Bat Mitzvah etiquette for gift giving is fairly simple. An appropriate Bat Mitzvah gift is tasteful and reflects the idea of the young lady growing up. Traditionally, money for a future college fund is an appropriate gift for a Bat Mitzvah, given in numerically symbolic amounts such as $18 or $36, which stand for the numeric value of the Hebrew word for life.
Jewish ritual objects are also traditionally appropriate, since the Bat Mitzvah ceremony signifies a young lady's taking on the responsibility of Jewish practice. Jewelry, especially Jewish-themed, is also appropriate.
If you are thinking of a monetary gift, it need not be a lot of money. Know the family and what their circumstances are, as a family that is well off may not require a large monetary gift. Traditional amounts are in multiples of $18, which is the numerical value of the word "life" in Hebrew. Some families ask for donations in lieu of gifts, to a selected cause important to them. Find out beforehand if this is the case.
Jewish Ritual Objects
Appropriate Jewish ritual objects that are good Bat Mitzvah gifts include a Havdalah set, a Chanukah menorah or a set of Shabbat candlesticks. If the girl's family is Orthodox, it may not be appropriate to get her a Yad for reading Torah or a Kiddush Cup, as Orthodox women do not read Torah or lead the Kiddush prayer. These would be appropriate if the family is Conservative or Reform, however, so get a sense of the family's affiliation before purchasing one of these gifts.
Jewish-themed jewelry is always welcomed as a Bat Mitzvah gift. Stars of David, Torahs and other Jewish symbols as necklaces or bracelets are wonderful Bat Mitzvah gifts.
Interests of the Bat Mitzvah Girl
If you know the girl well, you may choose a gift that supports her interests; for example, a nice journal and pen if she enjoys writing, or art supplies if she likes to paint would be a thoughtful gift. Avoid anything that suggests childhood, such as a toy or video game. Look for sophisticated gifts that celebrate her entry into womanhood.
Bat Mitzvah lessons help prepare a Jewish girl of age 12 or 13 to take on the responsibilities of leading a Jewish life. In most Jewish denominations, girls as well as boys celebrate this milestone in their Jewish education.
When looking for Bat Mitzvah dresses, you want something that will be versatile so your daughter can wear it to the ceremony and then modify it a bit for a less formal luncheon.