And the boy grew up and the Lord blessed him.
March 25, 2010 9:16 AM   Subscribe

What do I get my cousin for his bar mitzvah?

I suppose the default answer is $108 (18 = chai, 18 * 6 = 108), but I welcome more interesting answers.

I'd prefer to give him something he'll enjoy, rather than the kind of gift that's merely "instructive" or "good for him" (but not fun).

In addition, for another relative who doesn't like to give "materialistic" gifts, any suggestions for "non-materialistic" gifts, preferably of the kind that don't suck to be given, and are less expensive. ("We planted a tree for you in Israel." "Oh, gee, thanks, a whole tree I'll never see.")

To the extent it helps suggest gifts, the recipient (obviously) is a boy will be a young man, from a well off Reform family, living in the East Coast US.
posted by orthogonality to Religion & Philosophy (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What if you pilfered from this AskMe and got him $108 worth of books involving inspiring male role models?

If he doesn't like to read, maybe it's too "instructive," but when I was that age I would have loved getting a thick stack of great books featuring awesome women.
posted by sallybrown at 9:25 AM on March 25, 2010

If he's a baseball fan, as many young men on the east coast are, you might consider pairing cash with a copy of The Golem's Mighty Swing.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:28 AM on March 25, 2010

We got a close friend's child a necklace with her name in Hebrew letters. Might be a nice idea for a boy, as well.

$108 is more interesting if you present it in the form of golden dollars. Free shipping, but you have to buy $250 at a time.
posted by Ery at 9:32 AM on March 25, 2010

13 year old boy?

posted by BobbyDigital at 9:42 AM on March 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

Riffing on Ery's suggestion, I think you can get golden dollars at a regular bank. One of my favorite wedding presents was a pirate chest about 10x6x6" wooden hinged-lid box (from Pier1, I think), containing shells, sea-glass, sparkly marbles, gold-wrapped chocolates and gem-shaped hard candies, and about $90 in shiny Sacagawea dollars (which my friend said he got by going to the bank and sticking out two cupped hands and saying "I need about this many dollar coins").
posted by aimedwander at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

My cousin was Bar Mitzvahed last year, and we got him a nice wallet that he had asked for.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:47 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

For the non-materialistic gift: How about a tzedakah box? Here are some interesting ones. They are both about $30.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 9:49 AM on March 25, 2010

Well, without knowing his interests, would the non-materialistic gift giver [or you] consider giving an experience rather than cold hard cash? Whereas the tree thing is very nice, it's not a very exciting present to get. Maybe tickets to a baseball game? White water rafting? A local climbing wall? Day pass to a nerdy convention? I would do my best to go with him to whatever it was, and have some quality time to hang out one on one with the cool relative that didn't give him the Israel Tree.

At that age, I would try to make the event more fun than serious. But I'm not Jewish and am not sure if all gifts should be of the thoughtful, mature variety.

On preview: treasure chest! That's awesome!
posted by amicamentis at 9:52 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I recently got my cousin a golf gift certificate for becoming bar mitzvah since he is an avid golfer. I'm in agreement with the amicamentis. An experience is so thoughtful.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:55 AM on March 25, 2010

The most memorable gift I got for my Bar Mitzvah 25 years ago was a stack of 100 $1 bills. Go with the coins.
posted by mkultra at 9:58 AM on March 25, 2010

When I was 13, I would have loved an introductory flying lesson.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:28 AM on March 25, 2010

My brother -- who is a rabbi, and therefore works with many b'nai mitzvah students -- recently gave our nephew a Flip video recorder for his bar mitzvah, and the nephew was very, very psyched about it. Meanwhile, we were the boring relatives and gave him a bond...which he apparently never plays with...
posted by mosk at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2010

A fountain pen used to be a traditional bar mitzvah present - but I don't suppose that's his bag.

If the only criterion is "something he'll enjoy", you're asking the wrong people. Ask him.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:17 AM on March 25, 2010

I got some shares in a stock and the stock certificate. It created a lifelong interest in the markets. I have been a professional trader or ran a trading desk/firm for too many years.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:02 PM on March 25, 2010

iTunes gift card in a multiple of $18.
posted by charlesv at 12:05 PM on March 25, 2010

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