Westchester Jewish Center

Marking Lifecycle Events at WJC

BabyWJC offers members the opportunity to hold significant lifecycle events at the shul, with the guidance and participation of our clergy. Below are brief descriptions of key events.

For more information on any of the occasions below, please contact Rabbi Segelman or Rabbi Yolkut through the synagogue office at 698-2960.

WJC makes every effort to accommodate its members' preferences within the bounds of halacha and the practices of egalitarian Conservative Jewry.

Brit Milah
Simchat Bat/Naming
Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Auf Ruf
Wedding
Funeral

Additional information can be found in the Ritual Library, on-line and in the Hendel Family Library.

Brit Milah: Brit Milah or ritual circumcision is the oldest ritual in Judaism, going back to Abraham. The ceremony takes place on the eighth day of a healthy male infant’s life. In addition to the removal of the foreskin of the penis, the baby also receives his Hebrew name. The brit milah may be delayed only for health reasons. A brit milah can be held at home or in the synagogue and is usually followed by a festive meal.

Simchat Bat/Naming: Traditionally, a baby girl is named in the synagogue during the first Torah reading following her birth. The baby’s father and/or mother are called to the Torah for an aliyah, after which a mi’sheh’bayrach is said, announcing the child’s name. In more recent years, more involved rituals have evolved to mark the birth of a baby girl. There is no standard procedure and no set date by which a ceremony must take place.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah: A boy becomes a bar mitzvah simply by turning 13. A girl becomes a bat mitzvah by turning 12. Nonetheless, the bar/bat mitzvah has evolved into a more ritualized ceremony, marked by the child being called to the Torah for an aliyah, on or after his or her 13th or 12th Hebrew birthday, respectively. Typically, the child will chant from the Torah and deliver a d’var Torah and if the bar/bat mitzvah is a Shabbat morning, chant the haftarah. WJC offers many options for bar/bat mitzvah including Shabbat morning, Shabbat mincha, Rosh Chodesh, etc. Guidelines for b’nei mitzvah at WJC can be found by clicking here.

Auf Ruf: The Shabbat before their wedding, the bride and groom are honored with an aliyah.

Wedding: The elements of a Jewish wedding are based both in custom and law but must include the following:
1. Birkat Erusin: betrothal blessings
2. The giving of a (solid) ring to the bride
3. Recitation of the marriage formula
4. Reading the Ketubah
5. Birkat Nisu’in (also known as Sheva Brachot): recitation of the seven additional blessings of marriage
6. The groom stepping on a glass to recall the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Other elements of the wedding day may vary depending on the religious outlook of the couple and the rabbi who is performing the ceremony. Planning a wedding can be a time of great joy as well as stress. The rabbis are available for consultation as well as pre-marital counseling.

Funeral: As with most other aspects of Jewish life, the days and weeks following a death follow prescribed rituals designed to help the mourner face the death of a loved one. Congregants are encouraged to contact Rabbi Segelman or Rabbi Monosov, Assistant Rabbi, at such time that guidance is needed. WJC has put together a “Guide to Ritual & Mourning” for the benefit of its members. Click here for a .pdf version of the guide. WJC also maintains its own cemetery in Glenville, CT. Click here for more information.