Best of TaxLetter: The Bar Mitzvah

Rabbi Arnold Feldman of Philadelphia invited his entire congregation to his son's bar mitzvah -- and deducted the cost of the affair. The Tax Court decision (which disallowed the deduction) provides useful insight into the rite of bar mitzvah:

"[The Feldmans'] understanding of their religious obligations is that they are required to have a reception to celebrate their son's becoming a bar mitzvah. The sources that set forth this religious obligation do not prescribe how many people should be invited, nor do they prescribe the elaborateness or degree of expense of such a reception.... [They] invited the entire membership of the congregation, about 725 families, to the bar mitzvah service and reception. Some of the members attended the reception but not the service.... A musical band was hired to play at the reception.... At the reception, [the Feldmans] stood in a receiving line and shook hands with everyone in attendance. The reception ended at about 4:30 p.m.... Among the gifts received by David were $1,500 from his grandparents and more than 100 $25 U.S. Savings Bonds from various guests....[They] did not keep any list of the guests who attended the bar mitzvah and they have no other records of the gifts received."

(No. 54)


<-- Previous story . . . . . Next story -->
<-- Back to Best of Taxletter - Index


Created: March 21, 1996; Last updated: January 26, 2004
This site is designed and maintained by [Internet By Aviva logo]