18 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Set your Bat Mitzvah date with a Synagogue
  • Discuss the type of celebration the Bat Mitzvah girl would like to have
  • Determine a budget by identifying, as a family, the top 3 priorities (Venue, Food, Music, Entertainment, Décor, Mitzvah Project, etc.)
  • Estimate the number of Bat Mitzvah guests you expect and book your reception hall and caterer
  • Book your photographer and videographer
12 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Determine your Bat Mitzvah Torah and Haftarah portion
Alternatively, if your Bat Mitzvah falls around a Jewish Holiday you may want to learn about the special customs  and readings of that Holiday, ex: Megillat Esther on Purim
  • Start Bat Mitzvah lessons
If necessary, find a tutor
  • Begin thinking about potential Mitzvah Projects
If you need help brainstorming ideas contact Lev LaLev’s Sheena Levi at sheena@levlalev.com
  • Meet with your Rabbi, Rebbitzin or Cantor to understand the Bat Mitzvah process at your synagogue and answer any questions you may have
  • Begin to work on your guest list
It may be helpful to separate the list into “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves”
  • Check for Event Planners, if you are using one
  • Pick your Bat Mitzvah theme and color scheme
  • Book the band or DJ
Consider booking alternate entertainment such as magicians, caricaturists, virtual reality games, photo favors, etc. 

8 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Start learning your Torah portion, Holiday customs and/or what it means to be, and what your responsibilities will be as, a Jewish woman
  • Start coordinating your Mitzvah Project event, fundraiser, craft project, etc.
If you need help contact Lev LaLev’s Sheena Levi at sheena@levlalev.com
  • Decide on Bat Mitzvah table centerpieces
Talk to florists or balloon artists about prices and designs for the synagogue service, the Kiddush table, and for table centerpieces
Consider Lev LaLev’s table cards to showcase your meaningful mitzvah project to your guests: http://www.levlalev.com/TableCardCenterPiece
  • Start looking at Bat Mitzvah invitation designs and prices
6 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • If necessary, book hotel block for out-of-town guests
  • Start shopping for any special Bat mitzvah clothing
    • Consider a Bat Mitzvah synagogue dress and possibly an evening outfit for a formal Bat Mitzvah celebration
    • Mom and dad, brothers and sisters may want new Bat Mitzvah clothing as well
    • Consider sponsoring a new outfit for an Israeli orphan girl’s Bat Mitzvah day too: www.levlalev.com/sponsorbatmitzvah
5 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Order your Bat Mitzvah invitations
  • Order any special imprinted yarmulkes, benchers, etc.
  • Order Bat Mitzvah favors
  • Order or design your Bat Mitzvah sign-in board and guest book
  • Consider integrating your mitzvah project into your décor or asking the organization you chose to send some of their materials to showcase at your Bat Mitzvah
    • You may even wish to request that someone from the organization come and speak at your event
  • Select pictures and music to use in your Bat Mitzvah video

3 Months before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Finalize your Bat Mitzvah guest list
  • Make a hotel packet for out-of-town guests
  • Make the final selections on Bat Mitzvah clothing and accessories
  • Have a completely assembled invitation weighed to ensure correct postage
    • Buy stamps for mailing Bar mitzvah invitations and for RSVP cards
  • Host your Mitzvah Project fundraiser, event or perform the Tikun Olam volunteer work of your choice
6-8 Weeks before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Mail your invitations
  • Send your Bat Mitzvah song list to the DJ/band
  • Develop and edit, or order, your special Bat Mitzvah video
  • Make appointments with florist/balloonist and place order  
  • Start developing your Bat Mitzvah speech  
1 Month before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Have final fittings done for Bat Mitzvah clothing 
  • Make hair stylist and manicure appointments 
  • Finalize your speeches and thank you’s and keep practicing them and your portion!  

