Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | March 18, 2014

First World Problems: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Date Conflicts

There are some major first world problems. Like not knowing three years in advance if your kid’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah is scheduled on the same date as someone else from camp. Or middle school. Or the same date as someone from soccer or dance. Because then your tween’s 85 friends would have to choose between the two B’nai Mitzvot. Would you have to start competing based on the party? Based on popularity? Based on proposed favors? Based on the theme? OMG!!!!

The competition for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Photo ( used with creative commons rights: :

The competition for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Photo ( used with creative commons rights:

For first world problems like this, thank G-d there are solutions like SaveMyMitzvahDate,com. Just register and give them everything but your credit card (it is a free site). Give them your child’s name, your name, your exact school name, camp name. And your Bar/Bat Mitzvah date.

Give me your social security number!

Give me your social security number!

Of course I had to register to see how it looked from the inside (and make sure there weren’t any competing B’nai Mitzvot on our day). I gave them my spam email address and my not-real-initials. And I entered a fake upcoming Bat Mitzvah date (because no one from our  zip code, had yet registered – I’m such a trend-setter!). What pops up is a “save the date” email that I can send to all my intended guests. Because I know three years in advance who is coming to the par-tay, right? The earlier you send it out, the earlier you have dibs on that date and those friends, right? OMG.

Okay, not our real date, nor the real initials...of my son. Okay, they are his initials.

Okay, not our real date, nor the real initials…of my son. Okay, they are his initials. But he doesn’t have date yet, so no worries.

Once you spam all your friends and family, you’re sure they’ll all write it in their calendars. Because who doesn’t have calendars going out two to three years where they can track the most important date of their your child’s life. And now you are now committed to inviting them to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, even though you may not be talking to them then. Here’s what you  do next, according to the website.

“…email it to all of your guests. Our system allows you to create and download your own easy to use SaveMyMitzvahDate spreadsheet, allowing you to track every guest you’ve sent a “save the date”, their addresses, and their responses.

You can track their responses! Like “we’re looking forward to Princess turning 13 and reading from the Torah and dancing the Hora!!! OMG!! We put it on the calendar that we don’t yet have. Please send us a real save-the-date card six to nine months before the event!” Because I’m sure they know what they will be doing in THREE YEARS. Or even TWO YEARS. By the way, the calendar goes through 2029, so you can book a date for your unconceived child! You will have your choice of dates.

Okay, so what if you find out that you have the same date as someone you plan to invite? Or who will be competing for the same guests? Here’s the helpful response from the site’s FAQs:

Oy’ Vey we have the same day, what should I do?
We suggest that you try to contact the Mitzvah family and resolve conflict.  If this fails and you choose to change your date go to your “My Profile” page and edit your date.  Please remember that is only a tool to share your Mitzvah date and does not give you an exclusive hold on the date.

Ha ha! The website doesn’t guarantee you have an exclusive hold on that date! I guess if you lose the duel, you have to change your date. Do you think the other family would pay you off to change your date? How do you decide? How much is a date worth?

It's not fun unless all 85 of my friends are there! Photo used with creative commons copyright

It’s not a Bat Mitzvah unless all 85 of my friends are there! Photo used with creative commons copyright

I enjoyed reading comments on another blog talking about this new website:

“So in our town there are 2 major synagogues. One sends the date out 3 years in advance; the other, 2. I just want you to consider the chaos there!!! And the lists are guarded by synagogue Gestapo – no early sneak peeks! Believe me, there have been people in town offering $$$ to get ahold of that second list! Having said that, everyone survives. And some people miss other peoples’. And here’s another wild one…with some kids bar mitzvah in 7th grade and some in 8th there can be some crazy unforeseen overlaps! Example…your best friends daughter versus you kid’s best friend… Ooh yeah. Good luck. BTW this is NOT the moment to pass up on the cocktails…”

“In my cousin’s hometown, there is a List Keeper at each Middle School. When you get your child’s date, you call it in to the Keeper at the Middle School your child will attend (there are many synagogues/temples/Middle Schools in this town!) Sometime before 6th grade, you get a copy of the list. Now you know the date of every child’s Mitzvah in your child’s grade (probably won’t be invited to all) and can work out any date/time conflicts while you’re still in the planning stage. However, this doesn’t take into account camp friends and sports friends.”

I’m so glad I don’t live in those towns. I wonder if that List Keeper position is an elected PTA post.

Fortunately at our small synagogue, we get our own day, and often even our month (and even our own season!). We pretty much have our pick of the calendar. That is the advantage of a small b’nai mitzvah class. We won’t get into the disadvantages.

At the large synagogue in town (apparently the largest reform synagogue in New Jersey), the 4th graders received their dates before Dori had hers – and she was already in 6th grade. Those 4th grade parents were busy booking catering halls and country clubs as soon as they got their dates. That stressed me out a little since they were two years behind us. And apparently some of those places they looked into were already booked. Maybe the catering halls now need to have a calendar called I’m on it!


  1. Although I’m not familiar with the particular website you seem to be mocking, I do live in a very busy city with a large Jewish population and a synagogue within every 2-3 miles. My children both attended middle schools w “date keepers” who dutifully sent out save the date requests and calendar updates
    as early as 5th grade. I remember receiving my first date request and thinking to myself how absurd it was to ask families to commit to a milestone event so far in advance, especially one that is mandated by the Jewish calendar, not subject to a busy congregation with an over populous of mitzvahs in the making. Nonetheless, after two Bar Mitzvahs and an overexposure to the intricacies and details that go into planning this right of passage, I can truthfully say I would not only have appreciated but would have used it as the valuable resource that it is. Furthermore, would all be lying if we said we didn’t care if our child’s best friend couldn’t attend his/her party. Our children work so hard towards this special day and it can be extremely disturbing for a child to learn that there is another student in his/her grade having his event the same evening. What is really upsetting to me are the parents who simply don’t care whether their mitzvah celebration conflicts with another child’s- even when other options clearly exist. Needless to say, I have had the very unfortunate and sad experience of attending a mitzvah celebration only to witness the ballroom emptying out after the cocktail hour so that the kids could attend two events in the same evening. This may sound comedic to you, as you are lucky to be from a small town where these situations are rare, but having witnessed this personally, I would certainly opt to avoid it. And what is the crime in letting your camp friends know about your date? I guess I dust don’t understand your humor or rather your cynicism. It seems these ladies are just trying to help.

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