When a child is born we rejoice as we welcome him or her into the loving circle of family, community, and people. In formal religious terms, the ceremony marks the entry of the child into the covenant between God and the Jewish people. The Hebrew word "Brit/Bris" is the ceremony where a young boy is named, as he is circumcised and brought into this covenant – typically on the eighth day counting from the day of birth. For girls, tradition requires only a ritual of words and blessings, and the timing varies, as some families choose to name their daughters on the eighth or thirtieth day after birth, and some much later, both for boys and girls. The essence of the covenant idea is that the relationship between God and the Jewish people is a sacred pact, that is characterized by terms of endearment—love and mutual responsibility. That is seen as the model for all committed and loving relationships, between married partners as well as between a child and his or her parents. Rabbi Kudan can put you in touch with a Mohel or Mohelet (ritual circumciser),help the parents understand the ceremony, and co-officiate, along with the Mohel. Rabbi Kudan and the Union for Reform Judaism maintain a list of board certified physicians who are also versed in the rituals of circumcision.
Baby Naming/Simchat Bat – The Covenant Ceremony for Girls
We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn daughter with a ceremony that brings her into the covenant, and confers upon her a Hebrew name. Rabbi Kudan can help you think through and design this ceremony, which can take place either at home, or at the synagogue.
See Rabbi Kudan’s blog on baby namings….Why should I have a baby naming? If my child is five years old, is it too late to have a baby naming ceremony?
In Reform Judaism, boys and girls become Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the age of 13. This is considered an appropriate time for a young person to be called to the Torah in recognition of having reached a significant moment in one’s study of Judaism, and a time to show one’s commitment to carrying forward the traditions as a young adult. We rejoice as a community as the young person leads the worship service, reads from and interprets the Torah, and sets an example as a leader in accomplishing Mitzvot – good deeds as commanded by our tradition.. Click here for more information
The marriage ceremony takes place when a couple reach the stage in their relationship when they are ready to express their mutual commitment and love in the presence of family and friends. In Judaism this ceremony is called "Kiddushin" – from the word "Kadosh" which means holiness and also connotes dedication and intentionality in the marriage bond. Rabbi Kudan is eager to help couples prepare for this sacred and joyous occasion.
Our Temple is dedicated to helping our members through their time of mourning and loss. Jewish tradition offers many customs which allow the community to comfort the mourners and to remember our departed congregants and their dear ones. In addition to the traditional funeral arrangements, we routinely provide Shivah minyans (gatherings at the house of mourning for religious services during the week of the funeral,) as well as other appropriate observances on the anniversary of the death. We hold an annual memorial service at our Temple cemetery during the week of Rosh HaShanah, and Yizkor Services at the end of the three festivals, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot, as well as at Yom Kippur. We have memorial plaques available for purchase through the Temple office, as well as cemetery plots. Members are entitled to the privilege of a funeral service in the sanctuary. Rabbi Kudan is available to consult on the customs and rituals of Jewish mourning practices.
Click here for information about our Temple Beth Shalom Memorial Park in Danvers and our Lebanon Tifereth Israel Cemetery in Peabody