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LIFECYCLE EVENTS

BIRTHS

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.

WEDDINGS

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
MyJewishLearning.com and ReformJudaism.org

END OF LIFE SUPPORT

Our Jewish tradition offers customs and rituals that can be of great comfort to individuals facing end-of-life, and those facing the loss of a family member. Your Beth El clergy and community are here to provide support.  Here’s how members can access help:  

If a death has occurred in your family, or if you or a family member has received a terminal diagnosis, we encourage you to notify Beth El right away, and a clergy member will reach out to you as quickly as possible. You can reach Beth El by emailing shalom@bethelberkeley.org or calling (510) 848-3988 and following the instructions for emergency notifications. The clergy will help you by: 

  • Listening to your questions and needs.
  • If you wish, sharing information on traditional Jewish customs and rituals related to burial and mourning. 
  • If you wish, putting you in touch with trained Beth El volunteers who can provide support, comfort, and advice. This volunteer group is known as the “Chevra Kadisha” (literally “Holy Society”), and can be reached directly at ck@bethelberkeley.org.  
  • If you wish, putting you in touch with our Jewish non-profit mortuary partners at Sinai Memorial Chapel.

Click here for more information on Jewish traditions around death and mourning.

Thu, June 13 2024 7 Sivan 5784