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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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Birth and Naming

If you are expecting a child soon, MAZAL TOV! Congratulations! In Jewish tradition there wonderful ways to celebrate the arrival of your baby.

If you are having a girl, there is a beautiful ceremony, called a Simchat Bat, where your daughter will be welcomed into the Covenant between God and the Jewish people, and where she will be given a Hebrew name (that you choose for her - with help from our clergy if you need it). Both parents do not have to be Jewish in order to have this ceremony, however there is an expectation that the child will not be raised in a religion other than Judaism.

Sometimes such ceremonies are held at Beth Tikvah Congregation as part of a Congregational Friday night Shabbat Service, and other times the ceremonies are held just for family and friends, either at BTC or at another location, such as a family member’s home. Often the short baby naming ceremonies are followed with lunch or snacks and refreshments as the guests celebrate the new child.

The timing for a girl’s baby naming is up to you, although most families have the ceremony during the first few months of life. If you are interested in having a Baby Naming for your daughter, please email Beth Tikvah, or call 847-885-4545, so that we can have one of our clergy connect with you.

Learn more about Baby Naming Ceremonies for girls

If you are having a boy, it is traditional for the child to be circumcised by a specialist called a mohel on the eighth day of life. The circumcision is referred to (in Hebrew) as Brit Milah, which means “covenant of circumcision.” When a child is circumcised, blessings are read before and after the short procedure and a boy is welcomed into the Covenant between God and the Jewish people and is given a Hebrew Name (that you choose for him—with help from our clergy if you need it). Both parents do not have to be Jewish in order to have this ceremony, however there is an expectation that the child will not be raised in a religion other than Judaism. In some cases, families for medical or other reasons elect to have a child circumcised in the hospital before the eighth day. If this is the case, you may still have a naming ceremony if you choose to do so. Following the Brit Milah ceremony it is customary to serve lunch, refreshments or snacks and guests continue to celebrate the child’s entrance into the covenant. Brit Milah ceremonies are performed at Beth Tivkah Congregation or at a family member’s home. A mohel, should be hired to perform the ceremony (our clergy can connect you with one if desired). Our clergy often are asked to officiate for the ceremony, reciting the prayers before and after the procedure and inviting family and friends to offer readings, blessings and songs for the occasion. If you interested in having a Brit Milah for your son, please email Beth Tikvah, or call 847-885-4545, so that we can have one of our clergy connect with you.

Learn more about Brit Milah

Consecration

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

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

To become a bar or bat Mitzvah literally means to “become a son or daughter of the commandments.” At the age of 13, boys and girls 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 Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a ceremony and rite of passage held at the synagogue where a boy or girl leads the community in prayer, reads from the Torah and Haftorah and offers an interpretation of his or her Torah portion. 

Learn more about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

At Beth Tikvah Congregation, our clergy are devoted to making the Bar or Bat Mitzvah experience personalized, positive and meaningful to each student and his or her family. Much time and attention is given to each student, well in advance of his or her big day to make sure that he or she is not only properly prepared to successfully lead a service, but that he or she is 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 Bar at Bat 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 Bar or Bat 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.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah resources for those already enrolled in the program:

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

Confirmation

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 Bar or Bat 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 Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah ceremony one automatically (at age 13) becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah (a son/daughter 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 “Bar/Bat 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 Bar or Bat 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.

Conversion

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

Wedding/Aufruf

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.

Divorce

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 phone call 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.

Learn more about conversion to Judaism

Death and Bereavement

Immediate Needs

In the event of a death, please contact Rabbi Tachman 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 Ilana Axel, 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). 

Beth Tikvah Funeral Plan

Learn more about Jewish views and practices on death

Sat, December 14 2019 16 Kislev 5780