Life Cycle: Sharing Life’s Passages in Community
Naming and Welcoming
We look forward to the opportunity to welcome children into the Jewish community and to give them a Hebrew or Yiddish name. Often the name carries the legacy and memory of a beloved relative, carried lovingly now into a new generation. The Rabbi is happy to provide names of mohalim for b’rit milah, traditional circumcision of male babies on the eighth day following the birth. First grade families create beautiful name plaques with our Family Educator which are presented at a Friday night service. At the service there is a beautiful naming ceremony for each first grader who had never been formally named. With the giving of Hebrew names, we joyfully proclaim and deepen our Jewish identity.
Bat and Bar Mitzvah
When a child reaches the age of 13, he or she is ready to lead us in prayer and song, chant from the Torah and give a D’var Torah in which they interpret the weekly Torah portion. At the age of 13, he or she is ready to proudly affirm their Jewishness in the presence of family, friends and community. Beginning in sixth grade, we have workshops for families who are preparing for this time of passage and celebration. Each child works privately with a tutor to prepare for the Shabbat morning when they will be called to the Torah. At the beginning of the sixth grade year, every student receives a booklet of Bar/Bat Mitzvah expectations to complete with his/her family's involvement by the end of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year (A Guide to Bat and Bar Mitzvah at Kerem Shalom). Each child is expected to do some kind of tzedaka project as they enter this age of mitzvot, taking responsibility for Jewish life and for tikkun olam, improving our world (For a list of suggested tzedaka projects, click here. For a list of mitzvot you can do every day as well as "Mitzvahs you can do to put God on your Guest List for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah," click here.) Each child is expected to complete seventh grade in our Religious School. They are welcome to continue their learning in our wonderful High School program.
We wish the couple and their families Mazel Tov! The entire community rejoices. We all look forward to the time when our children grow and mature into adulthood and enter loving and committed relationships. What a blessing to see children we’ve named and known for years stand under the chuppah as they begin this new chapter in their lives. We are fortunate to live in Massachusetts which recognizes the sanctity of marriage independent of sexual orientation. The Rabbi looks forward to talking with all couples about their wedding.
Death and Mourning
We are here for you in times of joy and in times of sorrow. The Rabbi is available to help you plan a funeral that is appropriate for your family. Some prefer the traditional path including Tahara, ritual washing and Shemira, staying with the body of the deceased until the funeral. Funerals may take place in the synagogue, at the funeral home or at the grave. Members of our community can assist and offer support at the shivah home. Our Kerem Shalom service booklet, Shir Ha-Lev Ba-Bayit/Song of the Heart at Home can be used for minyanim during shivah. As we share your joy we share your sadness as well.