UnBooks:Sally Stein's Guide to Bar Mitzvah Planning

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The cover of the book, as evidenced by the presence of the title.

Sally Stein's Guide to Bar Mitzvah Planning: How to Create the Most Resource-Wasting, Over-the-Top, Jealousy and Pity Inducing Party to Make Your Child Love You was a book commissioned by various suburban DJs and party planners of suburbia to increase their revenue. Secretly contracted to a ghostwriter named George Steinholtzcohkatzen (of 100% Irish descent), the book was released under the pseudonym Sally Stein ("to sound more Jewish," an exile of the original commissioners is quoted as saying) in 1999. It employed pseudo-anti-Semitic humor and interspersed Yiddish words into the text (removed herein for the reader's sake), also in an attempt to "Jew it up." This technique, though not accepted wholeheartedly by critics, made it an an instant success, with its fifteenth edition still available today.


Hi, I'm Sally Stein. If you're like me, you're Jewish, you're a suburban mother, and you have far too much time on your hands. Also much like me, you probably have an aging son or daughter that's about to make the big step to become a bar or bat mitzvah! Now, again like me, you surely live in a suburban area where you don't really like your friends and secretly want to rub your questionable wealth into their faces. This means that you will have to plan a great Bar Mitzvah party for your little boy and/or girl and knock their prissy little socks off!

This is no easy task, far from it! It can drive even the most sane of Jewish women crazy, and let's face it, these are few and far between! So I'll break it down for you in simple, easy-to-follow steps that will make even the worst of us loved by our sons and daughters. And with this, we begin!

Chapter 1: Pre-Planning[edit]

Obviously, a bar mitzvah requires intense training in the way of being a Jewish young man or woman. Your child will have to learn to memorize various foreign sounding syllables in Hebrew words they're supposed to know, get over the fact that dozens of their friends will watch as they unfailingly screw it up, and do other stuff related to the religious aspect of the mitzvah. They will look to you for guidance in this trying time, as you looked to your parents for theirs.

Put it out of your mind, and let them handle it themselves. After all, they are supposed to be blossoming into a young man or woman, and your assistance won't help that! No, let's stick to the shindig, shall we? Yes, now, to properly pre-plan the party, you must first immerse yourself in the world of Bar Mitzvah parties. Go to a couple of the most extravagant gatherings of Jew and friends, and see what they do. Ponder this seemingly pointless waste of resources, and laugh it off.

You'll be doing this yourself very soon, and thinking it through will surely make your party dull and boring. This boringness will lead your child to hate you for the rest of your coherent life....and with good reason! But worse than the eternal adversity between you and your progeny, you'll be considered "financially stable" or worse, poor! This is simply unacceptable, so instead of worrying about petty things like "financial security" and "foreclosure," worry about making a good impression!

Chapter 2: Booking the Place[edit]

Now that you're in the proper mindset to plan your big day, let's get into the specifics, shall we? The first thing you're going to have to do is book a location. Generally, a good rule of thumb is "If it seems too big, it's too small." Also, the old adage "You'll know it when you see it" is applicable in this situation. Follow these two rules and you cannot fail. However, if you find yourself unable to decide, as a last resort, bring in your child and have them pick. Then choose the place they didn't pick.

Now, actually making the reservation isn't as easy as you might believe. If you expect to just walk into "the place" and immediately get the reservation without performing acts unspeakable, you are grossly misinformed. However, if you don't want to resort to bribery by way of fellatio and/or coitus (unlike that slut down the street), then you'll have to resort to more traditional and long-winded methods. They are terribly inconvenient and incredibly tedious to execute, but here they are.

One might, for example, offer a substantial monetary bribe. This should be between only you and the proprietor of the establishment you choose. Alternatively, you can use your child as a medium with which to bribe them. Pawning them off for sexual acts is reprehensible, and should therefore only be employed if the situation so requires. Finally, you can just stage a nervous breakdown that will cause them to call the hospital. While they are outside of the room, add your name into the book at the appropriate timeslot.

Whatever method you choose, don't be satisfied with mediocrity! Be obsessed only with the best! If you let it consume your life, it'll come out that much better!

Chapter 3: Choosing the Theme[edit]

If you did your homework as Chapter 1 dictated, then you'd know that all bar mitzvahs have a cheesy theme to them. You must choose a theme that you find to be satisfactory to your party being a success. Don't worry if it seems hokey; there is nary an idea that you will come up with that won't be. So instead, embrace these ideas and choose the one that suits you the best. It is perhaps a good idea to defer to your child on the final decision. The best way to do this is to present one desirable option among two undesirables and achieve the ideal end. For example, if you wish to choose a "Slutfest" theme (a very popular choice in these times), present the following three options.

  1. Hydrothermal Vent Creature Fright!
  2. Slutfest!
  3. Hiroshima 1945!

Once you have both agreed on your theme, pick out the invitations that go with that theme. Pick them yourself, and remember that the same rules that apply to picking the location apply here. If it's extravagant, it's too modest. Remember, people get their first impression of you from the invitation you send, so don't skimp! Look at it as if you had just received it; if your immediate reaction is "quaint" or "cute," go bigger. Wait until you find a "wow!" invitation, then you're golden. Think of all the jealousy you'll have created!

These invitations may seem charming, but they're not good enough. Go bigger.

