We break down some frequently asked questions so non-Jewish guests can relax and concentrate on more important things, like brushing up on their Yiddish (just kidding):

Answer: They may. But if not, a general congratulations card is just fine.

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Question: What kind of card do I buy for a bar or bat mitzvah? Do they sell bar mitzvah cards at the drugstore?

Arielle Sperling is an editorial intern at MyJewishLearning and Kveller. She is a rising junior at Colgate University where she is double majoring in English with a creative writing concentration and environmental studies. Her work has appeared in The Jewish Week newspaper and The Colgate Portfolio.

A: If you don’t know the child well, writing a check for a lower amount, if preferable over a gift. But if you insist on giving a gift, a gift card is a good idea. Here are some popular choices:

Finally, becoming bar or bat mitzvah is a process involving months of Jewish learning, and a Jewish book captures the spirit of study. This reproduction of the famous Szyk Haggadah is a perfect gift to give around Passover.

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Q: Do I give a different kind of gift if I’m invited to a bat mitzvah rather than a bar mitzvah? And what’s the difference?

A: If you don’t know the child well, a gift certificate to a local book store (keeping with the education theme). If not, here are some other popular choices:

You want to give something thoughtful and that the recipient will enjoy. Gifts that match the recipient’s interests are always appreciated, such as a book of sheet music for the musical theater lover or a nice baseball mitt for the sports enthusiast. Asking the parents about what their son or daughter would appreciate is also a great tactic. Many guests prefer to give a gift with symbolism or meaning. After all, you only become bar/bat mitzvah once!

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A: Girls have a bat mitzvah while boys have a bar mitzvah, if you are talking about both genders in general, it would be referred to as a b’nai mitzvah. Traditional gifts for both are checks and academic-related items. If you are not Jewish, it may be wise to stay away from religious-themed items — those are more appropriate for giving by other Jews who are more familiar with their symbolism.

“Congratulations on becoming a Bar Mitzvah! May your special day be filled with joy. Mazel Tov! Your friend,

A: It depends. If the service and reception is held somewhere fancy, or if you’re very close with the family, consider giving $100 (or $108). But a standard amount is in the $50 range.

A shofar is a ram’s horn that is blown during the Jewish High Holiday services. Blowing a shofar is a difficult skill to perfect, so having one to practice upon is very helpful. This shofar is a nice size with which to start learning. Lit during Hanukkah, a hanukkiah (also known as a menorah) is a special type of candelabra that reminds us about the miracle of Hanukkah. This menorah is a beautiful representation of the tree of life.

You’ve received a beautiful invitation in the mail and sent back your RSVP card. Now it’s time to figure out the perfect gift for the young man or woman who has invited you to this bar/bat mitzvah.

A: It depends. Adult couples that live in New York typically give anything from $180 to $500 and if a kid is coming alone, they usually give a gift of $36 or $54.

“Congratula­tions on becoming a Bar Mitzvah! May your special day be filled with joy. Mazel Tov! Your friend,

Ultimately, the amount is a personal decision. It’s important to take all this information into consideration and then use your best judgment. Keep in mind that the money typically goes towards the bar or bat mitzvah’s education.

Q: When do I give the hosts the card?

For a video on What to Expect at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah,  click here and scroll down to the bottom of this article.

Q: I don’t know the kid very well, what should I give?

Chai checks, or checks of any amount, are usually deposited by the parents into the kid’s college fund.

An artistic gift that also speaks to the universal value of helping the needy is a tzedakah box, which can be displayed as a piece of art but also used to collect money for charity. (In Hebrew, tzedek means “justice”). This classic tzedakah box design will fit into any Jewish home. Hung upon the doorposts of Jewish houses and the rooms within these homes, a mezuzah is a scroll (held within a beautiful case) inscribed with biblical text.

Q: Okay, so it’s appropriate to give something in multiples of 18, but, honestly, how much should I give?

A: If you know the child or the family well, write something personal. Keep in mind that this is a birthday and a very special religious accomplishment for the kid that took a lot of time and preparation. Otherwise, a simple “Congratulations!” or “Mazel tov!” (the Yiddish word for “congratulations”) is standard. Here’s a great example:

A: If you know the child or the family well, write something personal. Keep in mind that this is a birthday and a very special religious accomplishment for the kid that took a lot of time and preparation. Otherwise, a simple “Congratula­tions!” or “Mazel tov!” (the Yiddish word for “congratula­tions”) is standard. Here’s a great example:

If you prefer to purchase a gift that you can wrap, a beautiful Judaica item is an excellent choice. This type of present can stay with the recipient throughout their life – you never outgrow a set of Sabbath candlesticks or a Hanukkah menorah.

A: Yes! Unless you know specifically what the young boy or girl would like as a present, checks are still the gift of choice in the b’nai mitzvah-circuit. Checks in a multiple of $18 are also appropriate. Just put a check in the amount of, say $36 or $54 into a bar mitzvah or general congratulations card. Why multiples of 18? We will let About.com eloquently explain the reasoning behind this:

A: Just like at a wedding, bring the gift to the reception. Don’t give it to the family at the actual service. Most likely, there will be a gift table at the reception where you can drop it off.