“We had [the] Bar Mitzvah party last Sunday, during which we of course read the various speeches you’d prepared. They were genuinely all huge hits! Thank you for all your help. I’m sure I’ll get back in contact next time!” – Howard U.
The typical bar mitzvah party will include speeches by:
- The father of the bar mitzvah toasting his son
- A friend of the bar mitzvah toasting his friend
- The bar mitzvah thanking his family and guests for helping him celebrate his coming of age
Many parties also have a ‘Chairman’ acting as an MC. He will often be a relative or close family friend who will make a brief speech of his own.
We have written dozens of each for clients across the world and would be delighted to help write yours.
The Father’s Toast
As ever, the key is relevance. It’s about striking the right balance between sincerity and humour, particularly bearing in mind that your audience is likely to include at least three generations of family and friends. The risk is often trying to please one group at the expense of the others. It’s also easy to overdo your lavish praise of your son or daughter and to provoke some mildly cynical looks from friends of all ages. At the other end of the scale, it’s important not simply to list a series of thanks and achievements. The best father-of-the-bar-mitzvah speeches are usually balanced, witty and self-deprecating, with a sprinkling of sentimentality.
The Friend’s Toast
Typically we are approached by parents worried that their twelve or thirteen year old child is being asked to speak in front of a room full of people, many of whom they have never met. It’s a daunting task. The child’s instinct is often to tease his or her friend about their interests and hobbies. In England, there’s rarely a draft that doesn’t contain multiple references to football. My advice would be to keep the speech relatively sincere, not try to be too funny or clever, but to explain simply and clearly why the bar mitzvah is such a good friend and why you hope this will just be the beginning of a much longer friendship. There is room for jokes, but this speech is very much a supporting act, and generally the bad ones will be remembered longer than the most effective.
The Bar Mitzvah’s speech
It’s been one hell of a weekend. Your son or daughter will have stood up in Synagogue, seen friends and family together for the very first time, been showered with gifts and attention, and then be expected to stand-up with a microphone in hand and entertain them all after dinner. There are so many people to mention and thank, and so many in-jokes to tell, that this is a speech that can drag, despite all the warmth in the room. My advice would be to keep it as brief as possible, avoid the most obvious stereotypes (‘Mum’s always in the kitchen while Dad’s at Spurs’) and keep it simple and sincere without too much sibling-bashing. It tends to be pretty obvious when a parent has written the speech for their son or daughter and it’s vital that the speech has the bar mitzvah’s finger-prints all over it.
We would love to help you prepare and deliver any sort of bar mitzvah speech. We’re always happy to chat about your plans and concerns, and to discuss the most effective way of helping you write and deliver something genuinely special. Or feel free to email Seb.
Please let us know if you would like us to write a bat mitzvah / bar mitzvah speech for you and we will send through a questionnaire to help you prepare your content in advance.