The art of Japanese cooking with
the richness and style of American cuisine.
looked at the cards and smiled:
"Finally," he said, "something in a
goody bag we can actually use."
The art project was the most costly
aspect of the event. Of course, Adina
and I went wild in buying supplies. If
you want to try it, expect to pay $80
Another bonus: the cards can be
used as thank-you notes.
We used paper plates and cups,
borrowed chairs and decorated the
house with streamers. As the girls left,
I gave them lots of bubble gum. It
was, quite honestly, a lot of fun.
,Of course, we had to clean up the
next day, vacuuming all that glitter
and scrubbing the glue (it was every-
where) from the art project I had so
brilliantly planned. It took hours.
That part was not fun.
Tansy Craft not only saved money by
making Lyla's centerpieces, she found
they helped guests get to know each
Each centerpiece had different facts
written on the back, "tidbits about
Lyla's life that nobody knew," Craft
says. Guests table-hopped to read the
fun facts, which got them talking
‘`and mingling, instead of just sitting
Craft also saved money by hiring a
one-man-band, so to speak: Noach
Klein of Quality Sound. Klein came
with his own background music
(instead of a costly band) and even
did a bit of juggling.
The Crafts also asked around about
decorations. They wanted balloons,
and a friend suggested Lighter Than
Air of Oak Park. Craft loved the bal-
loons, and the price.
Finally, the Crafts wanted to leave
their mark, literally, on bentschers (for
saying grace after the meal) and kip-
pot for the guests. Instead of having
the words "Lyla's Bat Mitzvah"
imprinted, they bought a single stam-
per with her name and the date of
Of course, everyone needs to
splurge on something. Craft says it
should be the meals. If family and
friends are coming in from out of
town and staying before and/or after
the event, whatever you do have that
food catered — don't make it yourself,
The Bottom Line ...
of Oak Park. "We did it three times.
"Who needs metallic, glittery,
amazingly awesome, die-cut invita-
tions printed?" she asks. "A nice self-
mailer or invitation is easy for your
kid to design and print at home, and
much more fun for him — or big
brother, sister, Mom, Dad, aunt, bub-
Another idea for centerpieces: bor-
row silk arrangements from a group
like P'TACH, which helps Jewish
children with learning disabilities.
"Then give them a donation.
"The bottom-line question every
parent should ask him or herself,"
Brea says: "Who needs to prepare for
congregational theatrics and a keep-
ing-up-with-the Schwartzes extrava-
ganza? If the family is on a very limit-
ed budget, they should engage a good
teacher for a few lessons to teach the
child how to make the brachot on the
Torah for an aliyah, and inspire him
or her with what being a bar or bat
mitzvah is all about."
No one needs to tell that to Ruthie
Ruthie, of West Bloomfield, is
about to become bat mitzvah. When
she does, it's going to be with a lot of
fanfare — for others.
Ruthie and her parents were certain
of one thing when they began consid-
ering what to do for her bat mitzvah
celebration: since Ruthie will be a bat
mitzvah, "we felt that it would be fit-
ting for her to do a special mitzvah,"
explains her mother, Annie.
What they did not want: "The
What they came up with is not
only a mitzvah, it's cost effective as
After Ruthie's big brother, Jonah,
suffered a skull fracture, he spent a
month in the hospital. A number of
women made small quilts for him
which, Annie says, "added a little
cheer and, more than anything, made
us feel that someone took the time
and trouble to show that they cared.
It was a small token that was greatly
appreciated." The tiny quilts were
sewn together to make one blanket
which Jonah enjoys to this day.
Inspired, Annie looked into a simi-
lar project for Riithie's bat mitzvah
party. She found easy-to-make blan-
kets which Ruthie's friends will sew
and donate to Israeli victims of terror
and children undergoing treatment at
the University of IVIichigan's Cancer
Enjoy atmosphere built in 1929
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architecture fused with early
Although the food originates from
opposite sides of the globe, Shiro
brings them together to provide a
unique, tasteful and memorable
(Available for catering & private parties)
43180 W. Nine Mile Rd.
(just East of Novi Rd.)
Novi, MI 48375
248.348.1212 fax 248.348.3003
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up to 225
*Book your banquet before March 30, 2004
"Major cost-cutting is very possible
for b'nai mitzvah," says Yehudis Brea