Brit Milah & Baby Naming – Beginning Your Baby’s Jewish Journey
At Temple Shalom, we celebrate with our families when they welcome a new baby into their home. Traditionally, a boy is welcomed into the covenant of the Jewish people on the 8th day of life, through the ceremony of brit milah or bris (circumcision), and it is not unusual for Temple Shalom’s clergy to join together with the mohel (ritual circumcisor) in co-officiating at this sacred moment. We have several mohelim who are well known in the Bayshore community and can provide contact information upon request.
It is very common to welcome our daughters through a special ritual as well. Though there are no prescribed time that a baby-naming is held, it can occur any time after the 8th day, and is generally observed within the baby’s first year of life. This can be done either as a special blessing and naming at Tempe during a Friday night or Saturday morning service or in a private ceremony at another time.
Consecration – The First Milestone
Consecration marks the beginning of a child’s formal Jewish education. We celebrate our youngest students’ entry into Religious School (Camp Shalom through 3rd Grade) on the occasion of Simchat Torah – the holiday on which we celebrate the Torah. Our children join in leading the congregation in the recitation of the Shema, are blessed by the clergy before the open ark and the Torah itself, and receive a miniature Torah of their very own. They have the opportunity to be blessed by the Confirmation students, and then dance with the Torah as the celebration continues with the reading of the sacred text as it is unscrolled throughout the sanctuary.
B’nai Mitzvah – Becoming an Adult in the Eyes of Judaism
Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a mile-stone in our journey of life. Torah (Study), Avodah (Prayer), and Gimmilut Chasadim (Acts of Lovingkindness), are stepping-stones towards the realization that it’s not the day that has the highest of importance, but the lessons we learn on the journey to get to that place. Our preparation for our journey in life does not begin nor end in the seventh grade. One might think of becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah as a rest stop, a place to share Torah and lead a group of people in prayer, as one becomes a part of a larger Jewish community.
Individual training with Rabbi Malinger and Cantor Carla and Cantor Zemel gives our students a unique opportunity to work closely with Jewish leaders that share the vision of the continuation of Judaism for generations to come. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah year of studies is, for us at Temple Shalom, one where students and their families can feel the comfort and joy in the journey of ‘becoming’ a Bar or Bat Mitzvah more than merely marking a single-day event.
Should you have any questions about that process, please reach out to Rabbi Malinger or Cantor Carla and Cantor Zemel.
Confirmation and Graduation – Engaging Jewish Experiences
Following Bar/Bat Mitzvah, our students have an opportunity to continue their formal Jewish education and become Confirmed in 10th grade and graduate Hebrew High in the 12th grade. The Confirmation ceremony has its origins in early 19th century in Germany, among early Reform Jews. It was created as an attempt to mark a young adult’s achievement from continued formal Jewish education, and included both boys and girls practically from its inception. Confirmation is historically and traditionally connected to the Festival of Shavuot, when we celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.
Graduation at Temple Shalom celebrates the achievement of formal Jewish education throughout one’s educational cycle. Students have completed two years Post-Confirmation, learning how Reform Judaism guides them in their life choices going forward as well as defining a meaningful Jewish identity for themselves. This ceremony generally takes place in the Sring.
Weddings – Blessing Relationships and Families
Rejoicing with two people making the sacred commitment to become lifetime partners is one of the highest mitzvot in Judaism. Our Temple Shalom clergy feel incredibly blessed when they have the opportunity to sign a ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) and stand under a chuppah(wedding canopy) with a loving couple at the moment they exchange rings and enter into the covenant of marriage. Prior to the wedding, our clergy spend time with every couple, discussing aspects of their relationship, exploring the Jewish wedding ceremony itself in great detail, learning about the rituals associated with the wedding, and designing a personal ceremony that will be meaningful to the couple as well as their family and friends. As part of our inclusive community, Temple Shalom clergy also rejoice in working with interfaith and same-sex couples.
End of Life – Guidance During a Time of Loss
Our Sages call the mitzvah of mourning chesed shel emet – the truest kindness – because our actions in these painful times show honor and love for the deceased. Rabbi Malinger and Cantor Zeiontz of Temple Shalom are here to support and guide families through every stage of facing death. From preparing for a funeral and sitting shiva to saying kaddish and observing yahrzeit (the anniversary of a death), we strive to share the rituals and teachings that will bring comfort and meaning to each unique family and loss.
Temple Shalom also offers a Bereavement Support Group for those suffering from a recent loss. For more information about this group, please contact the Temple office. Most importantly, our professional staff encourage our members to speak with them about end of life issues – whether planning for the future or mourning a recent or distant loss.