Community has the privilege of participating in one another’s lives. We have understood this at B’nai Jehudah for more than 140 years. We welcome new lives through birth. We celebrate marriage. We confront illness and loss. We do these things together, and knowing that we are not alone instills that sense of family we cherish. Permit us to become your spiritual family, celebrating together moments of joy and comforting each other in times of struggle.
Brit Milah / Kabbalat Bat
Mazel Tov! Welcoming a new member of the family is a profound experience. Our congregation is honored to welcome your child into our community. Tradition calls for us to circumcise our sons on the eighth day of life in a ritual called Brit Milah, the Covenant of Circumcision. During this ceremony, boys also are given their Hebrew names. Girls are welcomed, and given their Hebrew names, in a ceremony called Kabbalat Bat, Welcoming a Daughter.
Our clergy is readily available to meet before or after your child is born in order to discuss the details of the appropriate ritual, which will welcome your child, honor your family and connect us all in the chain of Jewish tradition. There are many options available to families – for both boys and girls. Again, our clergy can help you choose the celebration right for you.
At B’nai Jehudah, we honor the Reform movement’s position on Jewish identity: All children with at least one Jewish parent, and who are raised and educated only as Jews, are considered to be fully Jewish.
At 13, Jewish children come of age as Jews and automatically become Bar Mitzvah (“son of the commandment”) or Bat Mitzvah (“daughter of the commandment”).
At B’nai Jehudah’s Religious School, students are gently introduced to Hebrew, with more formal language education beginning in Third Grade and continuing through Sixth Grade. To prepare to become Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students begin six months prior to their chosen Shabbat morning. They meet with private tutors and work with our clergy to know how to be a shaliach tzibbur (leader of congregational prayer), a ba’al koreih (reader of the Torah and Haftarah), and a darshan (one who offers a lesson based on the Torah portion). Through all of these acts, a child publicly announces his/her readiness to accept responsibility for his/her religious life.
B’nai Mitzvah is simultaneously a life-cycle event, educational milestone, and a communal celebration. We take pride in our process that embraces the child and his/her parents and helps them travel that amazing path from childhood to emerging adulthood.
To see all the details of our B’nai Mitzvah program, click here to access our B’nai Mitzvah Family Guide.
Confirmation is a unique life-cycle event, for it is tied inextricably to educational achievement. Just as Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Sinai, so too do our young people accept their responsibilities as mature Jews on the same day that Israel accepted the Torah from God in mutual covenant.
In the 19th century, Confirmation was first introduced as a life-cycle event by Reform Judaism — a practice now emulated by Conservative and Orthodox congregations. Since the beginning of our congregation’s history, Confirmation has been an integral part of our educational experience.
Confirmation occurs at the end of Tenth Grade. That year is spent studying with our clergy. Topics range from God, Ethics, Contemporary Issues to the history of our American Jewish experience. The year includes a weekend retreat and our spring trip to New York City. The year culminates with a joyous Confirmation service—crafted in concert by the students and our rabbis—on Erev Shavuot.
To view last year’s Confirmation Handbook, which outlines the details of our Confirmation program, click here.
Mazel Tov! Engaged? Thinking about it? Entering into marriage can be both exciting and overwhelming. To ease the process, and provide some answers, our rabbis would love to meet with you and talk about your future as a couple. We look forward to celebrating with you and we welcome all couples who seek connection with the Jewish community.
To help answer some of the often-asked questions, feel free to read our Marriage F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions), by clicking here.
Taking on a new religious identity is one of the most profound steps in a person’s life. Our rabbis invite those interested in Judaism to participate in our Introduction to Judaism class and to speak directly with them. Choosing Judaism is a highly personal journey and not bound by a time frame. Our rabbis are wonderful guides, studying and counseling with those who wish to be part of our faith and tradition. When a person is ready to formalize that relationship, our rabbis help fashion an appropriate ceremony to celebrate this new identity.
Illness & Hospitalization
Bikur cholim, visiting the sick, is an important Jewish tradition and, as such, is taken very seriously at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah. While our rabbis would like to visit you or a loved one who is ill, we respect your right to privacy. Contact our rabbinic office to report a hospitalization or illness and direct us in the most appropriate way to respond.
Grief & Mourning
End-of-life issues can provide seemingly insurmountable challenges. When a loved one dies, the sense of loss can overwhelm. B’nai Jehudah invites you to find strength and comfort in our Jewish traditions. In concert with area funeral homes, we can provide you the resources you need and one of our rabbis would be honored to officiate at funeral services or arrange for a shiva.
Information & Policies
While we would like all to be a part of our congregation and community, we recognize that circumstances and conditions do not always permit that to happen. To better serve both our members and others who have yet to become members, we offer clarification of life-cycle services, as well as costs associated for those not yet members. If there are further questions, please do not hesitate to call our clergy or our Executive Director.