The Best Mitzvah Songs of All Time

Bar and bat mitzvahs have a reputation for epic celebrations. And much of this notion is due to the rockin’ receptions, fueled by dance-worthy music. As promised, here are the top 10 mitzvah songs of all time:


10. I’M TOO SEXY – Right Said Fred


9. MACARENA – Los Del Rio




7. LOVE SHACK – The B-52’s


6. YEAH – Usher


5. HEY YA! – OutKast


4. I WILL SURVIVE – Gloria Gaynor


3. I GOTTA FEELING – Black Eyed Peas




1. YMCA – Village People


So. . . if you don’t want to have the same pop hits that everyone else is playing at their bar/bat mitzvah, dive into music sensations from history that amp up the party no matter what era you’re in. These puppies are ETERNAL dance inspiration material, and we guarantee that your dance floor will be totally bouncing — and with some all-time favorite sounds.


video credit:  video 1 –  :: video 2 – :: video 3 – :: video 4 – :: video 5 – :: video 6 – :: video 7 – :: video 8 – :: video 9 – :: video 10 –

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Top 5 Mitzvah Songs for 2014

This year’s pop song hits are shaping up to be a lively bunch, and getting the party started at a mitzvah reception is ALL about livening things up! Here are the top 5 picks for best mitzvah songs of 2014 . . . stay tuned for more!

1. HAPPY — Pharrell Williams


2. BURN — Ellie Goulding


3. POMPEII — Bastille


4. LOVE ME AGAIN — John Newman


5. COUNTING STARS — One Republic


Upcoming:  Best Mitzvah Songs of All Time!

video credit: video 1 –  :: video 2 – :: video 3 – :: video 4 – :: video 5 –

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Mitzvah Planning Timeline {For Parents}

SoCal Mitzvahs1

2 1/2 Years from the Mitzvah:

1. Even though it may seem like lightyears into the future, your child’s mitzvah will come around the corner in no time. Thus, it’s pivotal to pick a date about two and half years out. Picking a date with what seems like time to spare will actually help you to be right on track during the whole planning process.

2. Begin researching bar/bat mitzvah planners. Many are booked years ahead of time due to having coordinated siblings’ mitzvahs, so be sure to alleviate stress by finding the right planner to be on your team well in advance.

SoCal Mitzvahs4

2 Years from the Mitzvah:

2. Book your planner. If you want to know which venues are the best and easiest to work with, which florist can really pull off the style you want, or where to secure the highest quality but least expensive linens, then a planner is your buddy — they will guide you through the entire process with the ease and knowledge that only comes from experience.

3. Book your venue. Venues also book up well in advance and the hottest locations are in high demand come mitzvah planning!

SoCal Mitzvahs2

1 1/2 Years from the Mitzvah:

4. With your planner’s insight, begin booking your caterer, photographer, and DJ. You want to make sure that you don’t have to settle for second best when it comes to these categories because they are such an integral part of the bar/bat mitzvah experience. A DJ, for example, might be especially important to the mitzvah boy or girl because dancing is such a big part of the celebration.

SoCal Mitzvahs3

1 Year from the Mitzvah:

5. Choose a theme and color palette. Doing so will make the rest of the pieces in the puzzle come together much easier because it will help to narrow down your selections. It will also  allow your planner to tap into their hidden gems in the arena of niche vendors and unique details.

6. Choose a florist. A florist is so much more than a flower arranger; a savvy florist will know exactly how to execute the centerpieces and tie them in seamlessly with the entire theme.

7. Select invitations. Invitations can be elaborate, traditional, and of course tech-based (check out the many video invitations on YouTube). No matter the medium, an invitation can certainly set the tone for the celebration and raise anticipation among the young party-goers. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy as long as it is true to your child’s personality and the feel of the event.

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The rest of the tasks — such as picking out decor, party favors, confirming numbers with vendors, and finalizing rentals — can fall into the hands of your planner. Of course, some parents want to be involved in every detail of the mitzvah while others desire a more hands-off approach. Whatever yours happens to be, being organized throughout the process (and hiring a planner to create organization for you) will make the preparation a much more enjoyable and smooth experience.

Bottom line: planning a bar/bat mitzvah does not have to be a challenging process; with the right preparation and team by your side, you’ll have plenty of reasons to celebrate. Mazel tov!


photo credit: photos 1 through 7 –, photography by Kelsey Crews Photography

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Congratulations, “You’re a man!”?

