The first thing to bring to Mitzvah Bash is dancing shoes. The second is a wallet.
On Sunday, March 5, parents, grandparents and children traveled to the Ace Hotel in East Liberty for Mitzvah Bash, a bright, booming and eventful party generated for those planning upcoming bar and bat mitzvahs.
“We wanted to bring people together to be inspired for their upcoming bar and bat mitzvahs and to sample and to hear the different vendors in Pittsburgh,” said Theresa Kaufman, partner and event producer at Eventful Pittsburgh.
So to allow inspiration to run free, Kaufman and her business partner Shari Zatman (who also owns Perfectly Planned by Shari) stacked a group of local vendors over two floors in the hotel and had them go to work.
In the venue’s first-floor gym, Snap Entertainment operated a custom-sock-printing press adjacent to tables covered by Lendable Linens. On the second-floor ballroom, in what was called Club Mitzvah, there was a photo booth from ELF Entertainment and casino and video gaming from Entertainment Unlimited. Scores of other vendors helped infuse an electric atmosphere with games, dancing, decorations and food.
Mitzvah Bash allowed guests to “experience top-of-the-line event resources,” said Zatman.
The event also helped attendees establish a vision for upcoming mitzvah celebrations.
Kara Levine, of the South Hills, attended Mitzvah Bash with the aforementioned purpose in mind. Joined by her daughter, Levine migrated between the floors searching for ideas for a “boy-girl party,” she said. My daughter “has a twin brother and we have to figure out some ideas,” she noted.
Cheryl Bernstein of Squirrel Hill had a similar intention. “We wanted to see what’s new out there and to see what people have tried at other bar and bat mitzvahs,” said Bernstein, who attended Mitzvah Bash alongside her also not-yet-bat-mitzvahed daughter.
Adding excitement to an already sugar-infused, strobe-light-blinking, balloon-floating soiree was a Mitzvah Bash Mission. The scavenger hunt-like exercise invited participants to engage in activities such as shooting hoops at a basketball arcade, taking a picture in the photo booth, fist bumping an emcee and moving a peg on a giant light brite board.
“There are great vendors here in Pittsburgh, and we wanted to showcase them,” said Zatman.
While most of the party purveyors were local, some traveled from as far as Chicago.
Howard Wallach of A-Z Entertainment brought eight entertainers to handle sound, lights and video. “We normally bring five to a bar mitzvah, but we’re kind of putting on the Ritz today,” he said. Although A-Z is based “out of Chicagoland,” the group travels to Pittsburgh between six and 15 times annually. Those parties are among the “230-240 events” that A-Z hosts “across the states” each year. “Outside of Chicago, Pittsburgh is our next biggest market,” he added.
Throughout the event emcees, DJs and interactive dancers delighted kids and adults to the beating sounds of pop music. Beside the dance floor was an array of sweets, treats and even kosher eats.
“When you’re talking to the Jewish community you want everyone to be able to sample and eat the food,” said Kaufman. “We wanted to honor and respect everyone.” So party planners and ACE Hotel invited Deena Ross of Deena’s Dishes, a division of Creative Kosher Catering, to the makeshift mitzvah blast.
Between the diverse varieties of party-themed delicacies and myriad entertainment options, the goal of Mitzvah Bash was to give future celebrants and potential purchasers ideas, said Kaufman. “The takeaway is inspiration for their own bar or bat mitzvahs.”
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.