How Much to Give for Bar Mitzvah

How Much To Give For Bar Mitzvah (Updated)

Last Updated on April 22, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

A Bar Mitzvah is an incredibly significant event when a Jewish boy turns 13. If you are invited to one, you may be unsure about the appropriate cash amount to present as a gift. Is there a particular standard for monetary gifts at these occasions?

Fortunately, our team created a monetary gift etiquette for a bar mitzvah. Check the details below. 

What is a Bar Mitzvah?

What is a Bar Mitzvah?

Bar mitzvah is a Jewish religious ritual commemorated by a Jewish boy on his 13th birthday [1]. In Israel, it has become a practice to bring monetary gifts when celebrating bar mitzvahs for a few reasons. 

Guests give monetary gifts to help parents to cover the expenses. Others intend to bring money to help them start savings bonds or buy a personal gift.

“A Bar Mitzvah is the time in his life when a Jewish boy realizes he has a better chance of owning a team than playing for one.”

Jerry Reinsdorf, Chairperson of the Chicago Bulls

Meanwhile, other guests attending such a religious event do not have time or energy to look for other gift ideas, so they bring cash gifts.  But is there a standard or appropriate monetary bar mitzvah gift? 

How Much Should You Give For Bar Mitzvah?

How Much Should You Give For Bar Mitzvah

For An Acquaintance’s Children

If your friend or acquaintance has a boy celebrating a bar mitzvah, it is pretty standard to give from $90 to $126. If you are an adult guest, it is a rule of thumb to consider spending the same amount you should give on a birthday gift. 

Good friends should not go overboard when giving money, so lower than $150 is a good idea. In addition, you should also consider how close you are to the family. If so,  you might be expected to give a nice sum of money to the bar mitzvah boy. 

For Close Relatives

For Close Relatives

First and second family members usually give a generous sum of money that ranges from $120 to $540 or even more. You can check with your other relatives on how much money you should give to avoid giving too small amounts of money. 

Some may like to start spending at a range of $72, but in metropolitan areas, some can reach $540.

Aside from money, close family members passed on gift ideas such as Judaica, jewelry, or books as a family heirlooms to make the event more special. 

For Distant Relatives

If you are a distant relative invited to a bar mitzvah party and you plan on bringing your whole family, it is in nature to give about $72 per person. If you are a family of four with two adults and two kids, around $306 would be an appropriate cash gift.  

Like close relatives, they are expected to give such an amount as a family tradition. They can also bring other gift ideas such as gift certificates, gift cards, jewelry, or Judaica.  

For Classmates & Friends

If you are a classmate or a friend of a bar mitzvah boy, you are not expected to give such a high amount of money.

It is expected that classmates and friends are in the same age brackets, so a rough guideline to consider in gift-giving is anywhere between 2x – 4x of Chai.

Chai is equivalent to $18, so a maximum of $72 will be considered generous for gift-giving. 

Read: Popular Outfits For A Bar Mitzvah

Things To Consider When Giving Money

Things To Consider When Giving Money

Pricing Guidelines

When giving a bar mitzvah gift amount, the first thing you should consider is the pricing guidelines. In general, for bar mitzvah gifting, take the amount you normally spend on a birthday present, give 1.5 times, and then round it in multiples of 18. 

If you normally give $100, you can give for a bar mitzvah $150, but considering the multiples of eighteen, you can give either $144 or $162. 

Split Gifts

Most families prefer dividing the money they intend to spend on buying a present and the rest for cash or check.

In other cases, parents will give a portion of the total monetary gift to their child for them to buy what they want, then deposit the remaining money in the savings account for their future [2].

On some occasions, the parents will split the bar mitzvah gift depending on the pricing guidelines of multiples of 18.

Read: Cash Or Check For Bar Mitzvah Gift

Your Relationship To The Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Your Relationship To The Bar/Bat Mitzvah

When gifting money, your connection to the bar or bat mitzvah celebrant should be considered. You are expected to give a high amount depending on your closeness to the child or parents. 

If you are a close relative, you should be giving more than what a friend or acquaintance gives.

However, we would like to remind you that you are giving to a person at a young age, so it is fine not to give too much, especially if you are not capable. 

Read: What To Bring To A Hannukah Party?

Social & Cultural Habits Of The Family Or Community

Money is a traditional gift in bar mitzvah celebrations, but you should also consider the social and cultural habits of the family or the community.

Most families still follow the multiples of 18 when giving gifts in this event because, based on Jewish tradition, 18 is equal to the Hebrew word chai, which symbolizes life and luck [3]. 

Different gift etiquettes depend on the cities, families, and communities. While others prefer monetary gifts only, some strongly prefer presents. 

How Fancy The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony Is

How Fancy The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony Is

It is good to give an amount that can cover your meal and consider how lavish the event is. We highly recommend checking out where the event will take place.

If it is held in a luxurious event place or garden, you should give a higher amount that you think will be acceptable. It should be a factor to help you decide on how much money you will give. 

Also Read:

Jewish History On The Number 18

Judaism gives meaning to different things, especially in numbers, so when it comes to the bar mitzvah gift amount, it is expected that there is a corresponding meaning to the number 18.

A bar or bat mitzvah gift should be in multiples of 18 because, in Hebrew, 18 is numerically equivalent, meaning life. 

In the Hebrew alphabet, Chai is composed of two Hebrew letters, Ched and Yud, the 8th and 10th letters of the alphabet.

When the two are combined, it results in the numerical number 18.

If you give monetary presents in multiples of 18, you give life and luck to the young person celebrating his bar mitzvah.

Is Giving Cash the Only Gift Option?

Is Giving Cash the Only Gift Option?

No. Cash is not the only option when giving a bar/ bat mitzvah gift because you can send other presents.

Bar/bat mitzvah gift is an important part of the occasion, and there are no rules that you should only give monetary presents. 

Many young people receive special electronic devices like the B’nai mitzvah for religious occasions.

Traditional presents like Judaica items can be a great gift idea aside from money that they can use for Israel bonds and other future business or investments [4]. 

But is it considered rude to give money as a gift?


Is a gift expected at a bar mitzvah?

Yes, a gift is expected at a bar mitzvah because it is an integral part of the celebration.

The event marks an important day for a boy, and a bar mitzvah gift can express happiness and fond hopes for the future.

But how long does a bar mitzvah ceremony last?

What is a typical gift for a bar mitzvah?

A typical gift for a bar mitzvah is often a religious item such as a prayer book, a tallit, or a Jewish star necklace.

How much do you give for a virtual bar mitzvah?

If you plan to give for a bar mitzvah (virtual), you can give between three to six chi which is equivalent to $54 – $108 for each adult.

However, sticking to the traditions, you should consider giving depending on how many are you in the family and how close you are to the celebrant. 

Wrapping Up 

Bar Mitzvah is an important occasion that needs to be celebrated with a gift no matter what your faith is.

Since gift-giving is a tough challenge, many people opt-in to give monetary presents, but some may wonder if there is a standard and appropriate gift for a bar mitzvah. 

In giving monetary presents at a bar mitzvah, you must first consider your closeness to the celebrant because the last thing you should be doing is going overboard.

You should also consider giving in multiples of 18 but avoid breaking the bank for just one event. Shalom! 


Kimberlee Johnson
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