Rescheduling Your Mitzvah During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Updated: Mar 30
Months and months of planning and now what? Your child has studied, but your synagogue is closed. Your venue is shut down and your invitations have been printed or even sent. Take a deep breath. In this unprecedented situation, there are lots of options to think outside the box and turn lemons into lemonade.
Let’s get started.
The Service — Obviously this is the most important part and everyone’s religious practice is different. Remember that watching your child turn into an adult before your eyes is magical and something that you will have in your heart forever no matter how or when it happens. Call the synagogue and make a backup plan. There are lots and lots of options — Maybe the service is at home with only your immediate family, but you send a link to Facebook live so that extended family and friends can watch? Maybe it’s even at the synagogue with the Rabbi. Maybe your Rabbi will allow your child to read his/her portion from the Torah on a different date (some Rabbis are allowing children to read their past Torah portion, while others may allow for an Aliya later). Just know that it is time to pivot and there are no rules. This is yours to dream up and make into whatever works best for your family.
The Invitation — Again, it’s ok. Maybe they are printed or sent or even just in the proof stage. Currently, e-mail is the best way to correspond with your guests in real-time. When sending a note to explain the situation simply, outline your plans for an alternate date and time, and then remember to offer love and support. A great example is below:
Friends, Family, and Parents of xx’s friends,
We hope this note finds you all healthy and safe. There has been a lot of speculation that our social distancing could extend into the summer. Therefore, we have reserved [xx pm — xx pm] on [xx date] as a backup date. At this point, please hold both [month/day and month/day].
We know on whichever date we celebrate xx’s Mitzvah, you will be ready for a party! We will follow up with more information as we have it and at some point, you will get an invitation as well.
The Party — We know, after all that planning making a change is scary. But remember we are all in this unchartered territory together and most vendors are allowing clients to reschedule with no time limit or fee. As Robert Sherman at DC booking agency, Washington Talent notes, “To date, our team has handled over 300 postponed events in the last week. We are doing everything possible to assist or clients.” Here’s how we suggest going about rescheduling.Stay Home and Stay Healthy,
The Celebration – We know, after all that planning making a change is scary. But remember we are all in this uncharted territory together and most vendors are allowing clients to reschedule with no time limit or fee. As Robert Sherman at DC booking agency, Washington Talent notes, “To date, our team has handled over 300 postponed events in the last week. We are doing everything possible to assist or clients.” Here’s how we suggest going about rescheduling.
Try not to wait too long. Keep in mind that almost all spring events are being moved. That means that there is no overlap with already scheduled dates into the fall of 2020 and even the spring of 2021. The longer you wait to reschedule, the less availability there will be.
Contact Your Venue
Gather alternate dates and then rearrange your creative partners from there. A reminder that it’s time to think outside the box. Consider Friday’s, Sundays or holiday weekends. We know overlapping dates is also a consideration and many communities have put together their own list of local mitzvah dates to try to help.
Coordinate Your Vendors
Next contact your MC, caterer, photographer and décor company. Again, be flexible. You might need to use an alternate MC or photographer depending upon availability. Keep in mind that your vendors are juggling multiple event changes. After you’ve rescheduled your main team, don’t forget about the details like hotel room blocks, bus transportation, and any smaller entertainment items.
Your guests will understand if items like kippot, swag, cocktail napkins and more have your original mitzvah date. Think of it as a badge of honor. We made it through this and now we are lucky to be celebrating together. Of course, if you can update some of your details, like your logo that is also a great option.
All in all, the most important thing to remember is that guarding your health is a mitzvah to be taken very seriously. Stay home and be well.
Ali Weitzman is a luxury event planner from Washington, D.C. specializing in the Bar and Bat Mitzvah market. She also runs the startup logo design firm, MitzvahLogos.com. Click here to learn more about Ali and her past events.