The milestone of becoming a bar/bat mitzvah can be even more meaningful when Tikkun olam (repair of the world) is part of the planning! Here are six eco-friendly approaches to consider for a green bar mitzvah:
1. Recycled Invitations. Recycled papers can be used most ways traditional papers can and have less impact on the environment. You can even go one step beyond protecting trees to planting some! Seeded papers grow wildflowers when planted and watered. Check with Paper Matters for their recycled invite offerings.
2. Paperless RSVPs. Online RSVPs is one way to avoid response cards. Set up a web site for capturing responses, or create an email address to receive the word from guests. Toll-free phone response services can also track your guest counts and send you updates.
3. Green Favors. Giving guests gifts? Package trinkets and treats in fabric bags that can be reused. Consider giving items that can be used, worn or repurposed instead of here today, gone tomorrow.
4. Earth-Friendly Food. Ask your caterer about using in-season, local and/or organic ingredients in your menu, and find out if leftovers can be donated to a charity that feeds the hungry, or composted to help grow more green!
5. Green Mitzvah Project. If your bar or bat mitzvah child wants to make Tikkun Olam part of his or her life, investigate organizations that support a cleaner environment. Volunteering to tend a community garden or holding a recycling drive are both great green mitzvah projects.
6. No-Waste Decor. Decorators often have elements for centerpieces and room décor that they reuse and repurpose for different themes, avoiding unnecessary waste and using of additional resources. Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) offers bimah arrangements for rent that support charitable causes. Win-win!
Event planner Marci Miller of The Perfect Day! recently produced two simchas in one day, making use of indoor/outdoor space and party tents, creating wholly unique experiences for each.