Jewish Milestones

Brit Milah / Bris

The Brit Milah is a religious ceremony that includes a surgical procedure. Its origin is the covenant between Abraham, the first Jew, and God and speaks to the historical special relationship we enjoy with God. It is conducted by a mohel, a highly trained practitioner and a religious Jew, so that technical and spiritual expertise are provided. Every male baby who is deemed healthy enough is brought into the covenant on the eighth day, including Shabbat. The meal following the service is deemed to be a seudah shel mitzvah, or a mitzvah meal, and catering is available in the synagogue so you can host the service and the seudah in the Temple. The Rabbi will be pleased to attend and to participate in the ceremony and the baby naming that is also part of the ceremony. The Rabbi can help you with finding a Hebrew name and can suggest a number of mohelim from which to choose.

Baby Naming for Girls

There are different customs about when to name a newborn daughter. In the past, the naming often took place on the first Sabbath after the birth. Today, more families wait a little while until mom is ready and the family can gather. Nevertheless, sooner is better than later, for in Judaism, until you have your name, there is a part of you that is incomplete. The naming can take place anytime the Torah is read, i.e. Saturday morning at the 9am service or weekdays on Monday or Thursday at 7.20. Both parents and the baby come up to the Torah for an aliyah and one parent chants the blessings. Afterwards, the Rabbi will give the family and the baby a blessing which involves naming the child. The Rabbi is available to help you with choosing an appropriate Hebrew name.

The cost of a baby naming is $180.00 for non-members. There is no fee for Temple Beth Am members.

Pidyon Haben

The pidyon haben is a ceremony performed thirty days after the birth of a first-born son. In antiquity, the first born belonged to God, and, in the case of a boy, he would become the priest of the family. With the establishment of an official priesthood, there was no need for a family priest, but the firstborn was still dedicated to God. So in the ceremony, the parents fulfill the mitzvah of redeeming their son from a Kohen for five silver coins. The requirement for a pidyon haben applies only when the birth is vaginal, the parents are not descendent of a Kohen or Levi father, and the mother has not had a miscarriage of a fetus older than 40 days.

Please contact the Rabbi to determine if a pidyon haben is required for your first-born son. As with the brit, the ceremony is followed by a seudah shel mitzvah.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah is the term used to describe the coming of age for a Jewish boy or girl. It is from this point on that he/she is responsible for keeping all the Jewish commandments on an adult basis. It is the beginning of assuming Torah responsibility ... not the end!

It is our practice to observe the Bar/Bat Mitzvah after the thirteenth Hebrew birthday. In our time, it has become a public ceremony, a religious experience, that one shares with family and friends. It is a serious and Holy experience that calls for the understanding of one's Jewishness, as well as a pledge to carry on our heritage. It is a time of pride for the parents, and of joy and celebration for all concerned.

As part of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process, your child will participate in Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah Date Fee of $200 (non-refundable) is payable when the date is assigned to confirm and hold the date for your child. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fee, which includes the Bar/Bat Mitzvah lessons, is $1,100. Half of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fee is due prior to the beginning of your child's tutoring. The balance of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fee is due three months prior to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, along with all other dues and fees.

For more information, refer to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guide.

Weddings

Temple Beth Am Members:

  • $200 for Sanctuary wedding; the fee covers the cost of maintenance
  • No fee for off-premise wedding; coordinated directly with the Rabbi

 

Non-Members:

  • $800 for Sanctuary wedding, including the fee for our Rabbi
  • If the reception is held in the synagogue with our caterer, the fee is $675
  • Off-premise wedding is directly coordinated with the Rabbi

Funerals

Please contact the Rabbi immediately upon the passing of a loved one. The Rabbi can advise you on arrangements and on shiva and be available for counseling and support to help you through this difficult time. The Temple has burial plots at two local cemeteries and they can be purchased at a significant member's discount to the at need fee of the same cemeteries.  There are no clergy fees for members and their children, but there is a fee for parents and other relatives who are not members. The Rabbi will also collect the information to alert the congregation of the loss and to arrange for yahrzeit notices to be sent in subsequent years.

TBA can help you arrange for shiva minyans at home by supplying books and a service leader.

For more information about arranging for a funeral and shiva, please see our Guide to Jewish Funeral Practice.

Special needs

Whether you are an interfaith family, a same sex family, or have other unique situations, the Rabbi is available to help guide you through with special attention to your needs. Don't hesitate to call him, he feels that these are some of the most important services he can render to the congregation.