Yippee, you got your first choice of Mitzvah date! But you’re going to be sharing with another family?! We’ve got this.
Here are 7 ways to make the bimah buddy experience go smoothly.
1. Meet with the other family. Maybe you know the other family already, and maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s a good idea to establish friendly. Get to know a little about the parents and ALL their kids. You don’t want to be strangers on the big day. TIP: Like a first date, meet for a quick bite (frozen yogurt or bagels) rather than committing to a long meal.
2. Share plans. Are you each planning evening functions? Who wants the temple for Shabbat dinner? Talk about your proposed schedules to eliminate confusion when you start making venue arrangements and juggling temple fees. Also, talk about the number of guests you’re each expecting so that you can make fair arrangements for Oneg or ensure there’ll be enough kippot and worship supplements.
3. Talk Hebrew. Your kids may be at different levels of Hebrew proficiency. Do they each hope to do extra prayers? Does one want to do more and the other doesn’t? Talk about how you’ll handle this and know that it isn’t a competition. Your family and friends are there to support your Mitzvah kid; this isn’t a performance and no one’s comparing them.
4. Create Camaraderie. Encourage your teens to at least become friendly acquaintances. It’ll make the big day less nerve-wracking to know they’ve got each other’s backs. Perhaps they can support each other’s Mitzvah projects, or better yet, complete one together. Remind them to acknowledge each other (if appropriate at your synagogue) when they speak from the pulpit. (ex: Jamie, it was an honor to share this day with you.)
5. Cash in on Collaboration. There is strength in numbers! Use the pairing to your benefit. Can you save on shipping by ordering kippot or party favors together? Can you negotiate a better rate by choosing the same hotel for your out-of-town guests, increasing the room block x2?
6. Meet in the Middle. Compromises will likely need to be made, so go in to this venture with flexibility. Make sure you’re prepared to make the case for things most important for your family, but be willing to bend on elements that are more important to the others.
7. Make time for Mazel Tov! Remember that you’re part of the same community and kvell with your bimah buddies for a moment post-service. Appreciate that you’ve just fulfilled a Mitzvah by witnessing another young boy or girl accept the responsibility of keeping the faith. Mazel Tov all around!