Some of the Key Life Cycles
Brit Milah or Baby Naming
The baby naming ceremony celebrates the birth of the child, welcomes the child into the Jewish Covenant and gives the child a Hebrew name. For boys, the ceremony traditionally includes the practice of circumcision (Brit Milah or Bris, the covenant of circumcision). This ritual takes place on the eighth day of life unless it would pose a health risk to the infant. For girls, the ceremony is frequently referred to as a baby naming (Simchat Bat, the celebration of a daughter, or Brit Bat, the daughters’ covenant). Our clergy is happy to assist our families on this joyous occasion.
The term Bar or Bat Mitzvah means “one who is bound to the commandments”. According to Jewish tradition, our children are deemed ready to formally accept responsibility for the ethical and religious traditions of Judaism when they publicly demonstrate their ability to read the Torah. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a public affirmation of the passage of Jewish youth into adulthood, and is a monumental event in the life of a child and a family. The child’s participation in a Shabbat service marks the culmination of nearly a year of study on the part of the child along with his/her parents. After a child becomes Bar or Bat Mitzvah, we expect him or her to continue in our Religious School through Confirmation and beyond, recognizing that Jewish learning is a lifelong process.
For many young people, the teen years are filled with a yearning for a spiritual identity. At the end of tenth grade in our Religious School, our youth celebrate Confirmation, a reaffirmation of their commitment to live as Jews. The Confirmands will partipate in the Shavuot festival service marking another major rite of passage for students in our Religious School. There are additional opportunities for them to continue their religious education through 12th grade and to work as paid teaching aides in the school.
Marriage is a sacred lifecycle event within the Jewish tradition. Our clergy will be pleased to support and guide you and your partner as you prepare for a Jewish wedding.
Death and Mourning
Jewish tradition pays close attention to how we treat the departed and support the living with respect and compassion. Being part of a community is so essential at times of loss. Our clergy and our community want to support and comfort you through this period. Please contact our clergy for help in scheduling a funeral, in arranging for shiva services in a home and with support in coping with the death of a loved one.