Bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies are meant to be celebrated with loved ones and we are not going to let a pandemic stop us. History is replete with the Jewish people overcoming obstacles to maintain our traditions and, in the wake of COVID-19, we must find new ways to bring people together. The Drive-In Bar Mitzvah was our solution to this dilemma. I am excited to tell you about a physically distanced, drive-in movie style Bar-Mitzvah (aka Car-mitzvah) that we planned and produced. I want to scream from the rooftop about how amazing it was! It was emotional, intimate and memorable. As the mitzvah mom, Jennifer Yashari said, “Everyone experienced some desperately needed SAFE joy”. “SAFE joy”… that really speaks to me and I plan to create a lot more of it!
The car mitzvah was truly magical. We had 100 guests, 35 cars, and 21 staff. This car mitzvah took place on the top level of a two-story parking garage in El Segundo, CA. We made a cold grey parking lot feel intimate and luxurious with lighting, greenery walls, florals, balloons, and specialty linen.
We had a very large stage to allow for six feet between Asher’s immediate family, Rabbi Dara Frimmer, Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen, and four families who took turns coming up for their aliyot. Next to the stage, we had two large LED screens that featured trivia about Asher and photos from the virtual photo booth prior to the start of the ceremony. Then the screens showed a live-feed video of the ceremony and an entertaining video montage that included interviews of special people in Asher’s life.
As guests pulled into the parking lot, they were greeted with beautiful gourmet dinner boxes along with a miniature Prosecco bottle, water and a gift bag. Inside the gift bag we included: face masks, kippot, a program, sanitizing wipes and a personalized led glowing fan.
Guests were directed where to park by parking attendants and instructed to tune into a specific FM radio station. The immediate family drove around in a golf cart greeting guests from a distance while wearing their personalized masks. Guests ate meals in their cars and two roller skating dancers (wearing masks and face shields) skated around delivering beverages and candy packages to each car.
Because Los Angeles was experiencing record Covid-19 #’s, we asked all guests (with the exception of immediate family who had safely distanced individual tables in the front) to stay in their cars the entire time, unless they needed to use the restroom. To share their excitement, there were times during the ceremony that horns were honking, and flashing headlights made it look like a disco.
Our bar mitzvah boy, Asher, is a special kid. His voice was nothing short of angelic and it was kind of like attending a concert, but so much more meaningful.
Within the printed program, Asher’s parents included a welcome letter that spoke to the power of resilience and how just like our Jewish ancestors have done countless times before us, during periods of hardship and pain, we must learn to mourn the loss of how we wish things could be and adjust and adapt to how things are. Asher’s mom, Jennifer, has lots of experience with this after living with the life altering disease, HIBM for 14 years. She is a psychiatrist and writes beautifully about her experiences on her blog, www.livingwithhibm.com. She is hilarious, smart, and compassionate. I am so lucky that through the planning of Asher’s bar mitzvah, we became good friends. It felt SO good to get back to work! In addition to the wonderful benefit of getting away from my kids for the day (lock-down has been tough!), I got to enjoy the creative outlet of my job, the relationships I regularly build with my clients and vendors, and the pride I feel when guests gush over all of the details. Being told post-event that our bar mitzvah boy, Asher said that it was the best day of his life… that was priceless. 🙂
We are on a mission to create more SAFE joy, so if you or anyone you know wants to join us on this mission, contact us so that we can discuss creating a socially distant, emotionally intimate event for you. Mitzvah Sisters is an event planning company based out of Los Angeles, CA. We plan social and corporate events.
We would like to give credit to the incredible vendors who helped us make this event come to life! Check out the links below to see their incredible work.
Smoke and Mirrors