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Life Cycle Events

A familiar text from the book of Ecclesiastics reminds us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” At Beth Tikvah Congregation, our caring and dedicated clergy look forward to helping you and your family mark, celebrate, and feel the sanctity of your simchas (joyous moments in life) and they are committed to helping you cope and respond in challenging times. Likewise, your friends and fellow congregants of Beth Tikvah Congregation cannot wait to rejoice with you in happy times, and want to be there for you in times of trouble.

If you know you will soon experience a happy event (such as the birth of a child, a Bar Mitzvah, wedding, or wedding anniversary), or if you are currently facing a hardship in life (such as a loss, illness, loss of job or any other sorrow or disappointment), please email Beth Tikvah, or call 847-885-4545, so that we can have one of our clergy connect with you.

Below, please find a list of some of the more common life cycle events marked at Beth Tikvah Congregation.

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Welcoming Children

With each child, the world begins anew.

Beth Tikvah Congregation wishes you and your family a Mazel Tov/Congratulations on the birth of your child(ren). In Jewish tradition there are wonderful ways to celebrate the arrival of your baby including a brit milah/brit bat. Click these links to learn more about brit milah/brit bat.

Both parents do not need to be Jewish in order to have this life cycle event but these rituals involve entering into a covenant with God and the Jewish people for the child and thus committing to raising the child as a Jew. You can contact our clergy about arranging for such a ceremony: advance notice is ideal so connecting with our rabbi before the birth to plan the event is recommended. You can also call the office at (847)885-4545 to discuss with our clergy.

Both of the ceremonies above include giving a child their Jewish name, but many families chose as well or instead to do a baby-naming ceremony in their home or at synagogue during our Friday night services. Beth Tikvah welcomes such baby-namings as part of our Shabbat worship. Please email our rabbi or call the synagogue office(847)885-4545 to arrange for this ceremony if you are interested.

Click baby-namings to learn more about this ceremony.


Consecration is a sacred ceremony for students entering kindergarten, marking and celebrating the beginning of their formal Jewish education. At Beth Tikvah Congregation, this short ceremony usually takes place in the early fall, sometimes before our family Sukkot or evening Simchat Torah service or on a designated Friday night around the time of the beginning of religious school. During the ceremony, the children are blessed by the clergy, given a certificate, and a miniature Torah or other item to remember this happy event.

Learn more about Consecration


B’Mitzvah refers to becoming one who accepts the sacred obligations of Judaism. At the age of 13, children become, in the eyes of the Jewish community, “adults.” They are considered adults in the sense that they are expected to take on some of the Jewish responsibilities of adulthood. A B’Mitzvah is a ceremony and rite of passage held at the synagogue where a B’Mitzvah candidate leads the community in prayer, reads from the Torah and Haftarah, and offers an interpretation of their Torah portion.

While we refer generally to this special occasion as B’Mitzvah, families are encouraged by the clergy to designate their own preferred name for their event from many different choices. Beth Tikvah Congregation is an inclusive community made up of individuals from a variety of Jewish traditions, and their families, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identification or sexual orientation. B’Mitzvah refers to both the individual and the service itself as outlined above. A variety of names however may be used by specific individuals, such as Bat Mitzvah, Bar Mitzvah, B’rit Mitzvah, B’nei Mitzvah, or They Mitzvah. We encourage every individual to enter this important stage of their Jewish life in their own unique way.

Learn more about B’Mitzvahs

At Beth Tikvah Congregation, our clergy are devoted to making the B’Mitzvah experience personalized, positive and meaningful to each student and their family. Much time and attention is given to each student, well in advance of their big day, to make sure that they are not only properly prepared to successfully lead a service, but that they are prepared to lead a successful Jewish life. (Not that this ceremony marks the end of religious school for students! Most of our students continue on in Religious School through high school graduation.) What makes B’Mitzvah ceremonies special at Beth Tikvah Congregation, is attention given to students by clergy, the opportunity to lead the majority of the service, the openness and inclusion of interfaith families, and the support that is given to students by their classmates and parents and much of the Beth Tikvah Congregational Community. We look forward to celebrating this important milestone with you and your family. We hope that the B’Mitzvah process and experience enables you and your family to connect on a deeper level with each other, with the community and with Judaism, and that it is a meaningful, exciting and joyous occasion.

