Bar Mitzvah Centerpieces that are a Mitzvah

The theme for the upcoming bar mitzvah is "Keep it Simple, Sort Of" which is a unique spin on our typical celebration theme, "What's on Sale in the Party Aisle at Target."

A friend had tipped me off on some simple, and tasteful centerpieces that can be rented from The Ark, a Jewish organization and Kosher food pantry that helps families in need. For about $35 per table, The Ark provides a gift basket full of the kinds of foods they might provide for a family- rice, beans, Kosher mac and cheese. For a small fee, they will even drop off and pick up these baskets. And the cost of the centerpieces becomes a tax-deductible donation.

Simple, right?

But I went the Sort Of route, in part because it seemed more in line with something my son has loved all of his life-books.

Based on a creative friend's input at the school book sale, I purchased about $250 worth of books (win: good for the school), that she convinced me would look good placed in simple baskets filled with shredded paper (win: good for the environment).

I mostly raided my mom's supply of baskets, but wound up picking up a couple more on the cheap at the Hadassah resale shop and a couple more at the Salvation Army Store (where I also scored an awesome Italian-made vintage fedora for $4. #winning).

The books will be donated to Bookworm Angels, a Chicago-based organization that provides books to help teachers at low-performing schools create classroom lending libraries. They will get dozens high-quality, brand new books and we'll get our tax deduction for the cost of the books.

Which makes me happy because the baskets themselves? Meh.

Though perhaps the variety of different baskets placed on fine tablecloths around the room accented by some candy (on sale at Target, true to form) will look a little better?

A girl can dream....

Or have nightmares.

And, by the way, thanks to everyone who supported, or even expressed interest in supporting, my son's mitzvah project. A few weeks ago, he surpassed his $500 fundraising goal. So far, he's earned enough to purchase close to 30 solar cookers through his global giving project.
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