2-3 Weeks before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Choose people for aliyot and honors during the service 
  • Do Bat Mitzvah guest seating arrangements and send them to the reception hall 
  • Make sure arrangements are complete with venue, caterer, music, entertainment, décor etc. 
  • Send final instructions to Bat Mitzvah photographer and videographer 
  • Go over the event schedule with your synagogue and/or venue  
  • Order food for the Kiddush  
  • Pay all synagogue fees 
1 Week before the Bat Mitzvah
  • Take formal Bat Mitzvah family pictures
  • Meet with Bat Mitzvah caterer for final guest count
  • Make arrangements to get your guests from the airport to the hotel
The Bat Mitzvah Day
  • Relax, have fun and enjoy your accomplishments!
1 Month after the Bat Mitzvah
  • Complete your thank you cards 
  • Join Lev LaLev’s Beyond Bat Mitzvah club and learn how to continue the inspiration from your Bat Mitzvah into your new life as a Jewish Woman! http://www.levlalev.com/BeyondBatMitzvah

originally posted on 08/02/2012 by Leah Caras on yaldah.com
Tell us what becoming a Bat Mitzvah means to you, and  you could win a beautiful sterling silver key necklace!

We’re looking for an essay 400-700 words from a girl who has either already celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, or is looking forward to celebrating it in the future. The essay should be either a reflection of the importance of becoming a Bat Mitzvah and how it has affected your life, or what you are looking forward to about becoming a Bat Mitzvah and what you expect to learn and gain from the experience.

Eligibility: Author must be a Jewish girl age 8-15
Essay Guidelines: 

1. Essay should be written in the first person.

2. It should be between 400-700 words.

3. It should focus on the significance of becoming a Jewish woman, not the celebration of a Bat Mitzvah party.

To Enter: Submit your essay using the form below or email to submit@yaldah.com. When you email a submission, make sure to include the entrant’s full name, date of birth, state, and  e-mail address. Entries must be received by August 31, 2012.

Judging: Essays will be judged as follows: 40% content, 30% relevance to topic, 20% creativity, 10% spelling & grammar.

Prize: The grand prize winner will win a sterling silver “key” necklace (pictured above) from The Sterling Society.  The pendant is 1.45 inches and comes with a choice of a 16” or 18” Italian chain. The winning essay will also be published in YALDAH magazine. A number of “runner-up” essays will be published in the Bat Mitzvah section of www.yaldah.com.

Prize is sponsored by The Sterling Society. To receive 10% off your purchase at TheSterlingSociety.com use the promo code YALDAH10.
Exclusive Interview from Lev LaLev “Inside Our Home” editor, Chava Yelloz

No matter how neat and organized a household is and regardless of a child’s perfect parental model, let’s face it, kids do mess up. Sheina Goldman, a 10 ½ year old bubbly young lady, who just completed 5th grade admits, with a healthy chuckle, that her room was messy, well, cluttered, for sure - but would not confess that it was chaotic.

It’s not that Sheina did not straighten up her room once in a while, she says, in all honesty, “I tried to do my best.” What was her best method of cleanup, Lev LaLev inquired? “Well I sort of threw everything in the closet, but then eventually, I had to take everything out and organize it.” Sheina adds that she was able to locate her things when it was a mess – since it was her personal mess. But, then her day of reckoning finally came. Her parents made her do a bit of research online to find out the value of all the articles she had strewn about on her room’s floor and desk.

Sheina’s room – after photo
Sheina, who’s going on 11, just completed the fifth grade at the Bay Laurel School in Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles. This fall she will begin 6th grade at the A.C. Stelle Middle School. She is the younger sister of 14-year-old Mara, who’s room can also get messy – but who’s comparing?

So, what was in such disarray on Sheina’s floor, desk, chair and any other available surface in her bedroom?

Sheina was given an assignment by her parents ~ make a list, and research the value of all the stuff scattered about.

Sheina explained that she collected items from her floor like 2 pairs of designer brand jeans, one of which was a pair of 7 For All Mankind – costing about $160 on sale. Her floor also decorated with pajamas, shoes and more items that she does not wish to elaborate on. And then there was the disorder all over her desk – pens, erasers, papers, clips – “anything you can think of…” Sheina sighs.

