Baby naming: We welcome babies into the covenant of the people Israel and give them a Hebrew name through ceremonies held at home or in the synagogue.
Brit Milah: The Covenant of Circumcision, is held on the eighth day of a boy’s life. Our rabbi can assist families in finding a mohel (person trained in performing circumcisions) and with the ceremony. Naming for boys can also take place at shabbat services.
Girls are welcomed into the covenant (without a surgical procedure) at a special ceremony for family and friends or at shabbat services in the synagogue.
Consecration: This is a ceremony to welcome our newest students into our Religious School. Held on Sukkot or Simchat Torah, children entering first grade or beginning their studies in our school are called to the bimah (pulpit) to recite the Sh’ma (a statement of God’s unity) and receive a certificate and a miniature Torah scroll. We celebrate this moment to indicate to children and their families the value and importance of Jewish education.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah: At the age of 13, Jewish children become Bar- (for a boy) or Bat- (for a girl) Mitzvah. This means that they are of the age that they can take responsibility for performance of mitzvot – commandments or Jewish obligations. At BYBS, the ceremony marking this occasion takes place within the Shabbat morning service. The bar/bat mitzvah helps conduct the service and is called to the Torah for the first time.
Formal bar and bat mitzvah preparation begins the year prior to the ceremony. It is our goal to focus on Jewish values and make the study and ceremony meaningful for the student and family. Students attend a weekly trope (cantillation) class on Shabbat morning and stay for Shabbat services following the lesson. The rabbi holds several family education sessions throughout the year for students and parents. During Hebrew School, students receive individual tutoring on their assigned Torah and Haftarah portions. The Hebrew School curriculum covers the basic prayers required to lead the service. Independent practice outside of religious school is expected and necessary. Students and families are encouraged to engage in a mitzvah project meaningful to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student. The rabbi helps each student prepare a d’var torah (speech explaining and interpreting the portion). During this year, we hope each family will explore basic principles and traditions of Judaism at home, within the B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom community and the greater Jewish community.
For more information about Bar/Bat Mitzvah, go to:
Confirmation: This ceremony at the end of 10th grade marks the students’ affirmation of Jewish beliefs and practices. It usually takes place on or near Shavuot, the festival commemorating the giving of Torah at Mount Sinai. The Confirmation Class conducts the service and shares their interpretations of some aspect of Judaism and Jewish learning.
Marriage: We rejoice with happy couples and seek to help them establish Jewish homes. Our rabbi is available for pre-marital counseling, and enjoys officiating at wedding ceremonies. Many couples like to have an aufruf – a pre-nuptial blessing in the synagogue on a Shabbat prior to their wedding.
Death: When there is a loss in our temple family, we respond as a community. Some of our members choose to hold a funeral service at the temple, while others prefer a funeral chapel or graveside service.