B’Mitzvah resources for those already enrolled in the program:

  • B’Mitzvah Handbook
  • Recordings of the Torah Blessings will be provided as needed


Confirmation is a ceremony and teen-led Shabbat service that takes place at the end of tenth grade for students who have completed a year of weekly study with our rabbi. Each year tenth graders, as a class, generate a list of questions about being Jewish and life in general that they would like to discuss over the course of the year and much of the year class time is devoted to addressing these questions. Examples of the kind of issues discussed include God and prayer, the truth of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity, anti Semitism, Jewish views of the Afterlife, Israel and the future of Judaism. In addition to lively discussions in class, confirmation students have the opportunity to travel to Washington. DC as a group and participate in a L’taken Seminar, an intense four day experience focused on Jewish values and teaching teens about making a difference in the world.

High School Graduation

At Beth Tikvah Congregation, we are proud to say that most of our Religious School students elect to continue their Jewish education at BTC through High School graduation. At the end of each academic year, in a special ceremony, our High School graduates are recognized and blessed by our clergy and congregation as they look forward to the next stage of their lives.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah

Who says there aren’t second chances in life? If you are Jewish and for whatever reason you missed the opportunity to have a B'Mitzvah as a thirteen year old, it is not too late to be called to the Torah as an adult!

While it is true that Jewish tradition teaches that whether or not you had an actual B'Mitzvah ceremony one automatically (at age 13) becomes a B'nai Mitzvah (a child of the commandments), it is also true that if you missed out on having a ceremony, well, you missed out! And, for those at Beth Tikvah Congregation who became “B'nai Mitzvah” as adults, the experience for them is extremely meaningful.

So, if you are up for a new adventure in your life…if you would like to expand and fortify your knowledge of Judaism and would like to add a bit more joy, learning, spirituality, and connectedness to others…this opportunity may be for you!

Now, you may be wondering how much study, practice and class time will be involved and you may be asking yourself how you can become a B'nai Mitzvah when you are unable at this time to read Hebrew. These are important questions and ones that we will need to discuss together once we determine who and how many people would like to give such a program a try.


How very exciting that you are considering taking another step forward on your spiritual journey! If you are interested in exploring Judaism, our clergy would welcome a private, non-challenging conversation with you. Judaism is a non-proselytizing religion and our primary concern is that you find a spiritual connection and spiritual home that is right for you. If, after exploring and experiencing Judaism, you decide that it is not what you are looking for, our hope is that the journey itself will enhance your life going forward and that you will continue your search with new ideas, new questions to ask and another perspective to consider. Those who decide to pursue a path to conversion work with our rabbi to determine an appropriate conversion course of study and experience. Typically Jews by Choice, spend a year studying Judaism, taking classes such as an Introduction to Judaism, attending Shabbat and Jewish holiday services, having regular check-ins with our rabbi, and immersing oneself in a ritual bath called a mikvah. The specific amount of time and education required for preparation, it should be noted, varies from person to person.

There are two parts to the conversion ceremony. The first, as mentioned, involves immersion in a mikvah, ritual bath shortly after meeting with a Beit Din, a small group of clergy who will ask questions to determine whether or not a candidate is ready to become a Jew. The second part of the ceremony usually takes place at Friday night Shabbat Services on the week of the conversion. At this time the Jew By Choice is called before the congregation to receive a special blessing from the rabbi as well as a Hebrew name and is formally welcomed and embraced by our community.

Learn more about conversion to Judaism

Gender Transition and Coming Out

At Beth Tikvah we celebrate people becoming their most authentic selves. If you would like to have a ceremony celebrating your coming out or your gender transition and/or changing your name to align with your authentic gender, please connect with our clergy to discuss your options. Some of these options include a special aliyah using affirming language, a name-change ceremony, a trip to the mikveh or receiving a blessing of recognition but they are happy to work with you to create a ritual that will honor your journey.