The next step of Sheina’s homework was to calculate the full worth of everything she had sprinkled around her room. Please see the letter she wrote to Lev LaLev displayed here.

Read Sheina’s e-mail to Lev LaLev- Click HERE  

Sheina’s three-pronged assignment was now coming full circle. All she needed to do was find a worthy charity and to donate a percentage of her allowance. This was not a punishment at all, it was just a lesson in awareness. Giving tzedakah was a show of gratitude, Sheina tells us, for all that she has. She continued by saying, “I wanted to donate money to Jewish girls who would really appreciate having things like I do.”

Matthew Rosenbluth, a member of the board of the Rosenbluth Family Foundation, who married Sheina’s mother, Dr. Sophie Shirin just two weeks ago, is already a proud Lev LaLev supporter, who recommended the Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home as a good candidate for Sheina’s charitable endeavor.

Our featured young philanthropist will spend 3 weeks in day camp this summer where she will enjoy summer activities, especially socializing.  Sheina says, “I have fun spending time just talking with my friends.”

More About Sheina:

She takes weekly piano and guitar lessons from the same teacher. She tells LLL that she receives instruction on each instrument for 20 minutes and that she practices daily. She loves to play popular music. She has been playing the piano for the past 5 years and is studying guitar for 2 years.

She favors language arts and likes composition writing on assigned topics.

Her favorite color: “sort of a bright green.”

Lev La Lev applauds Sheina Goldman and her extended family for directing Sheina to help the precious girls at the Rubin-Zeffren Home.

To learn how YOU can help girls at the Home, click here

Your best friend is hosting a big shindig. You want to attend so you can show your support, meet new people and have some fun. However, you're apprehensive about going because your face is full of zits and you're worried about what others might think. Will the people at the party think you have bad hygiene? Will they think you're hideous? Will they be grossed out by the sight of your skin?

It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, having acne sucks. Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts on your skin can pummel your self-esteem and make you shy away from social situations. You don't have to let acne keep you from being the life of the party for much longer. There are several products and medical treatments available to remedy this condition.

Over the Counter Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid Products

Over the counter medications that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are commonly used to treat acne breakouts. These two ingredients work in unison to rid your face of unsightly pimples. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne causing bacteria and salicylic acid helps slough away dead skin cells. Side effects of over the counter acne treatments include redness, dryness, irritation and peeling of the skin.

Prescription Medications

If over the counter acne products do not work, medical intervention may be necessary. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that contain stronger concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Prescription strength meds that contain these two ingredients can cause irritation, redness and sensitivity to the sun.

If acne breakouts are severe, topical medications may not be enough. A medical professional may also prescribe oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics may be used alone, or, if the dermatologist feels it is necessary, in conjunction with topical treatments.

If you suffer with cystic acne, topical treatments and oral medications may not work. If this is the case, a medical professional may inject intralesional corticosteroid into the affected areas of the skin to reduce inflammation and lessen the appearance of acne cysts.

Hormone fluctuation that occur during menstrual changes can contribute to zits. Taking birth control pills can help regulate these hormonal changes and curb acne breakouts. Your primary care physician can work with your dermatologist to determine if birth control pills are appropriate for you.

Dermatological Cosmetic Procedures

If your doctor feels that your acne is best treated with a cosmetic procedure, he may choose either cold laser therapy or clear light acne treatments. During cold laser treatments, a laser wand applies waves of light to your skin. This process helps stimulate the cells, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and heal acne.

With the exception of a mild stinging sensation, cold laser treatments are painless. Side effects may include dry skin, redness, irritation and inflammation of the treated area.

During clear light treatments, a medical professional will apply a concentrated blue light to the affected areas of the skin. The blue light penetrates the skin and kills bacteria below the surface. Most people don’t experience any adverse side effects from this procedure.

Cold laser and clear light treatments are noninvasive, so there is no down time required. Both of these procedures may require multiple treatments before you get the kind of results you want.

