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Life Cycle Celebrations and Observances

 
 

At Temple Beth El, life's joys and sorrows are marked through warm, caring, spiritually deep life-cycle events. Our clergy team brings sensitivity and experience to these important passages, from birth to the end of life.

Our caring and knowledgeable Rabbis provide personalized rituals for all stages of life including brit milah/baby naming, bar/bat mitzvah, confirmation, conversion, weddings, funerals and memorials. We are blessed to have our own Chevra Kadisha (Jewish burial society) and two Jewish cemeteries. In addition, our Women of Beth El Gift Shop offers ritual items for all of these occasions.

 

Brit Milah—Baby naming is performed about day eight for boys or at one month for girls.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah—The 13-year-old is called to the Torah for the first time and leads the Shabbat morning service. This signifies the beginning of adulthood, knowledge of biblical Hebrew, and a commitment to fulfill the mitzvot, the ethical and ceremonial responsibilities of Jewish tradition. The hard work and commitment required to prepare for this occasion demonstrate that the young person can and should now be regarded as a young adult. In conjunction with this ceremony, children perform thirteen hours of community service.

Confirmation—Teens are confirmed at the end of 10th grade, signifying the completion of the formal Temple School education. Through this ceremony, confirmands avow their commitment to carry Judaism into their adult lives.

Adult B'nai Mitzvah—A group ceremony signifying the beginning of a fuller participation in Jewish study, worship and community. Students lead the service, chant from the Torah and Haftarah and share the spiritual journey that brought them to this important life-cycle event.

Conversions—Sincere seekers are warmly welcome at Temple Beth El to take part in the spiritually and intellectually satisfying process of Jewish conversion.  

Everyone is welcome to all services and programs at Temple Beth El, regardless of whether or not they are Jewish. If you are interested in becoming a Jew, we invite you to take the first step by reaching out to us by phone or email. You will be connected to a member of our clergy team who will help you map out a course of study and a path of connection with our community. When you are ready, you will schedule a mikvah ritual, called t'villah. You will write 3 essays described below and then will discuss these essays with a beit din panel of 3 clergy. We will then celebrate the affirmation of your choice to join "the tribe." Here are the essay topics:

  • G-d- Please describe your personal belief in G-d. In what way has Jewish thought and text influenced your ideas about G-d?
  • Jewish Learning and Torah- Please describe your relationship with Jewish learning. What are your learning goals? What is your relationship with the Torah? Please talk about one person or story in the Torah that is important to you.
  • Jewish Identity- Describe your sense of identification with the Jewish people in relation to Israel, world Jewry, the local Jewish community, and your synagogue.

Weddings—Our rabbis perform weddings, including LGBTQ unions, in our sanctuary or in a location chosen by the couple. Excellent pre-marriage counseling is one of the many benefits of being married through our synagogue.

Funerals—Temple Beth El offers guidance and strength to mourning families through our clergy and our Chevra Kadisha. Graveside funeral services and burials take place in one of our two lovely cemeteries. Memorial services may be held in our sanctuary.

Shiva—Following burial, daily worship is held in the mourner’s home, with loved ones and community coming together to form a minyan or prayer quorum. Mourners may observe shiva for both Jewish and non-Jewish relatives. Shiva minyans are led by our rabbis or by lay leaders.

Yahrzeits and Yiskor services—We honor yahrzeits (the anniversary of a death) at our weekly Shabbat evening services; Yiskor memorial services are conducted on Yom Kippur after the morning service, at Shemini Atzeret, on the seventh day of Passover, and on the second day of Shavuot. It is customary to light a memorial candle at home for each of these occasions.  

Tue, December 6 2022 12 Kislev 5783