Life Cycle Events
Life cycle events punctuate the rhythms of Jewish life at a synagogue. Births, bris, simchat bat, b’n’ai’ mitzvah and kevurah trace a path from infancy to adulthood.
Judaism provides uplifting and powerful rituals to mark these events as individuals, families and as a community. They connect us to the traditions that have shaped our lives and keep us connected to the communities that have nurtured us, honoring those who came before and inspiring our children and grandchildren.
At Temple Har Zion, we follow tradition while also incorporating new ideas into our worship services to create a meaningful experience for our community. Family members are an important part of marking these milestones, regardless of religious background, sharing the celebration of sacred events with the people they love.
Clergy and staff are committed to providing guidance and support for members as they experience these important transitions in their lives. If you’re interested in hosting a life cycle event at Temple Har Zion, please email our clergy.
(Brit milah/Simchat bat)
We help you welcome children into the covenant of Israel through brit milah (bris) or simchat bat (naming) ceremonies held at the synagogue or your home. Clergy can co-officiate with (and recommend) a mohel or mohelet for brit milah. They regularly add prayers and readings to include grandparents and other family members.
We celebrate this transformative moment in our children’s lives as they transition from childhood to young adulthood and are called to the Torah for the first time. After years of study at the religious school and months of preparation with clergy, the temple community celebrates our children in this rite of passage.
Students shine at the Thursday morning minyan before their big Shabbat, where they practice their Torah reading and have their first Aliyah in an intimate setting. They radiate joy and accomplishment when they chant the haftarah and lead prayers on Shabbat morning.
Clergy adapt the study to the needs of each student and provide months of one-on-one preparation. On the day of the b’nai mitzvah, the congregation welcomes family and friends to participate in the ceremony on the bimah, regardless of religious background. Following Conservative Jewish law, children of a mother who is not Jewish must undergo a ritual conversion before their B’nai Mitzvah. Our clergy will ensure that children have a beautiful and meaningful conversion experience that fits where they are in their Jewish journey. To learn more, click here for our B’nai Mitzvah Guide.
Confirmation is a newer Jewish ritual that marks a teenager’s continued interest and engagement with our tradition. For two years after their b’nai mitzvah, confirmation students study with the rabbi and Hebrew High teachers and develop a project to present to the congregation. Their commitment is celebrated with gifts and honors.
Marriage and the creation of a new home is a celebration for the kehillah/ community. Clergy works with couples to create a ceremony that fits their character and needs. They officiate at services in our sanctuary or at your chosen event space and are glad to provide counsel and help design a service guided by Conservative Judaism and your priorities. While Conservative Judaism allows clergy to officiate only marriages between two Jewish individuals, family members from other faith backgrounds may offer blessings at the signing of a ketubah (marriage contract) and stand next to the chuppah (marriage canopy) during the ceremony. For interfaith couples, clergy provides counsel and support.
Members celebrate joyous occasions such as anniversaries and aufrufs (before wedding celebrations) at the synagogue during Shabbat morning services. Clergy offer personalized blessings and staff helps arrange catered kosher meals in the community hall.
It is a mitzvah (bikkur cholim) to visit the ill. Jewish tradition teaches that it alleviates suffering and creates spiritual merit for the visitor. Clergy and members of the temple’s Caring committee visit members in the hospital and at home to offer support. Let us know if you would like a visit and would like us to include a name in our misheberach (public prayers for healing) on Shabbat morning by contacting our office via email.
End of Life
When our families suffer a loss, the congregation mobilizes to help. Clergy offer comfort and support to bereaved member families. The temple informs the community through a website announcement. Clergy and staff coordinate with funeral directors and families to plan funeral and unveiling services with respect to the wishes of the deceased and their families. Clergy officiate funerals in the Goldstine sanctuary, at a local chapel or at graveside. Temple Har Zion has plots available at a Jewish section of a local cemetery. The Caring committee helps coordinate Shivas and volunteers assist with food and cleanup. Clergy lead services and guide members through the Jewish grieving rites. Members may have their loved one named at the yahrzeit — yearly anniversary of the loved one’s passing — during services.