or women to wear a head covering to a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah not held in a synagogue
Be yourself when choosing what to wear to a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah but with a little more attention to modesty.