A bat mitzvah is a Jewish girl's coming-of-age, celebrated when the girl turns 12-years-old. The bat mitzvah is both a ceremony and a party. During the ceremony, the girl recites a blessing during a synagogue service. The ceremony is typically held during a standard service and a private reception usually follows. It's common for the girl to receive gifts from guests during the reception. Usually, the family gives the girl Judaic gifts, such as a tallis. Guests can choose almost anything else to give as a gift.
Giving money in multiples of $18 at a bat mitzvah is considered lucky. The Hebrew word "chai" means 18. It also means life. If you don't want think giving cash is a perfect gift, choose gift cards to the girl's favorite stores and give them to her in $18 denominations. The number of $18 gifts you give depends on your budget. You can give a single $18 gift card or cash gift, a $36 card or even a $180 gift card or cash. Instead of cash or a gift card, you can give money to the girl's college savings account in multiples of $18.
A bat mitzvah gift doesn't have to have a special meaning or be connected to Judaism. Remember you're buying a gift for a pre-teenage girl, so trendy costume jewelry may just be the perfect present. Pick a necklace with a fun pendant or a charm bracelet that she can add on to at future birthdays. If her ears are pierced, funky earrings may be just the thing.
A bat mitzvah marks a girl's transition to womanhood in Jewish culture. Another way to mark her transition to womanhood is to give her a grown-up purse or handbag as a bat mitzvah present. Choose a handbag that is timeless in style, but that will still appeal to a young person. You don't have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the latest designer "it" bag, though.
If you've know the girl all of her life, give her a bat mitzvah gift that has sentimental value. A scrapbook of photos of the two of you together is a great idea, as is a journal with a special message written on the first page. Another option is to give her a framed picture of the two of you or a picture from another special event in her life. If you have a favorite book or movie together, consider giving her a copy of the book or movie with a note.
Choose a charity that represents the girl's interests and give a donation in her name. Make sure the donation is in multiples of $18, though. Donating to charity as a gift lets her give back some of the blessings she has received throughout her life. If she is concerned about feeding the hungry, donate to the local food bank. If she is artistic, give money to a local arts organization that she likes. You can also donate your time volunteering with a local charity in her honor.