Learn more about Gender Affirmation and Name Change ceremonies


Engaged? About to be married?!!! Mazel Tov!!! Congratulations! Whether you and your fiancé are both Jewish, you are part of an interfaith couple looking to have a Jewish wedding, or if you are a same-sex couple looking to start your lives together, our clergy at Beth Tikvah Congregation would be thrilled to meet with you and help you plan a sacred ceremony that is the perfect fit for you.  While meeting with our clergy, you will receive guidance about creating a successful wedding in the short term and a successful marriage in the long run. It is possible to hold your wedding ceremony and/or reception at Beth Tikvah Congregation, and/or have an aufruf ceremony before your wedding. Aufruf An aufruf is a short ceremony, usually held on Friday Nights at Beth Tikvah Congregation, as part of our Shabbat Service, where a couple who is about to be married is called forward and blessed and celebrated by the clergy and congregation. Such joyous occasions often involve giving the couple an aliyah - the chance to make a blessing before and after the reading of the Torah - if they choose to do so. On occasion, once a couple is blessed by our clergy soft candy is gently tossed toward the couple by friends and family as the congregation sings "siman tov u-mazal tov,” a song wishing the couple good luck. The Aurfruf ceremony is open to couples where both partners are Jewish, as well as to interfaith couples - whether or not a Beth Tikvah Congregation clergy member will be officiating at the actual wedding ceremony.

Wedding Anniversary

If you are celebrating an upcoming wedding anniversary and you would like to be called to the bimah to receive a special blessing, or if you would like to make the Aliyah blessing before and after the Torah is read, or if you would like to light candles, recite Kiddush, or sponsor an evening oneg (dessert reception following the service), please contact us! We would be happy to have you.


While our hope is that difficulties in marriages can be resolved, and peace and harmony can be restored, this is not always possible. In the event that you are in the midst of a divorce, or if you are already legally civilly divorced but would like to receive a “get” (a document of a religious divorce), or if you would like to have a short, private ceremony marking the end of your marriage, please contact us. We would be honored to help you.

Learn more about Jewish Divorce rituals and procedures

Illness & Difficult Times

If You Need Help

Our clergy want to connect with all our members who are in need. Please contact us if you have a family member - or know of someone - who has suffered a loss, is ill, is in the hospital, or just needs some extra care. With the new privacy laws in effect, information is not released by hospitals about their patients, even to clergy.

If Someone You Know Needs Help

We are here to help, but we can only help if we know help is needed. By the simple act of contacting us, you will be performing a tremendous mitzvah (sacred act). Please email Beth Tikvah, or call 847-885-4545 to let us know how we can help. Please let us know so that we can respond.

Your reaching out to us can make a big difference in someone's life; it may be the only way we know if one of our members needs us. Please include the person's full name (and member's name, if the person is a relative of a member), health care facility and length of stay if applicable, and your relationship to the person/member.

If You Can Help Others

In addition to the efforts of our clergy, the Ruth G. Damlich Caring Committee supports our Beth Tikvah congregants in many ways. Helping at a shiva, providing meals, giving rides, and visiting the sick are only a few of the things we do to help. We still need more help to keep providing these services. Perhaps a meal or two? A visit? A phone call? For more information, contact our Caring Committee Chairs. You care. Beth Tikvah cares.

Death and Bereavement

Immediate Needs

In the event of a death, please contact our Rabbi or the Beth Tikvah Office at 847-885-4545 so that we may offer help and support to you at this difficult time. In addition, you may want to contact Irwin Goldman of Goldman Funeral Group, Inc at 847-478-1600. Our clergy meet with bereaving families and individuals, and officiate at funerals, shivah minyans (a short service at home), and unveilings (dedication of graveside marker a year after death). In addition to the comfort and guidance offered by our clergy, members of our Caring Committee, upon request, offer assistance at the house of mourning whenever possible.

Beth Tikvah Congregation Funeral Plan

Death and funerals are topics most of us do not want to discuss until the need is upon us. While death is a natural part of the human life cycle, it is a stressful time for the family. Beth Tikvah Congregation seeks to assist our membership during these times through a number of benefits for eligible family members. Beth Tikvah Congregation has selected a special, Standard Funeral Package, that eliminates the anxiety of making decisions at a very difficult time. We can also accommodate those who wish to make custom arrangements, or those who have pre arrangements with a particular funeral home. Fees vary based on level of service provided. When a death occurs, the Rabbi should be notified as soon as practical via the Temple office or, if appropriate, at his home. If the Rabbi is out of town or the Temple office is closed, contact either the Cantorial Leader , President, Executive Vice President, or  Chair of the Ritual Committee, who will notify the Rabbi or the covering Clergy.

Eligible Family Members

Who is eligible for a funeral service conducted at Beth Tikvah Congregation? A Jewish Beth Tikvah member or a dependent child living at home. Jewish family members - specifically those related to the member as a parent, non-dependent child or spouse of a child (either living at home or in a different household). 

Learn more about Jewish views and practices on death

Tue, June 25 2024 19 Sivan 5784