Life Cycle Celebrations

Jewish tradition is filled with many special ceremonies that enable us to mark the holiest moments in our lives. When a baby is born, a child is adopted, a child becomes either Bar or Bat Mitzvah, two people see in each other a soul mate, one decides to join the Jewish people, a couple celebrates a special anniversary and even the end of life are all times that Judaism responds with meaningful rituals, blessings, and prayers.

The clergy and staff at Temple Beth Shalom are here to support you during these important life moments. When your family is experiencing such a time, please feel free to contact either Rabbi Perlman (jperlman@tbsneedham.org), Rabbi Markley (tmarkley@tbsneedham.org), Rabbi Bressler (jbressler@tbsneedham.org).  They look forward to hearing from you.

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The miracle of birth for a baby boy traditionally takes place as the boy enters into the Jewish covenant with God and is given his Hebrew name. The ceremony of Brit Milah (literally “Covenant of Circumcision”) most often takes place either in the family’s home or at another location appropriate for the family. Brit Milah takes place on the 8th day of the baby’s life, unless there are any health reasons that would cause a delay. The Brit Milah is a ceremony performed by a “mohel” – someone specifically trained to perform the necessary medical procedure and offer the appropriate blessings. Many families also ask one of our rabbis to work with them and be present at the “bris” to help make the ceremony even more special for them.

It is during the ceremony of Brit Milah that baby boys officially receive their Hebrew name – one chosen by a parent or parents.

If you would like the name of a mohel with whom to work or have any questions about Brit Milah or a Naming Ceremony for a boy, please feel free to contact any of our rabbis.

Brit Milah: Celebrating the Birth of a Boy

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The birth of a baby girl is celebrated with a special ceremony of Naming - affirming her entry into the Jewish covenant. Though sometimes celebrated on the 8th day of life, this ceremony may take place on any day following the birth. There are two ways that our congregation celebrates the birth of baby girls. Some families prefer to have their daughter receive a special blessing during a Friday night (or sometimes a Shabbat morning) service. This moment is filled with joy as parent(s) “introduce” their daughter to the community. Other families prefer to work with one of our rabbis to create a personal ceremony that will be shared only amongst family and friends. This ceremony is often done either in the family’s home, at the temple, or in another location.

For more information, please feel free to contact any of our rabbis.

Brit Banot: Celebrating the Birth of a Girl

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A number of families in our community have add love to their family through the blessing of adoption. Jewish tradition offers ways of ritually celebrating our families and affirming the Jewish connection to covenant of the newest member of the family.

For more information, please feel free to contact any of our rabbis.

Adoption: Adding to a Family's Circle of Love

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When a child moves from childhood to young adulthood, Jewish tradition calls upon us to celebrate. “Bar or Bat Mitzvah” means a “son/daughter of deeds that are holy.” It is a deeply meaningful time that is celebrated through special participation in a service and beyond. 

We work closely with every family to make this milestone celebration accessible to every child. Our children help lead the service, share from the Torah and from a portion from the books of Prophets (a “Haftarah”).  They also teach by offering a personal Torah interpretation (“D’var Torah”) that is intended to make our ancient text speak to our lives today. Our services are filled with music, prayer, blessing, and joy.

At TBS we love working with all of our B’nei Mitzvah kids and their families. Our kids work with all of our rabbis, their tutors, and their teachers to prepare for a truly special day. All of us share in a wonderful partnership – working together to ensure two things: First, that the entire Bar/Bat Mitzvah journey (from the time when a date is selected up to the day of the service/celebration itself) is as meaningful as possible. And second, that this moment of Jewish affirmation is a healthy step towards a lifelong love for being Jewish.

If you have any questions about the journey towards becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah at TBS, please feel free to contact Sarah Damelin, the Director of our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Journey Program (sdamelin@tbsneedham.org).

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

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The wedding ceremony is one of the most beautiful in all of Jewish tradition. Our rabbis work very closely with couples during the months prior to the big day to help create a ceremony that is personal, warm, and a celebration of the love between the partners. 

For more information, please feel free to contact any of our rabbis.

Getting Married: Affirming Life Love

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At Temple Beth Shalom, many couples choose to celebrate a special wedding anniversary or a birthday by receiving blessing from the bima during a Shabbat evening service. 

If you are interested in receiving such a blessing, please contact any of our rabbis.

Celebrating a Special Anniversary or Birthday

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Rabbinic tradition teaches that an infinite God allows for many different paths of understanding and religious life. As such, Judaism affirms the importance of other communities of faith. 

At the same time, Judaism is a radiant and meaningful faith and community. And all those who find this spiritual path meaningful are invited to explore whether it is the right path for them. 

Our rabbis work closely with many students who are seriously considering whether or not Judaism is right for them. There is never any pressure. Rather, our rabbis see their role as spiritual guides working to help those “in search” find out whether the Jewish community and covenant resonate for them. 

There are also numerous “Introduction to Judaism” and “Taste of Judaism” classes that are offered throughout the year in Boston area. 


For more information, please feel free to contact any of our rabbis.

Coversion to Judaism: Discovering a New Faith Path

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In the shadow of loss, Jewish tradition and community reach out to us to offer comfort.

As a member of the Temple Beth Shalom community, should you experience a loss, please call the Temple office (781-444-0077) and someone will help you reach one of our rabbis.  If the Temple office happens to be closed, please leave a message on the “Clergy Emergency Extension.”  One of our rabbis will contact you as soon as possible.

If you are anticipating a loss or have experienced a loss, whether or not any of our rabbis will be with you to officiate a service, please let us know, as we wish to be supportive during this difficult time.
Our Temple Beth Shalom community also reaches out to all of our families who experience a loss. Our congregational family will offer to be at your home for you during the time of the funeral, to lead shiva minyan services in your home or in the home of a loved one, and to bring meals for you and your family – both during shiva and, if necessary, beyond.

If you have any questions, or for more information, please contact any of our rabbis.

Funerals: Finding Comfort at a Time of Loss

Temple Beth Shalom

670 Highland Ave, Needham, MA 02494
781-444-0077

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