Lifecycle at Temple Beth Shalom
At pivotal moments in our lives, we strive to be surrounded by loved ones who care about us, who are there for us. Temple Beth Shalom is a Kehillah Kedosha, a Holy Community, where our rabbis and congregants support one another in times of sorrow and in times of joy. Our rabbis are on call and always available to guide our congregants through life’s pivotal moments.
Bris / Bat Brit (Baby Naming): B’rit milah, (literally, “covenant of circumcision”), also called a bris, refers to a religious ritual through which male babies are formally welcomed into the Jewish people. According to Jewish tradition, it is a parent’s obligation to circumcise a son and offer a threefold blessing for the child: a life enriched by Torah, the wedding canopy (chuppah), and good deeds. Today, a mohel or mohelet is routinely designated by parents to fulfill this custom. For a girl, the ceremony, called Bat Brit (daughter of the covenant), is a way to formally welcome female children into our faith and our community. Here at TBS, both ceremonies include blessings from parents and loved ones, the giving of a Hebrew name, and many opportunities to celebrate new life.
When children begin in our Religious School, their journey of learning is marked with a meaningful and cute consecration service in Kindergarten. Consecration marks the beginning of the sweet road of Jewish study ahead and tells our students that they are important members of our Temple Beth Shalom community and of the Jewish people as well.
When a child reaches 13 years old, he or she becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, beginning the journey to Jewish adulthood. A 13-year-old child's First Aliyah (first blessing) to the Torah is a life-changing event. Here at Temple Beth Shalom, through close one-on-one preparation with our rabbis and tutors, each child has the opportunity to lead the congregation in prayer, chant Torah and Haftarah, and personally connect with the Torah text in writing a speech or D'var Torah. Bat/Bar Mitzvah ceremonies at TBS are community events. They are personalized, family oriented and inclusive.
Upon completing tenth grade, our students participate in a Confirmation ceremony. Confirmation is a Reform-originated ceremony for boys and girls that is tied to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It constitutes an individual and group affirmation of commitment to the Jewish people. Our students affirm their Jewish connections by writing about them and sharing them with the congregation in “This I Believe” statements. Many of our students continue in our High School program as madrichim (teacher aides) through the end of High School.
There are few greater joys in life than experiencing the wedding ceremony of two people who are very much in love. Wedding ceremonies officiated by our rabbis express that joy, love, and hope for the future. Each wedding ceremony is unique and crafted around that specific couple. Weddings can take place in the TBS Sanctuary, in the Outdoor Chapel, or offsite as well. Our rabbis warmly welcome interfaith couples and LGBTQ couples, and are honored to officiate their weddings.
When one is ill, it is as if the entire world is off its axis. Our community at Temple Beth Shalom is there to help people in need. Our rabbis, along with the rest of our community, are wonderful at mobilizing when they are needed. If one is ill, in need of some meals, some prayers, or just some company, our Caring Circle at TBS will be there to provide meaningful support.
When a loved one dies, there are many questions that arise very quickly. We offer the services to be able to help answer those questions. Our rabbis are on call, ready to help counsel the bereaved, to work closely with our local Jewish funeral home, Epstein Memorial Chapel, and most of all, to provide comfort in a dark time. Our rabbis conduct funeral services, shiva minyanim (services at the house of mourning), and help coordinate many aspects of the process.
* Thanks to reformjudaism.org for some of the texts above.
Temple Beth Shalom © 2015