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Welcoming children – whether newborn or newly adopted at any age - is one of the great joys of the congregation. In accordance with historical Jewish practice, parents may choose to circumcise their baby boys and bless them with a Hebrew name on the eighth day after birth. This ceremony is called brit milah, the covenant of circumcision. (The Reform movement certifies doctors and nurse-midwives as Reform mohelim, the practitioners who perform the ritual circumcision; please contact the Beth El office for a referral.) At Beth El, our clergy support parents in creating meaningful and joyful ceremonies of Jewish naming and welcome for all of their children, regardless of age or sex assigned at birth, or parents' choice to circumcise. 

Holding a ceremony immediately after the arrival of a child is not always possible or appropriate; a Jewish naming ceremony can be held at any time. Depending on family circumstances, children and grandchildren may be named and blessed at a Shabbat service in the presence of the congregation or at home. Please contact Rabbi Stern via the synagogue office to discuss or schedule a naming ceremony.


Mazel Tov!

Our clergy are delighted to officiate at the Jewish weddings of our members and children of our members; for many couples, joining the synagogue is part of their wedding preparation. Our Rabbis and Cantor are eager to speak with you about your plans for your Jewish wedding and marriage; our clergy officiate at weddings for two Jewish partners and for interfaith couples. Please contact any member of our clergy via the synagogue office to set up an initial appointment to discuss your ceremony and plans. If you are looking for a rabbi in another locale, we are glad to provide referrals. Some great resources to learn more about Jewish weddings are and


Congregation Beth El is committed to providing support, care, and guidance to our members and their families experiencing loss. At the time of death, congregants are encouraged to contact our clergy for end-of-life guidance and support. Beth El also offers our support by: sharing information about funeral and shiva arrangements with the congregation; arranging for our clergy and lay leaders to lead a shiva minyan at the request of the mourners; and delivering prayer books to the home.

On the anniversary of a loved ones' death, Kaddish can be said during any Shabbat service. Yahrzeit reminders are sent to congregation members in advance of the anniversary. We welcome anyone who is in mourning to say Kaddish with us.

Our clergy work closely with Sinai Memorial Chapel, the Bay Area’s Jewish funeral home, to make funeral arrangements for our members. We also strongly encourage our members to minimize the stress and hardship of visiting the cemetery, picking out a gravesite, and dealing with financial matters by planning ahead. Though still difficult, taking care of these tasks when you can make unhurried and informed decisions makes a meaningful difference in later preparations. For assistance with pre-need arrangements, please call Sinai Memorial Chapel directly: (877) 895-0359

As always, for any spiritual and/or ritual questions about death and dying, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our clergy through the Congregation Beth El office.


Project Nechama was created in order to disseminate resources and build awareness to ensure that individuals and families experiencing pregnancy loss, stillbirth or the death of a child are supported by the Beth El community. Nechama is Hebrew for "comfort." Each year Beth El holds a special Yizkor Memorial service in recognition of all the children whom we have lost. For questions or to recommend further resources, please contact Beth El's Clergy Assistant.


Sat, September 30 2023 15 Tishrei 5784