Sign In Forgot Password

Lifecycle

Our sense of community is deepened through sharing rites of passage. The information that follows will help you plan your events. Please notify the office about births, Simchahs, and life events in your family. The Beth Shalom Mitzvah Corps is ready to help families in times of joy and in times of sadness. We announce news about congregants at Shabbat services in order to foster communal support for members.

Births

The office has a Hebrew name book for parents mulling over names for new arrivals. Our Rabbis work with prospective parents and families to plan for Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) or Simchat Bat (covenanting ceremonies for daughters) and baby namings.  Let us know if you're expecting a new addition, and we'd love to work with you to welcome them to the world and to the Jewish people!

Brit Milah/Pidyon Haben – (Ceremonies for Boys)

In Seattle, there are several mohalim (those trained and sanctioned to perform ritual circumcision); please contact the  Lifecycle Coordinator for a list of approved mohalim with whom we regularly work and recommend.  Our rabbis would also be honored to participate in the Brit Milah by announcing the name of the child and/or giving a D’var Torah at the ceremony. It is important that you coordinate scheduling with the Senior or Associate Rabbi and the mohel before announcing the time to family and friends. Our Rabbis  (and the mohel) cannot guarantee their presence if they are not consulted before the time is set. 

The Mitzvah of Pidyon Haben is fulfilled by redeeming a first born son 30 days after his birth. Parents should consult one of the rabbis to ascertain whether the Mitzvah applies to them as there are several exemptions and exceptions.

Baby Namings and Brit Bat/Simchat Bat – (Ceremonies for Girls)

Traditionally, the birth of a girl was celebrated when her father came to the synagogue on the Shabbat immediately after the birth and announced the child’s Hebrew name with an aliyah during the Torah service.  At Beth Shalom, we highly encourage both parents to be present at the naming (and of course, extended family and friends are welcome, too!). The timing of the naming is flexible, and if the naming is on Shabbat is customary for the family or extended family to sponsor the Kiddush in honor of the baby and parents. Please schedule your baby naming through the Lifecycle Coordinator.

Instead of giving a name with an aliyah during the Torah service, another custom has emerged for families to have a covenanting ceremony for daughters known as a Simchat Bat (joy of a daughter) or Brit Bat (covenant of a daughter). The Simchat Bat or Brit Bat consists of a series of blessings and prayers that welcome the daughter into the covenant of the Jewish people.  Our Rabbis are available to help plan and officiate at these ceremonies.

Marriage

Both the Senior and Associate Rabbis provide premarital counseling for engaged couples and assistance in planning Jewish wedding ceremonies for straight and same sex couples. Please contact the Lifecycle Coordinator to set appointments. The congregation owns both a fixed and a portable chuppah, which may be rented through the synagogue office. Please speak with the rabbis to learn more about Sheva B’rachot (wedding feasts) in the days following the ceremony. We encourage couples to have a special Aliyah prior to their marriage, called an Aufruf. Please contact the Lifecycle Coordinator to schedule an Aufruf.

Conversion

Beth Shalom as a community welcomes people who seek to convert to Judaism through the framework of the Conservative movement. Conversion is a highly individualized process that involves intensive study and involvement in the life of the synagogue. Prospective converts learn under the guidance of the Senior or Associate Rabbi and usually enroll in the Living Judaism program. This course serves as both an introduction to Judaism for Jews looking to deepen their knowledge, non-Jewish partners of Jews who are interested in being supportive but not necessarily converting themselves, and as the required course for our conversion students. The period of study preceding conversion also includes the Shabbat Learners’ Minyan, learning Hebrew (through one of our Hebrew classes or elsewhere), mentorship with an individual or family within the Beth Shalom community, synagogue ritual, home observance, and getting involved with other aspects of congregational life (holidays, life-cycle events, social programming, etc.).  Interesting in converting with us or learning more about the conversion process at Beth Shalom?  Please fill out this interest form and we'll be in touch with you. Looking for resources to deepen your learning about Jewish life? Check out this document.  

Divorce

The Senior and Assistant Rabbi are available to provide short-term counseling for couples undergoing severe marital stress. They also serve as a shaliach (representative) of the Rabbinical Assembly Beit Din (religious court), which arranges for gittin (Jewish divorce documents). Conservative Jewish law requires that every divorcing couple where both partners are Jewish obtain a get (Jewish divorce document). Please call  or email the Lifecycle Coordinator if you need support in this sensitive area.

Illness

Through the Mitzvah Corps, which is organized and staffed by congregants, Beth Shalom is able to help members who are ill and their families. The Mitzvah Corps will send members to visit the hospital, cook meals, and provide other support for families in need. Please contact the Mitzvah Corps chair and/or the Rabbi’s Assistant.

It is the custom of our congregation to announce the names of sick members and relatives during a mi sheberach lecholim (prayer for those who are ill) the Torah service.  Please contact Marjie Cogan if you wish to have your loved one included on the list for Refuah Shlemah (prayer for complete recovery) found in the Shabbat announcement sheet.

Death and Mourning

In the case of a death in the family, please first contact the Seattle Jewish Chapel at (206) 721-0970. They will help with arrangements for your loved one. The next step is to immediately contact Rabbi Borodin or Rabbi Rose. Our rabbis will help you in the process that follows. Please call the CBS office, (206) 524-0075 for instructions on how to reach our rabbis in an emergency.

Congregation Beth Shalom is prepared to provide comfort and support during times of grief and mourning. The senior or associate rabbi should be informed immediately of a death in the family, and they will give you timely guidance on funeral arrangements and are available to provide comfort and solace during difficult times. The rabbis will also coordinate with the Mitzvah Corps to help with Shiva Minyanim and condolence meals.

Beth Shalom has prepared a bereavement booklet to help mourners through the grieving process. It includes a guide to every step of the Jewish traditions surrounding death and mourning. Click here to download a PDF of the booklet, or contact the Front Office if you would like a paper copy.

The congregation will assist at many points in the mourning process: informing others, funeral attendance, condolence meals, and Shiva Minyanim. For Shiva Minyanim, the office has a supply of Shiva candles, books on mourning, and a supply of Siddurim. For information on who to contact when a death occurs or for more information about Beit Shalom Cemetery, please see our cemetery page.

A bequest is an expression of your wishes embedded in a will or trust that direct how your assets will be distributed upon death. Without such a document, the state will decide who will receive your estate assets. With appropriate planning, a bequest can provide very attractive tax benefits to the donor during his/her lifetime, while reducing or eliminating levies against his/her estate after death.

For more information on establishing a bequest, please see our Life and Legacy page, or contact the Executive Director.

Memorial Contributions

Honoring a loved one through a direct contribution or donation is also common. If you would like to make such a gift, please contact the Front Office for more information on how to make that happen or visit our donation page.

Life Cycle Events for Non-Members

The senior and associate rabbis are sometimes available to officiate at the funerals, birth ceremonies, and weddings of people who are not members of Congregation Beth Shalom. If their schedule will not permit them to officiate, they will gladly refer nonmembers to a colleague. When one of the Beth Shalom rabbis does officiate, the synagogue charges a nonmember fee for their services.

Fri, May 27 2022 26 Iyyar 5782