“Today I am a man” — the traditional opening to a bar mitzvah speech — is not a piddling statement, especially coming from a 13-year-old.

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This incredible documentary preview got us thinking: what is it like growing into manhood in the United States and — for heaven’s sake — how do you become a “man”?

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.52.03 PMAm I a Man?

For starters, the traditional blessing that a father recites after his son is bar mitzvah’d helps to shed some light on this query. In the blessing, the father thanks God for removing the burden of being responsible for his son’s sins.

Why would a father do this? Well, clearly because the son is now responsible for his own actions. In the Jewish religion, 13 is an age considered old enough for a person to not only understand what actions are acceptable, but also take full responsibility for them.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.35.39 PMWhat about me?

And what about in American society? Surely, we don’t see the 13-year-olds walking around our communities as “men.” Interestingly, though, roughly the same age — 14 — is when Anglo-American common law confers minimal criminal liability on individuals, and some states even allow marriage!

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.59.41 PMOk, well clearly he’s definitely a man.

In Judaism, becoming a “man” (or woman) isn’t about being an adult, it’s about being a bar mitzvah or “son of the commandment” — someone who respects the commandments and takes responsibility for his own actions. Although there’s certainly a serious side to starting this new monumental journey in your life, it can actually be a lot of fun because you truly get to take pride in your choices and who you are. Not to mention, you get to kick it all off with a fantastic celebration and not only become a bar mitzvah, but have one too!!


SoCal Mitzvahs


photo credit: photo 1 – :: photo 2 – hard :: photo 3 – :: photo 4 – :: photo 5 – Southern California Mitzvahs, photography by Tim Halberg

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Top 5 Ways to Throw the Best Mitzvah Ever

Your bar or bat mitzvah will be special no matter what; but at the same time, there are little elements that can make all the difference between simply a memorable rite of passage and an extraordinary life moment. Here are some great tips:

1. Your Speech.

Bar MitzvahAlthough it may feel like a burden — and a huge undertaking — composing a mitzvah speech doesn’t have to be such a slog. Instead of getting so heady and uptight about it, just be honest — what’s a real life issue that really matters to you? Sit back and observe: anything in your Torah portion make you think of something that you don’t (or do) like in today’s world? For example, Duncan McAlpine Sennett in Portland, Oregon, related his Torah portion to modern love and used his speech to support gay marriage. Check out the story here.

Bottom line: you don’t have to look too far to create a meaningful speech. Chances are, if you’re reeeaaching, then you’re too far away from what really matters to you. Some of the best speeches we’ve heard come straight from the heart, not academia.

2. Activities.

Socal Mitzvahs1Of course there’s dancing, maybe a really big entrance à la Sam Horowitz style, and always fabulous food (I mean, who are we kidding, we’re Jews?! — If the food isn’t good, the party isn’t lasting too long ; ) . . .). But, what about the stuff in between? Here are some winning ideas that have been huge hits at our events:

  • Personalized phone case decoration station
  • Airbrushing
  • A ridiculously intricate and entertaining treasure hunt
  • Whole body 3D virtual reality games like basketball & kayaking
  • Karaoke

Ultimately, what’s probably going to provide the best entertainment are things that you’d really enjoy doing. Love SNL? Have a station with a script, some props, and let people “play out” a short 2 minute scene and get a copy of the footage… when it comes to mitzvahs, there’s no such thing as too creative.

3. Photo booth.

barmitzvahMight sound pretty straightforward, but the photo booth usually turns out to be one of the most popular and in-demand highlights of many of our events. Put some theme props around like cowboy hats or burlesque outfits and your friends will be there all night. . . they’ll get to pose and not even get accused of taking selfies!! ; )

4. Party favors.

SoCal MitzvahsAlthough they aren’t totally essential to every mitzvah, good party favors will leave your guests little tokens to remember a great time. Some favorites are really comfy sweatshirts or t-shirts decorated with graffiti (my niece still wears one she got at a b’nai mitzvah every time she goes to the gym), personalized iPhone charger decals, custom decorated phone cases, or sports paraphernalia — and of course, some glow-in-the-dark necklaces thrown in for those black light/neon-themed events we’ve done! ; )

5. Food trucks!!

Food TruckSo, you’ve become a “man” (or woman); want to fast-track it to becoming a mench? Then provide your guests with food trucks while they’re waiting for their cars after the event. Ok, you might have to try a little harder than that to become a true mench, but not much right after your mitzvah, at least… Who doesn’t LOVE some delicious down-home eats after they’ve danced the night away?! Oh bubbela!

