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lifecycle celebrations and observances

Jewish ritual embraces us at our lives’ liminal moments, moments of transition that mark both an ending and a beginning. At Congregation Beth El, we seek to infuse these precious moments with Jewish meanings and symbols.
A child’s birth, a son or daughter becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a couple’s marriage, a person’s conversion to Judaism, a loved one’s passing, special anniversaries, and other life occasions are significant opportunities for individual and communal religious ceremonies.
We encourage the members of our synagogue family to call on our rabbis for guidance in celebrating and observing life’s milestone moments. Our rabbis are also available for pastoral counseling at times of personal and/or family need. You may contact Rabbi Shulman and Rabbi Libman in our Rabbinic Office.

For our sons: Brit Milah

Ritual Circumcision is a powerful and moving ceremony through which parents enter their son into the Jewish people's covenant with God, express gratitude for the new life they welcome and nurture, and establish his Jewish identity by giving him a Hebrew name. The Torah commands us to circumcise our newborn sons on the eighth day of their young lives. Rabbi Shulman or Rabbi Libman can refer a Mohel (ritual circumciser), help parents understand the ceremony, and co-officiate, along with the Mohel. Please contact the Rabbinic Office for more information.

for our daughters: Simhat Bat

We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn daughter with a moving ceremony through which parents enter their daughter into the Jewish people's covenant with God, express gratitude for the new life they welcome and nurture, and establish her Jewish identity by giving her a Hebrew name. Rabbi Shulman  or Rabbi Libman can help think about and design a personal ceremony, which may take place either at the synagogue on a Shabbat or Holiday morning before the Torah, in a home, or at Minyan any day the Torah is read (Monday, Thursday, Rosh Hodesh). Please contact the Rabbinic Office for more information.

for all of our children: Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Our children become Bar and Bat Mitzvah (Son or Daughter of the Commandments) at a formative time in their lives. As they become Jewish teenagers, this ceremony marks a transition for them from the learning and joys of their childhoods to the moral consciousness, religious privileges, and imperative of their responsibilities as maturing Jews.
At Congregation Beth El our Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation program seeks to guide our students toward the development of ethical awareness as they master the synagogue skills and Jewish concepts for living and celebrating their lives. Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations take place within the context of each child’s family, our synagogue community, and Shabbat Services. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a joyous event for every student’s family and our entire synagogue family.
For more information about Congregation Beth El's Bar and Bar Mitzvah Program for your family, please contact the Rabbinic Office or Rabbi Libman. Click here for further details.

for loving couples: wedding ceremonies

Judaism celebrates love and marriage as sacred and joyous. We are all encouraged to help loving companions rejoice and be happy on their wedding day, and beyond.
At Congregation Beth El we are excited to help couples and their families plan for and celebrate their wedding ceremonies and pre-wedding Auf-Ruf celebrations, (a Torah honor for the engaged couple at a Shabbat service prior to the wedding.) We also delight in hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions in our beautiful sanctuary, outdoor plaza, and social hall.
Our rabbis look forward to meeting you, answering your questions, and guiding you in the meanings and rituals of the Jewish wedding ceremony, planning your personal ceremony, and supporting you emotionally and spiritually in preparation for your marriage.
We invite you to contact our Rabbinic Office, Rabbi Shulman or Rabbi Libman to discuss your wedding plans. Click here for more information.
Mazal Tov! Congratulations!

for those interested: Conversion to Judaism

Many wonderful and devoted Jews by Choice bless our congregation and the Jewish people through their belonging and their spirit. Some of us choose Judaism before we marry. Others of us choose Judaism after more exposure and experience. Some of us become parents before we choose to become Jewish, or at some later point as our children are finding their own Jewish identities. Some of us choose Judaism for the religious and spiritual meaning we seek in life.
Whether you are considering conversion to Judaism or want to learn more about Judaism for yourself and/or your family, here at Congregation Beth El we welcome your exploration and participation in our synagogue community.
For information about our Introduction to Judaism course, please contact Rabbi Libman. For personal discussion about your possible Jewish journey, please contact Rabbi ShulmanRabbi Libman, or the Rabbinic Office.

For Those Seeking Healing

If you or a loved one confront illness, you desire healing.
If you or a loved one know difficulty or stress, you desire healing.
If you feel alone or alienated, you desire healing.
God’s gift of healing in our lives is the incredible capacity of our spirits, and our bodies to renew,
to be resilient and strong, to live life and pursue goodness. Remember this so healing may begin.
Here at Congregation Beth El, we maintain a communal list of members, loved ones, and friends who seek healing. We invite you to send us the name(s) of a loved one who is facing the challenge of illness, accident, surgery or other health or personal situations. We wish to support you and them by including their Hebrew or English name(s) in our prayers when we recite our communal Prayer for Healing. Please contact our Hesed Committee or Rabbinic Office with the name(s) and relevant information, including how we may contact you. In order to respect each individual's privacy, permission to recite a name is required from an immediate family member or the person himself or herself.
Please call on Rabbi Shulman and/or Rabbi Libman at a time of illness, for a hospital or home visit, or personal support.

for those who are bereaved

Congregation Beth El provides strong support at a time of bereavement. Rabbi Shulman and Rabbi Libman are available to officiate at Funeral Services and Unveilings for synagogue members and their families, to provide guidance regarding funeral arrangements and mourning traditions, and to offer personal assistance during a time of loss.
Our synagogue family compassionately embraces our bereaved families supporting Shiva observances, providing meals, and being present to the needs of our friends and neighbors experiencing grief. Jewish tradition teaches us to act out of respect for those who have died and with caring and comfort toward those who are bereaved.

For more information, please contact the Rabbinic Office.

For Those Who Wish To Remember: Yahrzeit

In Jewish tradition we remember and honor our loved ones on the annual date of their deaths according to the Hebrew calendar, a date known as the Yahrzeit. On this Yahrzeit date it is a sacred custom to attend synagogue services on the Yahrzeit date or the Shabbat before in order to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. Those observing Yahrzeit may request to lead the minyan service or receive a ritual honor.
On the evening of the Yahrzeit it is also customary to light a 24-hour memorial candle and to let it burn for the entire day. Though no special prayer or blessing is recited when lighting a Yahrzeit candle, it is proper to pause and reflect in loving memory. Click here for a Meditation you may recite when lighting your memorial candle.
Thu, December 7 2023 24 Kislev 5784