Life Cycle

Traditionally, Jewish life is punctuated by certain milestones — birth, bar/bat mitzvah, weddings, anniversaries, Shabbat and the holidays. We are enriched by our ancient heritage as we celebrate each of these life-cycle and calendar events. The sanctity of Jewish ritual binds us to those who have come before us, lights the path for those who will follow us. We create significant memories by sharing these times with family and friends.

Brit Milah & Baby Namings

B’nai Mitzvah



If you are anticipating a Life Cycle Event, need information about a Jewish practice or principle or are looking for a creative way to think through a milestone, our Rabbi can guide you. The sections below describe some of our services in more detail.

Conversion to Judaism

B’nai Shalom is ready and happy to guide those seeking a path into Judaism through conversion. A rich introduction to Judaism can be gained through conversations with the leadership and attendance at spiritual and social events. Our doors are open to those who are exploring Judaism.

An individual meeting with our leadership and participation in Jewish communal life are requirements in the process that will lead to a formal Bet Din (Conversion Court) and a warm welcome into the Jewish community. The time required to complete the process will depend on the candidate’s Jewish knowledge and experience with Jewish living.

Birth, Naming, Brit Mitzvah

The rituals of brit and baby naming are ceremonies that welcome and confirm a child’s membership in the Jewish community. Traditionally, the brit for boys includes circumcision and is held on the eighth day of life. Some parents choose to have the circumcision in the hospital and the naming ceremony on the eighth day in their home or at a later date in the synagogue. Baby girls are welcomed into the covenant with a Brit/naming ceremony that can also be held on the eighth day or on another date, usually during the first year of life. Those ceremonies take place at home or in the synagogue. Please contact us with any questions and to ask him to participate with you at this important first step in your Jewish child’s life.

Bar & Bat Mitzvah

B’nai Mitzvah is a beautiful tradition – a link in the chain from our past to our future, ensuring the continuity of Judaism. Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an exciting time in the lives of our members and the life of our community. When our students become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, they are, in essence, saying that they are ready to take on the responsibilities of being a knowledgeable, responsible Jew. This is truly a moment to celebrate. At B’nai Shalom, we revel in the fact that another young person has taken on our traditions and teachings for him/herself.

While the students receive the date of the bar/bat mitzvah service during school, their formal preparation begins well in advance. This preparation process is as meaningful an experience as the service itself. Our students study diligently with their teacher and the cantor prior to their service, studying principally their Torah and Haftorah portions.

We are a community blessed with an abundance of young people becoming B’nai Mitzvah. It is through these shared lifecycle events that B’nai Shalom is strengthened as a synagogue and as a community. Visit the B'nai Mitzvah page for more information.


“I am my beloved’s and my beloved’s is mine.”

The staff of B’nai Shalom will work closely with wedding couples in the months prior to their weddings to help them prepare for a lifetime of Jewish marriage. Through our conversations we fashion a Jewish wedding ceremony that is personal, warm and a celebration of the love between partners. Each couple is unique so no ceremony is “one size fits all.”

We are an inclusive congregation. Our Cantor participates in weddings for couples who want to create a Jewish home, including those in same-gender and interfaith partnerships.

Illness & Healing

At B’nai Shalom we support our members during times of illness through the supportive pastoral care and counseling of our rabbi and the overall caring as a congregation. If you or a family member contacts the synagogue to let us know you are in the hospital, the rabbi or a friend will visit you there. If you are home-bound because of illness, you will receive a visit at home. After surgery or during chronic illness, you will receive calls from members of our congregation.

Death, Funerals, and Mourning

To spare families the anguish caused by delay, Jewish tradition permits a person to make funeral arrangements on the Sabbath and Festival afternoons, even on Rosh Hashanah, though not on Yom Kippur. Funerals are not held on the Sabbath, on Festivals (Shavuot, and the first and last days of Sukkot, and Pesach), or on the Days of Awe.

The rabbi will meet with the family to review the service and to discuss the eulogies. It is appropriate that those who knew a loved one in life should speak in his or her honor. The role of the rabbi is to speak on behalf of those who feel they cannot do so. Tradition teaches us that we may not speak ill of the dead. By the same token, we do not exaggerate their merits.

In addition to the eulogy, the service (which may take place in the synagogue or in a chapel and partly at the graveside, or entirely at the graveside) generally includes a number of traditional and contemporary psalms, prayers and Kaddish. There is room for individual preferences, upon consultation with the leadership.


B’nai Shalom is fortunate to be one of a few synagogues that owns its own cemetery. After a large amount of work and a generous donations, our cemetery is now able to accommodate the needs of our diverse temple membership. There is a section of the cemetery that is exclusively for those who are of the Jewish faith and a section that is for interfaith families.

Although one doesn’t have to be Jewish to be buried in our cemetery, one must be buried by a Rabbi and no other clergy. Please note that no religious symbols or artifacts except those of the Jewish faith may be on the gravesite or stone.