Bar Mitzvah Gift Etiquette: How much money should I Give

Bar Mitzvah Gift Etiquette: How much money should I Give


Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are significant milestones in the lives of Jewish teens. They signify the onset of adulthood and additional responsibilities under Jewish law. Many attendees wonder, "How much money should I give as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah gift in 2023?" This article delves into the tradition behind monetary gifts for these occasions.

Before we dive into the gifts, let's briefly explain the Bar Mitzvah. Jewish boys celebrate their Bar Mitzvah at age 13, while girls celebrate their Bat Mitzvah at age 12. "Bar Mitzvah" translates to "son of the commandments," and "Bat Mitzvah" means "daughter of the commandments." This rite of passage signifies that parents are no longer solely responsible for their child's actions under Jewish law.

Why are cash gifts given at bar mitzvahs? 

Several powerful reasons support cash gifts at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs: 


Cash gifts offer great flexibility, enabling an individual to utilize the funds for any purpose they wish. Cash provides freedom and control, whether used for gap year planning, college savings, or an Israel study abroad program. 

Event Cost Offset: 

Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations can be expensive. Cash gifts can help defray the costs of the venue, decorations, food, and entertainment.


Giving money is a time-honored Bar Mitzvah gift tradition, celebrating the young person's transition to adulthood.

Symbolic Value: 

Cash gifts are more than just money; they also have a symbolic meaning. They symbolize community support and warm wishes for the Bar Mitzvah party as they enter adulthood. 


Giving and receiving cash is straightforward, making it an easy choice, especially for those who might be attending from a distance.

While cash is a popular gift, attendees can also opt for alternative presents like books, memorable experiences, or Judaica items. Always keep in mind the gift preferences of the host or the family since customs can vary across Jewish communities.

Why do you give 18 dollars to a bar mitzvah? 

bar mitzvah cash gift

The Hebrew alphabet has numerical values for all letters. The Hebrew word for life, chai (pronounced high), has two letters that total up to 18. Thus, Jewish blessed numbers are multiples of 18. Many gifts and donations are multiples of 18. 

To symbolize good fortune, Jews donate $54, a multiple of 18, instead of $50. In the Jewish tradition, Jews consider multiples of 18 to be fortunate and use them for gifts and contributions. Multiples of 18 are common Bar Mitzvah cash gifts. Popular gift amounts include $36, $54, $90, $108, $180, $360, and $540. 

Consider what you want to give and calculate the closest multiple of 18. 


What is an appropriate cash gift for a bar mitzvah?

bar mitzvah cash amount

The appropriate gift amount largely depends on your relationship with the celebrant, your financial means, and the prevailing community norms. Generally, Bar Mitzvah cash gifts range from $18 to $180 or even more. Reflect on your personal circumstances when deciding on an amount.

If you are looking for an alternative gift to enhance the festivities, try Instant Spotlight which helps in event photo sharing. It adds an immediate modern touch to these events, allowing guests to live-stream photos and videos for all to see. This feature lets everyone share the experience in real-time, enhancing the sense of communal celebration.

Giving cash or a check for a bar mitzvah has both pros and cons. Depending on your preferences and the situation, either option is a good one. The benefits and drawbacks of each option are as follows:

Cash: Cash gifts provide flexibility. It provides immediate access to funds and allows the recipient to decide how to use the money. Cash eliminates the need to visit a bank and can be used instantly without any additional steps. Another meaning is that it shows trust and responsibility. 

Check: Giving a check as a Bar Mitzvah gift has its advantages. It is a formal and traditional approach to gifting. It symbolizes financial support and responsibility. Additionally, it provides security since it can be canceled or reissued if lost or stolen. Personalize your check by writing it. Send a kind message or note of congratulations. 

In essence, whether you opt for cash or a check depends on your personal preferences and your relationship with the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebrant. Both cash and a check can fund educational endeavors, religious studies, event expenses, travel, or even charitable donations on behalf of the celebrant. The underlying message is one of trust and support for the young individual stepping into adulthood.

Offset Event Costs

Event planning often involves significant costs, from venue rentals to catering and beyond. With Esstarts Storybook, which will Immerse your guest with interactive stories, games, trivia, quizzes, and personalized messaging which can offset expenses creatively. Sponsorships offer visibility on event materials, while donations cover various expenses like venue rental and promotion. Ticket sales not only fund the event but also promote inclusivity by providing tickets for those who may need them. Plus, contributions from friends and family make the celebration truly special

There are multiple ways to contribute to these expenses. Sponsorship, donations, and ticket sales are all ways to financially support the event. 

Sponsorship includes logos on event materials and mentions in event announcements. Donations can pay for venue rental, equipment, promotion, and personnel. Ticket sales can help fund event expenses and promote inclusion by purchasing additional tickets for those who can't afford them. Also, friends and family cash gifts can make the occasion more affordable for the family. A generous contribution to create an unforgettable celebration. 


In determining the perfect cash gift for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, consider your relationship with the family and the significance of the occasion. While gifts in multiples of 18 are customary, the sentiment behind the gift holds more value. Whether you opt for cash, a check, or Instant Spotlight, your gesture of support will be warmly received.



1. Is it acceptable to give non-monetary gifts at Bar mitzvah?

Absolutely yes. Giving non-monetary presents during a Bar Mitzvah is allowed. Cash presents are traditional, although there is no need for them to be monetary. Non-monetary gifts may be just as valuable and sensible, enabling the giver to create a personalized Bar Mitzvah celebration. 

You can consider customized gifts that match the child's hobbies or interests. This might be personalized jewelry, artwork, a picture book, or a handcrafted object with emotional meaning. Non-monetary gifts might include tickets for an event or a membership or subscription related to their hobbies. Gift cards or vouchers may let them pick something they want.

Additionally, enhancing the celebration with a unique gift, such as Instant Spotlight, an interactive photo wall, can serve as a thoughtful gift for both the celebrant and their guests.

2. Do you bring a gift to a bar mitzvah?

Yes. A Bar Mitzvah is a significant rite of passage, and bringing a gift is both expected and appropriate. Consider gifts that resonate with the celebrant's Jewish identity or personal interests.

3. What is a typical bar mitzvah gift?

Gifts range based on your relationship with the celebrant. Traditional gifts include gifts of faith and identity, checks or cash, and items that resonate with their interests. Try to aim for gifts that enhance the celebrant's connection to their community and personal journey.

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