With the variety of over the counter products, prescription medications and dermatological treatments available, you don’t have to let acne keep you from being the person you were born to be.

This is a guest article from Mountain View Dermatology. Located in Boulder, CO Mountain View specializes in acne facials.

Hey BBM girls! Don't let acne get you down; confidence is key; everyone is usually more focused on their own faces than to worry about yours, especially if you're not worrying about it!

Granted, there will always be the token person who will come up to you and say you should do something about your beautiful face, (as if you hadn't noticed-thanks lady!) but don't let it get in the way of enjoying your life, hanging out with friends or even celebrating your bat mitzvah (that's what acne friendly cover-up is for after all!) and of course, changing the world!

It’s Labor Day weekend and for many that signals the end of a summer of sleeping in and doing things on your time. On Tuesday, the alarm bell announces the return of the school year. Back to school is a time of transition: new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and a new social scene.

So here are the Beyond Bat Mitzvah, tried and true, Teen Survival tips to ease the transition:

Take a Tour - If you're headed to a new school, try to arrange a visit before classes begin. If you have your class schedule already, even better! Visit each of the classrooms and your locker location and plot out your daily commute, i.e how often you’ll need to visit your locker if it’s far from your classroom locations, quickest route, any shortcuts through the gym, etc. That way, when the halls flood with your classmates, and lost underclassmen, you can know exactly where to go if there is a traffic jam. Knowing where the nice, clean bathrooms are is helpful too. 

Pick out your first day outfit – and try the whole ensemble on first (hairstyle to shoes) to make sure it matches, is comfortable to walk around and sit in for long periods of time, and most importantly makes you feel pretty and confident. If you wear a uniform, you might wear a favorite watch, a new hair band, or a piece of jewelry to show your personal style. Then lay it out, accessories and all, the night before the big day, it will shave off a lot of time to avoid the last minute stress of rushing to school, because inevitably your hair will be obnoxious the day of. 

Pack your bag - Some schools distribute supply lists before the year begins, so you can come stocked up on pencils, notepads, change of clothes for P.E. and whatever else you need. Just remember how teachers love to change things up on the first day so don’t overpack; but make sure you did any summer assignments so you’re not shocked at a first day pop quiz! Also pack copies of any paperwork the school office may need, now’s the time to take on the responsibility of being your own best advocate with authority figures (especially when you need to ask them about getting off school for Jewish holidays.) 

Pack healthy snacks (and don’t forget breakfast) - You can't absorb new knowledge without a well-fed mind and body. So take along healthy snacks, like carrot sticks or trail mix, to stave off hunger between classes. The old saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is never more true than when you're going to school. You will be more alert and perform better in class if you eat a good breakfast. With these healthy options starting and fueling your day, you can feel confident in enjoying lunch with your friends wherever they decide to go.

SLEEP! - Studies show that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to feel rested. Sleep deprivation can make it hard to concentrate in class thereby leading to poor performance and just plain feeling exhausted. I know your summer let you enjoy your natural body clock of sleeping from 2am-12noon but until they change the school hours (trust me, teens have complained about this in every generation) try to get on a healthy sleep schedule for the week. Remember, sleep is the time when your body does its most growing so if you want to see if you can grow a few inches taller, get your shut-eye! Sleep also helps you look better with clearer, less stressed skin, bouncy healthy hair, nice strong fingernails…need  I go on?  

Bring your Smile - School is a time to make friends and try new things, but it's also a place to learn skills like responsibility for self, organization and decision making that will impact and come in handy for the rest of your life. But seriously, try to enjoy and have fun too, make the most of the opportunities you have to learn who you are today and make changes for the future. It’s never too early to start being the person you want to be!

What’s your favorite first day memory? Embarrassing memories work too ;)

About the Author 
Sheena Levi
My family moved a lot so I like to think of myself as an expert on first days at new schools, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or email: sheena@levlalev.com, maybe if you ask I'll post of picture of me from my first days of middle or high school; talk about embarrassing!