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My daughter is having her bat mitzvah party in January. A few other girls have had birthday parties and did not include her. They are now asking her if they are being invited which makes her really uncomfortable. What do I do? My daughter asked why she was not invited and the reasons are crazy: "I don't have your phone number," "my mom made a mistake," "I didn't think you liked parties."

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Mazel tov :)

A bat mitzvah is the same as any party: she invites those people who she wants to share in her celebration and achievement.

I'd encourage your daughter to consider inviting them. Being forgiving shows a level of maturity, and it's an important lesson of adulthood that sometimes you have to put up with inconsiderate, entitled people. But don't push it, particularly with girls who made some of the sillier excuses. Nobody is entitled to be there except your daughter. (The only exception I'd make is if she's inviting her entire class, in which case leaving out a few isn't appropriate.)

So nobody should expect an invitation, particularly somebody who didn't extend your daughter the same consideration. But let's assume Friend's etiquette isn't up to snuff and she is asking about the party in such a way that it's clear she expects to come.


Avoid snarky comments like "didn't think you liked parties" or "my mom made a mistake," which is just weak.

The most reasonable response is straightforward:

  • You aren't invited.
  • I'm sorry, but you aren't invited.
  • I don't think I'm going to be inviting you.

Friend doesn't really need to be told more than that, but maybe Friend is just clueless and rude, or your daughter wants to let her down more gently.

  • We've only got a limited space and/or guest list. I had to think of my family and close friends first.
  • I was only allowed to invite so many people, sorry.

Or focus on the meaning of a bat mitzvah (which is only effective if Friend is not Jewish):

  • This isn't just "some party," it's an important part of my religious journey and has deep meaning to me. Do you know what being called to the Torah is about?

If Friend gets pushy and whines that she thought she was a close friend, then a couple of options...

  • Oh, I was confused when you didn't invite me to your party. That hurt my feelings and I just assumed we weren't as close as I thought.
  • Friend, I don't feel like we're that close. You didn't invite me to your birthday party and you gave a sort of weird excuse about it. I just don't feel comfortable sharing this event with you.

This can also be used directly instead of starting off with excuses about space or religious reasons. It's what I'd choose to say personally, but I'm an adult and capable of handling awkward situations. When I was 13, I would never have wanted to start off with that level of confrontation.

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Personally I think that she'll only have one bar mitzvah. She should invite those who are special to her. If people are asking her if they are invited she can then be honest and say "It's a really special thing to me and so I need people there who I'm close to."

Regardless, it's about giving her the tools to achieve what she wants on this special day. Explaining to her that future consequences of not inviting this or that girl are irrelevant since it just makes clear a situation that is already there. It will also help the other girls understand that there is a consequence to their actions, and provided your daughter continues to be herself and not proud or haughty or uses the party as something to come back in an argument with, then they may end up having second thoughts on how they treat her.

Sadly I think it's clear that maybe some group bullying is going on, and when it's a group, factors like respect and honour don't generally have a say, so if she invites them, she may have an issue.

Help her understand that it's her decision and she should not be scared or unsettled by anything the other girls say, because you are there to help her, give her the language that she needs, back her up at school without disempowering her. Part of the deal here is empowering her to do what she wants to do, not what the other girls want her to.

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