For over 5,000 years Jews have prayed to God with one voice. Any Jew can walk into any Synagogue in the world and feel comfortable with familiar prayers. Our Temple is no exception. Our children are educated so that they may appreciate our common dedication to prayer.
Brit Milah/Brit Bat
Mazel Tov! Having a baby is surely one of the most profound events in a couple or family’s life. At The Temple we are honored to help you welcome your new child into your family, our congregation, and the Jewish People.
Jewish tradition directs us to circumcise our sons on their eighth day of life with a ritual called brit milah, the covenant of circumcision. During that ceremony boys receive their Hebrew names as well. Girls are often named in a ceremony called brit bat, the covenant of a girl, in the home or during one of our Shabbat worship services.
Our rabbis will be happy to meet with you either before or after the birth of your child to discuss a ceremony that welcomes your child and honors your family even as it links you and him/her to the chain of Jewish tradition and people. We can help with resources for Hebrew names, too.
Our new students are welcomed into the community and blessed at a wonderful family celebration called Consecration, which takes place at the Simchat Torah service in the sanctuary.
According to Jewish law, when Jewish children reach the age of maturity, 13 years, they become responsible for their actions. At this point a boy is said to become Bar Mitzvah (Hebrew: בר מצוה, “one to whom the commandments apply”); a girl is said to become Bat Mitzvah (בת מצוה, “one to whom the commandments apply”).
Before this age, the entire child’s responsibility to follow Jewish law and tradition lies with the parents. After this age, the children are privileged to participate in all areas of Jewish community life and bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition, and ethics.
It is common in Jewish culture to celebrate the coming-of-age transition. In popular usage, the terms “Bar Mitzvah” and “Bat Mitzvah” are often mistakenly used to refer to the celebration itself; however, the term actually refers to the boy or girl. The event is often misunderstood to be a rite of passage by which a Jewish boy or girl becomes a Jewish adult, but in fact it is merely a celebration of the adulthood that came about automatically by virtue of age. The ceremony itself does not change the status of the celebrant nor does it imbue any additional rights or responsibilities beyond those which were automatically imbued on a boy’s or girl’s 13th birthday.
The term Bar Mitzvah (בר מצוה) is typically translated as “man of the commandment,” and Bat Mitzvah (בת מצוה) as “daughter of the commandment.” In Biblical Hebrew, however, the word “bar” or “bat” (the latter pronounced “bas” in Ashkenazi Hebrew) could also mean “subject to,” e.g., a particular tax, penalty, or obligation; therefore, a more accurate translation of the term may actually be “subject to commandment.” The plural form term for people of obligation is B’nai Mitzvah.
The Temple emphasizes Bar/Bat Mitzvah for its educational and spiritual values in the life of a young person and his or her family, but we recognized that it is only a symbolic step along the Jewish way of life and learning. Study is the process of preparing for the ceremony, but it cannot end at age thirteen. Study is a goal of Jewish living. Thus, we expect every Bar/Bar Mitzvah student to continue in Hebrew studies – at least until the end of the school year during which the ceremony occurs – and to continue in the Religious School through Confirmation and hopefully beyond, in our Post-Confirmation program.
The clergy and staff at the Temple work compassionately and patiently to ensure that this simcha is a fulfilling and enriching one for the student and his or her family and friends. To assist you as you begin this journey, we provide our congregants with a booklet to answer many of the common questions that arise as you begin your process of planning and learning. We are here to support you.
Confirmation has a long and beautiful history at The Temple, dating back to the congregation’s earliest years when Reform congregations created Confirmation to replace Bar Mitzvah, thus providing students a full Jewish education. Modern Confirmation services, held at the end of a student’s 10th grade year, honor and reflect our traditions even as they allow for the creative expression of the members of each class.
The school year is spent studying Jewish identity, Reform Jewish theology and history, and how the Torah is relevant to their lives. The year culminates with a beautiful Confirmation service on Shavuot created by the rabbis and students.
Mazel Tov! Whether you are engaged, or thinking about formalizing your relationship with your partner, planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It can also be fraught with questions. Our rabbis hope to ease this process for you.
We are here to help you plan your ceremony, answer your questions, and talk with you about your future as a couple. We look forward to celebrating with you and your families as well. One of our goals as a congregation is to welcome all couples who wish to be connected to the Jewish community.
Illness & Hospitalization
Bikur cholim, visiting the sick, is an important Jewish tradition. We take this mitzvah very seriously at The Temple. While our rabbis would like to visit you or a loved one who is ill, we respect your right to privacy.
Please be in touch with our rabbinic office to report a hospitalization or an illness, and we will respond in accordance with the patient’s and the family’s wishes.
Grief & Mourning
End-of-life issues are often some of our most difficult challenges. When someone you love has died, we hope to bring you the comfort and strength of our Jewish traditions. Working closely with area funeral homes, the rabbis at The Temple can provide you with the resources you need.
Following a funeral it is customary to sit shiva. While not mandatory, many families find that being home, in the presence of loved ones and caring friends, brings tremendous comfort. One of our rabbis will be honored to officiate at the funeral of your loved one or to arrange for a shiva.
The Temple office also will send reminders about upcoming Yahrzeit dates to remember your loved ones at Shabbat services.