Creating an incredible mitzvah experience for you and your guests is something you’ll treasure the rest of your life. It’s not rocket science, but with the right formula of meaning and creativity, you’ll invent the time of your life.

photo credit: photo 1 – :: photo 2 –  southern california mitzvahs by tim halberg photography :: photo 3 – :: photo 4 – southern california mitzvahs by tim halberg photography :: photo 5 –

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Santa Barbara Jewish Festival 2013

The wait is almost over for the 2013 Santa Barbara Jewish Festival! This Sunday, April 28, from 11 AM to 4 PM, members of the Santa Barbara Jewish community will come together at Oak Park for entertainment, dancing, activities, food, and more! Come participate in this incredible community-wide event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara for an unforgettable afternoon.

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Israeli Independence Day Celebration


On Tuesday, April 16, the Felici Events team celebrated Israeli Independence Day with members of the Jewish Federation and Santa Barbara Jewish community at the Congregation B’nai B’rith. This year marked the 65th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

Israeli Independence Day Decor

In the spirit of this joyous occasion, multitudes of Jewish flags lined the room and tables were adorned with patriotic blue and white centerpieces.

Israeli Independence Day Decor

Guests previewed tasty kosher treats by Georgia’s Smokehouse and KD’s Gluten Free Bakery that will be featured at this year’s Santa Barbara Jewish Festival.

Jewish Festival Kickoff Event

The party was an inspiring display of communal camaraderie and patriotism, making for a successful kickoff event!


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Graffiti Grunge Themed Bat Mitzvah

Zohe Felici and her Felici Events team is so excited for an upcoming Graffiti Grunge Bat Mitzvah they are planning.

Here is a sneak peek at the upcoming celebration we are putting together by this Graffiti Grunge Save the Date which uses the Wailing Wall as the background of the actual picture taken of the guest of honor on a recent trip to Israel.  The graffiti component was added and designed by the talents of Lazaro Press and Design

Graffiti Grunge Theme Bat Mitzvah Save the Date

Graffiti Grunge Theme Bat Mitzvah Save the Date

Want to peruse thru a bit more of their inspiration for decor details?  Find more by following Zohe Felici from Felici Events’ Pinterest Board

Graffiti Grunge Bat Mitzvah Inspiration Board of Decor Ideas by Felici Events

Graffiti Grunge Bat Mitzvah Inspiration Board of Decor Ideas by Felici Events

Graffiti Grunge Bat Mitzvah Inspiration Board of Decor Ideas by Felici Events


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Neon Inspiration!!

Illuminate your Bar/Bat Mitzvah with a wild, wacky neon-themed reception!  If you want to go bold and make a statement, or just add a little flare to your invitations, cake, centerpieces, etc., then check out some of these ideas we think would make for a one-of-a-kind party!

These neon invites are bright enough to burn a hole right through their envelope!

I have a feeling biting into this will make your mouth glow in the dark for the rest of the night…

You’ve heard of the endless hallway… now meet the endless LED hallway!

A downpour of rainbow slinkys is guaranteed to boldly tell all your friends that’s it’s time to get wild!

Indulge in some virgin cocktails at your neon bar, courtesy of Absolutely Fabulous Events & Productions Inc. 

See a video of what your neon bar/bat mitzvah could look like in the heat of the action here… a Hollywood/Neon Themed Bar Mitzvah put together by Felici Events!

But remember the most important thing when you’re planning your next Bar/Bat Mitzvah …


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Bar/Bat Mitzvahs 2.0

Bar/Bat Mitzvahs are intended to signify a child’s understanding of the Tora and is a rite of passage into adulthood.  However, among some in the Jewish community, men and women who have reached the ripe old age of 83 may customarily celebrate a second bar mitzvah!  The Torah dictates that a “normal” lifespan is 70 years, so an 83-year-old can essentially be considered 13 in a second lifetime.

Read a related article in the Suffolk Times about a Suffolk man who celebrates his second life here

At 83 it can be assumed that these men and women are already well established within their communities.  A second mitzvah is more a way of formalizing and celebrating their first life and the contributions they’ve made.

A second bar/bat mitzvah is proof that it’s never too late to be a kid again… Mazel!

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