Life Cycle Events

One of the joys and privileges of being part of a synagogue community is having a central address where the milestone moments of our lives unfold—not only from one year to the next, but sometimes even from one generation to the next. Throughout its history, Temple Shir Tikva’s families have commemorated together these special times in the Jewish life cycle. These milestones recognize the power of Judaism to deepen our joys and soften our difficult times. They reinforce our sense of community and our link to the past, present and future. Ritual acts are Mitzvot: sanctifying our history, our ideas and uniting us in common practice.

Brit Milah & Brit Bat
Naming & Covenant Ceremonies

Every Jewish baby becomes part of an eternal covenant with the Jewish people and with God. The rituals surrounding birth involve the hopes and dreams of parents for their children as they celebrate the continuation of the Jewish people. At Shir Tikva, these ceremonies are available to members and non-members alike. Please contact the temple office for more information in anticipation of your baby’s arrival.

For Boys

Perhaps the oldest religious rite in Judaism for baby boys is the welcoming into the covenant of Abraham through circumcision and naming (Genesis 17:9-14). The surgical procedure is performed by a specialist called a mohel. Mohalim are specially trained in the physical and liturgical aspects of Brit Milah, which typically takes place on the eighth day of a child’s life. (The eighth day is considered so important in Jewish tradition that it overrides Shabbat and even Yom Kippur. It typically is delayed only when the baby’s health requires special consideration.) A Brit Milah may take place in the Temple or in the home. The Rabbis and Cantor have names and contact information for local mohalim upon request.

For Girls

Baby girls, of course, are equally part of the Covenant and modern rituals celebrating their arrival are joyful and beautiful. At Shir Tikva, baby naming ceremonies for girls (called Brit Bat) take place either at Shabbat services with our entire community or in the home. In the sanctuary, the ceremony involves traditional blessings of welcome in front of the open ark and the members of our community. Parents are invited to share the significance of the name by which they are blessing their newborn child. In the home, a similar ceremony unfolds, using the traditional symbols of light, wine, challah and honey.

Consecration

 Every year our community celebrates the Consecration of new students in our religious school. On a Friday night in the winter, we call our students up to the bimah and bless them beneath our community chuppah, dedicating them to the lifelong pursuit of Torah and Mitzvot. Each student receives a personal mini-Sefer Torah, a tube of honey to represent the Torah’s sweetness and some special gifts and blessings on behalf of their parents and our community. For more details regarding Consecration at Shir Tikva, visit our education section.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Temple Shir Tikva is one of the most meaningful and joyful expressions of our temple life. It is a milestone along the lifelong road of Jewish growth and learning; at Shir Tikva, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience is open to students who are members of our community and are actively engaged in our religious school. In fact, at Shir Tikva, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience is a process that unfolds over several years. Throughout 6th grade, our students engage in “Mitzvah Awareness Workshops,” the joys and responsibilities of Jewish living. Our students and families study Torah with our rabbis and prepare personal Mitzvah projects that explore the Jewish mandate to build a more loving, compassionate and peaceful world. On the day of the ceremony, students lead Shabbat morning services, chant from the week’s Torah and Haftarah portions and deliver a drash (a creative interpretation of the Torah portion). This is the culmination of many months of learning and preparation with our teachers, our Rabbis and our Cantor. Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah services take place on Shabbat mornings throughout the year. Like all religious services at Shir Tikva, these services are open to the public and to our entire community. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah experience at Shir Tikva is more fully explained within our education section.

Confirmation

Confirmation is yet another marker on the lifelong road of Jewish education. It is a celebration of our students who have completed 10th grade in Shir Tikva’s Youth Community, an educational year devoted to themes of Jewish engagement with moral dilemmas and controversial contemporary issues. It is an affirmation of their commitment to Jewish responsibility and Tikkun Olam. For more details regarding Confirmation at Shir Tikva, visit our education section.

Weddings & Marriage

We love weddings at Shir Tikva! A Jewish marriage is called Kiddushin, a sacred relationship marked by a commitment to a Jewish present and future. A wedding consecrates this relationship, as partners are united before God, their families and the Jewish community. The process of getting married includes a series of meetings with the Rabbi, a process for loving partners to discover themselves, one another and the Jewish traditions around love and sacred relationships. Jewish weddings can take place in the sanctuary at Temple Shir Tikva or in many other locales. Shir Tikva’s Rabbis and Cantor are available for the weddings of our members and their children. To begin planning your wedding, please contact the temple office. 

Deaths & Funerals

Jewish funeral practices allow the mourners to honor a life and receive comfort from their community. When you face the death of a loved one, there are many difficult decisions to be made and families are often in need of comfort, support and guidance. Our rabbis and cantor are here to assist and support you during this difficult time. When a family at Shir Tikva is sitting Shiva, we rally to be a community of compassion and comfort. Our volunteers provide a wide variety of essential services in a caring, gentle way. Our rabbis, cantor and ritual volunteers will lead services in a family’s home, giving the mourners an opportunity to recite the Kaddish in an environment of support and strength.

The Ritual Committee has prepared a booklet "Death, Mourning and Funeral Standards," now available in draft format. Your comments are welcome before the final booklet is published. 

 In the event of a death, please contact the temple immediately at our main number 508 358 9992.  If a death occurs when the office is closed, please follow the instructions on the temple's recorded message to reach our clergy directly.