Chapter 4: Sending out The Invites[edit]

It's here that you might have to really enlist the help of your child. The primary reason for this is that you want to strategically invite only people whose parents you will come in contact with the maximum possible amount of times in the days following the bar mitzvah. Therefore, you'll want to invite only their closest friends plus about one hundred or so acquaintances. However, in this situation, it's best to give the children the illusion of control. Remember this as you proceed.

Sit down with your child. Tell them you're looking forward to planning their bar mitzvah completely in tandem. Ask him/her to make a list of the people that they most want to be at the party. Even if your child is a little attention whore, like most are, the maximum number they will choose is about 75. It is then that you should introduce the invitations you've already procured (preferably about 150 to 200) and explain that you have to send every single one of them or she won't get her deposit back. Explain that this means he/she will be condemned to eternal loserhood for the rest of their natural and/or drug-extended life.

After the child has wracked their brain for several hours as to who else they can invite, you will have your list. Send the invitations to the printer and have them engraved to your liking. There is no set standard for this engraving process, as a flashy invitation will incite the desired response in those bitches you're sending it to regardless of the typeface. Remember, nothing is stopping you now! You're almost there!

Chapter 5: Organizing the Party[edit]

Alright, this is your time to shine! Before this time, you'll have felt under-appreciated for all your hard work on making this party a resounding success. When you're organizing the gathering, however, you're the primary contact! So go ahead, Supermom, be a pompous bitch! It's expected of you, and will only make the jealousy stronger. In this chapter are some tips for helping to organize the best party possible.

First, hire someone to organize your party. You don't want to have to do all that work! Get a top-of-the-line organizer, and command him/her to defer to you on many of the finer points regarding the day. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. The number of centerpieces that are to go on each table (the more unreasonable you are, the more personal the party will feel).
  2. The size of the cake (see Chapter 2 for guidelines on this)
  3. The extremely corny fashion in which your son/daughter makes their entrance (make it an entrance fit for royalty!)
  4. The cost of the party

If the planner fails to yield to you on any or all of these finer points, yell at them until they understand that you're fucking serious.

After you have trained your organizer (who should be rather well versed in the internal mind games often played by mothers such as yourself), wait. Walk around wherever you go with a Bluetooth headset and await the inevitable call. When it comes, do your best to interrupt any conversation anyone in your vicinity might be having to announce that you're accepting a call "from your friggin' planner."

Proceed to have a long, drawn out conversation with the organizer, being sure to mention the date of the party at least three times, either directly or indirectly. For example, to discreetly slip in a reference, say "The party is five weeks from today!" which indicates a date with more discretion than "The party is on April 30th, 2007!" Discuss your lavish proceedings in unnecessary detail.

If you feel you're being insufficiently bitchy to accomplish your goals, observe the television program "My Super Sweet 16." Note the unreasonable demands the girls put on their mothers. Imagine you as the girl, and the planner as the mother. Alternatively, study your behavior while under the influence of PMS. This should give an ample idea base for how you can act your absolute worst to your savior, and that is exactly what you want.


The cheap kind of Mexicans are usually illegal immigrants. Therefore, your dealings with them should be off-the-books. Don't pay with credit or check, and then, when the INS is sending them back, you can simply pick up your phone and yell at your planner.

Chapter 6: Setting up the Party[edit]

Now, we get to the physical labor required for setting up the now-planned party. Hire Mexicans. They're quick, they're cheap, and they're incognito. Nobody else will even know. You can take the credit, and nobody will be the wiser.

Chapter 7: The Big Night[edit]

The countdown is over, and the fruits of your labor are finally bountiful and on display for everyone to see! And what a magnificent harvest you've created! It shall truly be an incredible night to showcase your immense talent. Take pride in your work, now, don't be bashful! Some parents have doubtless made their appearance; don't hesitate to brag a bit! Point out the poster that you designed over there, draw their attention to the lavish entrance of your child that you orchestrated.

Now, some here would say "you are not giving the child due credit for their work in this thing," but they obviously haven't gone through the painstaking work you have to prepare the party. Have they hired Mexicans to do their dirty work, taken the time to hire someone to organize their proceedings, made an incredibly conscious effort to bring the party to the attentions of people who otherwise wouldn't care, or garnered the eternal love of their child?


No they haven't, so they can bugger off! Shine on, missus, shine on, because you've created something countless other mothers have created to similar effect, but different, better! Yes, just as that last sentence was a run-on, your party won't stop going. There's no way to slow down the awe inspired by your supremacy. Just take it all in. This is your night.


You should really start keeping an open mind. It's good for your karma.

So, just as you expected, your friends have complimented you, your child is mildly aware of your existence, and you've taken out a fourth mortgage on your home. As you bask in the glory of your friends' admiration (yeah, even that whore from next door noticed) and the half-hearted affections of your son/daughter, your credit card bill will come. Ignore it, your husband will deal with it.

And then it'll be later on. Perhaps your friends won't mention it quite as much. Soon they may not even mention it at all (there was a reason you didn't like your bitch neighbor), and your child will return to their former apathy toward you. Perhaps you'll begin to wonder if there was actually a reason for all of this hoopla.

Yes, God damn it, yes! IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! Forever you will have those glory days of "the two days after the bar/bat mitzvah party of my child" where you were queen of the world! Just don't open any mail from any other Jewish mothers. They'll try to take that away from you. In fact, stay away from mail altogether. Your house will be fine.

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