Life Cycle Events

B’rit Mitzvah Program

At age thirteen, Jewish children automatically become a child of the Commandment. In ancient days, this marked the child’s entry into adulthood. Today, B’nai Mitzvah welcomes a young person into the community of adult Jews through the act of chanting from the Torah before the congregation, family and friends.

The term B’rit Mitzvah is a new term that Congregation Kol Ami is adopting to promote gender neutrality as we celebrate a child’s affirmation of their Jewish faith.

Our Religious School students learn Hebrew language, prayers, blessings and different parts of the Shabbat service over a course of years leading up to their B’nai/Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and also receive individualized attention from our clergy and a tutor in the year leading up to the ceremony. We encourage children to work to their full potential and to participate in the service in ways that suit their abilities, skills and interests. The result is that every child feels a great sense of accomplishment on the day of their B’nai/Bar/Bat Mitzvah and feels a deep connection to their Jewish heritage.

Weddings

The decision to share your life with a special partner is certainly reason to celebrate. Our rabbis are eager to share in your happiness and to discuss your thoughts about creating a Jewish ceremony that will honor both partners and their respective families and traditions of origin. Our rabbis officiate for all couples interested in locating themselves within the Jewish community.

Decisions about marriage and creating a meaningful, personal ceremony, can be both exciting and fraught with questions. To ease the process and provide some answers, our rabbis look forward to meeting with you and talking about your future as a couple.

If you are a Kol Ami member and would like to reach the clergy about your life cycle event, please contact Ritual and Event Coordinator Debbie Jeffreys. To explore our membership options, please contact Director of Community Engagement Ruth Scott.

Bereavement

When a loved one nears the end of life, the pending sense of loss can overwhelm. All the more so when death arrives. Our clergy want very much to be available to our congregants in these times of bereavement and invite you to be in touch with any questions you may have about the seemingly insurmountable challenges end-of-life issues can present. Our clergy provide support, compassion and counsel and officiating at funerals.

In concert with area funeral homes, our staff can provide you the resources needed to make your way through this transition, and one of our clergy would be honored to discuss officiating at funeral services or arranging for a shiva. Shiva services are led by our clergy or lay volunteers.

Brit Milah/Brit Bat

Welcoming a new member of the family is a profound experience. Our clergy would be honored to share in your happiness with the proper rituals and celebrations.

Tradition calls for us to circumcise our sons on the eighth day of life in a ritual called brit milah, the covenant of circumcision. During this ceremony, boys also take on their Hebrew names. Girls are welcomed and given their Hebrew names in a ceremony called brit bat, the covenant for a daughter. Naming ceremonies can be a private family event or take place at a Congregation Kol Ami Shabbat evening service.

Our clergy are readily available to meet with you before or after your child is born in order to discuss the details of the appropriate ritual to welcome your child, honor your family and link us all in the chain of Jewish tradition.

At Congregation Kol Ami, we honor the Reform movement’s position on Jewish identity: All children with at least one Jewish parent and who are raised and educated as Jews are considered to be fully Jewish.

Conversion

It is a careful, thoughtful decision to become a member of the Jewish community. Indeed, conversion can be one of the most profound transitions in a person’s life.

Following a period of introspection and an intense study of Judaism overseen by our clergy and sharing time as part of our congregation, an individual is warmly welcomed into the Jewish faith. That person’s acceptance of Judaism may be completed in an intimate family setting or in front of the congregation.

Choosing Judaism is a highly personal journey and is therefore not bound by a time frame; each course of study is customized to the candidate in question. For those who are curious about what this would involve or who wish to learn more about joining the Jewish People, our rabbis invite you to be in touch with them.