Life Cycle Rituals

From the moment we joyously welcome a new child into the world, we pledge our loving guidance and support with the following words: “K’shem shenichnas labrit, keyn yikaneis l’Torah, l’huppah, ul’ma-asim tovim — Just as this child has been entered into the covenant, so may s/he be entered into a life of torah learning, of family love and the performance of good deeds.”

And so we lay out a pathway through life, accompanied by rituals that carry us over thresholds of learning, growing, graduation, marriage and loss.  Buoyed by community and inspired by ritual, these life transitions are opportunities to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.  They help us consider what is precious to us and to convey our most deeply held values.

At Beth El, the community comes together to sing and to celebrate, to cry and to mourn.  Our sanctuary often rings with the sound of laughter, but is also a place where tears are treated with tender respect. At every milestone in our lives we search for God in our world, come to discover ourselves, and make meaning out of human existence

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When my nephew was 4 years old he came to visit and sat in services with me. After about an hour he whispered, "Aunt Susan, I can feel G-d here." I smiled, "Me too, Daniel, that's why I come here."
— Susan T