Life Cycle Events

Celebration of Life Through Jewish Observance

The celebration of lifecycle events is a core element of Jewish observance. At Temple Shalom, we strive to answer the question, “What does living a Jewish life mean?” We celebrate the Reform Jewish home, Jewish family and Jewish cultural life. We leave it up to each individual to choose the traditions they wish to follow.  Below you will find information on basic Jewish lifecycle celebrations and explanations on how Temple Shalom follows these rituals. Our hope is that you discover your own place within our rich heritage.

Please note that priority of lifecycle officiations goes to those who are members of Temple Shalom.

Births

Brit Milah (BOYS)

Brit Milah, or “Bris” as we say in Yiddish, is the ritual circumcision of a Jewish infant on the 8th day following his birth. Despite some recent trends on the American scene to leave baby boys uncircumcised, circumcision remains a requirement for male Jewish identity even within the Reform Movement, the most liberal of the branches of American Judaism. Not only is it considered healthier, but it is the statement of identity for a Jewish boy. By giving their son a Brit Milah, parents affirm their son’s entrance into the Jewish People and the covenant between that child and God. 

One does not need a rabbi or cantor at a Brit Milah. Rather, a mohel is the Jewish professional conducts the service and performs the circumcision. There are many Reform mohalim who are physicians, usually urologists or Ob-Gyns. We are happy to help parents find competent and compassionate mohalim/mohalot to officiate, and can be contacted here. Oftentimes, families choose to have a smaller, private Brit Milah and a more public baby naming and blessing by our clergy members as part of a Friday evening service at a later date.  We are also happy to arrange such a ritual for you.  For suggested honoraria for lay-led baby naming services click here.

Brit Habat (GIRLS)

Since Jewish boys are brought into the covenant of the Jewish people through the rite of Brit Milah, a few decades ago rabbis began to create ceremonies for entering Jewish girls into the People of Israel. Some have a “Brita” or “Brit Habat,” a ceremony in the home that is akin to a Bris but without any medical procedure. Others have a baby naming in the synagogue on a Friday night during services. Whether you choose to have your ritual at home or as part of a Friday evening service, we are happy to work with you to create a celebration of blessing for your newborn daughter.  Please contact us here to begin the planning process.  For suggested honoraria for lay-led baby naming services click here.

Bar / Bat Mitzvah

At the age of thirteen a Jewish child becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah — a son or daughter of the commandments. Now responsible for their own ritual and ethical behavior, the child and family celebrate this milestone by coming to Torah and helping to lead services. At Temple Shalom this is an intimate, warm, joyful and meaningful experience.  For information on B’nei Mitzvah policies and fees click here.

Marriage

The sacred bond between committed partners is a treasured cornerstone of Jewish community life. Here at Temple Shalom, Rabbi Lori will work with you and your partner and officiate your wedding.  If you wish to have an aufruf, a special blessing on the Friday night Shabbat Service preceding your wedding, contact us and it will be arranged.  For information on wedding fees and suggested honoraria for a lay-led aufruf click here.

Conversion / Outreach

Temple Shalom is a warm and inviting community for those curious about Judaism, considering converting to Judaism, or who are raising Jewish children. We welcome those who wish to explore our faith and consider embracing the Covenant of Israel. Our rabbi works with individual candidates toward conversion.  Our Outreach Program provides programming and events designed to give you an opportunity to learn more about Jewish belief and practice, as well as to embrace and celebrate the multicultural aspects of our diverse community.  For information on how those who have not yet completed gerut as well as non-jewish guests and community members may participate in services click here.

Illness and Healing

Temple Shalom Caring Community is a congregant-to-congregant outreach program in which temple members reach out to one another in various ways, including phone calls, visits, and support during times of illness, hospitalization, and bereavement.  The Mishberech prayer for healing is offered at each of our Shabbat services.  If you have a name of a loved one, friend or temple member in need of healing that you would like to be read during this prayer, please share it with the Temple office.

Death

One of the most important aspects of synagogue life is that people are there for each other at times of crisis, pain, and loss. We are honoured to help people when there has been a death in the family. At the time of a loss, contact us so that we can be sure that we can be available at your time of need. We will help you plan and schedule the funeral, we will meet with you to comfort you and we will conduct a service that is meaningful and comforting.

In accordance with Jewish tradition, some of our members “sit shiva,” receiving comforting guests at their home following the service. While the tradition is seven days, many people observe for one or sometimes two or three days.  The rabbi or a layperson will officiate at shiva minyan services in the home of the bereaved for one service or up to the full week of shiva.  Temple Shalom provides appropriate prayer books as needed.
 
Before the first year is over, an unveiling takes place as the stone is placed at the grave.  We are happy to prepare a short service for you to lead on your own, or with a lay-leader’s guidance. Please contact us to make arrangements.

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