The mitzvah of circumcision dates to our forefather Abraham. It is a sign of the covenant between God and the people of Israel and has been observed by Jewish communities since the dawn of our nation.
The B’rit Milah (covenant of circumcision) takes place on the eighth day of the baby boy’s life, unless the baby’s medical condition requires that the circumcision be postponed. This should be decided in consultation with the baby’s doctor and the Mohel (the person who performs the circumcision).
The ceremony is preceded by praying for the health and wellbeing of the baby, with the wish that he grow up to a life of Torah, mitzvot, and good deeds. Various honors are given, e.g., to carry the baby into the synagogue, to hold the baby during the circumcision, to hold the baby during the naming ceremony. The baby’s father recites the appropriate blessings prior to the circumcision.
Following the circumcision, the Rabbi recites the blessings for the occasion and announces the baby’s Hebrew name, as chosen by the parents. After the ceremony, the baby’s mother recites the “HaGomel” blessing, as an expression of gratitude to the Almighty.
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When your baby daughter is born, we invite you to celebrate the occasion with us at the Shul. In some communities, the ceremony for naming a baby girl is known as Simchat Bat—the joy of a daughter.
The Simchat Bat has been observed as a simple baby naming. The baby’s father is called to the Torah on a Shabbat morning following the baby’s birth. At the conclusion of the Aliyah, the Hazzan recites a special blessing, beginning with verses from the Song of Songs, and then announces the baby’s Hebrew name chosen by the parents. It is customary for the family to sponsor a kiddush after services in honor of the new baby, and to share their happiness with the community.
In recent years, the baby naming has been observed in more elaborate ways, depending on the wishes of the family. These ceremonies have taken place at home or in the synagogue, and have involved the recitation of Psalms and blessings, short talks by the parents, and words of congratulations by the Rabbi.
Parents of baby daughters should feel free to consult with the Rabbi to discuss the ceremony that would be most meaningful and joyous to them.
Upon reaching the age of 13 years and 1-day, Jewish boys become Bar Mitzvah i.e., responsible for observing the mitzvot. It is customary to mark this happy occasion at the synagogue.
On the weekday morning coinciding with when the boy has reached Bar Mitzvah age, he and his family attend morning services at which he dons Tefillin, reciting the blessing on Tefillin for the first time. Families often sponsor a celebratory breakfast following services.
On Shabbat morning, the Bar Mitzvah boy generally chants a portion of the Torah reading and/or the Haftarah. Training in preparation of these readings begins about a year in advance of the Bar Mitzvah Shabbat. Parents should contact the Rabbi when their son reaches the age of eleven ,to start discussing the Bar Mitzvah process. Often, the Bar Mitzvah boy will also prepare a short talk on his Torah portion that he will deliver during the Shabbat of his Bar Mitzvah. Many families choose to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah by sponsoring a Kiddush luncheon in honor of the Bar Mitzvah boy, immediately following synagogue services.
Upon reaching the age of 12 years and 1-day, Jewish girls become Bat Mitzvah i.e., responsible for observing the mitzvot. It is customary to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah ceremony on a date following the 12th birthday.
B’nai Israel offers a variety of creative frameworks for the Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Some girls choose to have a Bat Mitzvah ceremony on Shabbat morning, following regular synagogue services, at which the Bat Mitzvah girl reads and delivers a talk. Others choose to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah at a special ceremony held on Sunday morning. Many girls engage in a learning and or Mitzvah project around the time of their Bat Mitzvah, designed to prepare them for a life of devotion to Mitzvot.
Parents should contact the Rabbi when their daughter reaches the age of eleven, to start discussing the Bat Mitzvah process and the various available options that would be most meaningful to the Bat Mitzvah girl.
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Our main sanctuary and The Mishan Social Hall offer a memorable and special place for your wedding day. Weddings held at B’nai Israel are officiated by a member of our clergy and conducted in accordance with our beautiful ritual and tradition.
Weddings may be held in our Synagogue (maximum capacity 180) and the reception can be held in The Mishan Hall. Prospective brides and grooms should contact the Executive Director or Operations Manager of B’nai Israel to visit the synagogue, reserve a date, and determine whether they will be having their wedding reception in the synagogue facilities.
Once these details are tentatively set, the couple should make an appointment to meet with the Rabbi. No wedding date is confirmed at B’nai Israel until the couple has met with the Rabbi and has his approval. Couples are encouraged to discuss the wedding ceremony with the Rabbi when they meet with him.
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Many congregants sanctify the special occasions of life in the synagogue. Whether you are celebrating a birthday, honoring a beloved family member who has passed away, or hosting a private event of any kind, we hope you will consider hosting your event with us.
Men may wish to receive an Aliyah to the Torah to commemorate a birthday or anniversary, or to recite the HaGomel prayer of thanksgiving for recovery from illness or safe return from a long journey. Women may wish to participate in a women’s service and/or to recite the HaGomel blessing of Thanksgiving following services on a weekday or on Shabbat. Special times of life are frequently celebrated by sponsoring the Kiddush following Shabbat morning services.