Marriage

The Jewish wedding is more that two people celebrating and affirming their love, it is a reenactment of the covenant between God and Israel, an embracing by the entire Jewish community.

The traditional Hebrew word for marriage is kiddush. It is derived from the word for holy – and this describes quite accurately the Jewish attitude toward marriage.

It is in this tradition of holiness and sacred covenant that we are inspired to build together the Mishkan me-at – the miniature sanctuary – that the Jewish home should be, a place of safety, kindness, love and understanding. Of all the joyous occasions of Judaism, the heartiest Mazel Tov is reserved for the wedding.

For more information, contact Tracey by phone at (856) 489-0029×115.

At Temple Emanuel we are truly a family of families. We want to support our members through the wonderful simchas and celebrations in their lives, as well as through those times that feel better when surrounded by community. It is in this spirit that we describe the Jewish Life Cycle, its traditions, and how it is celebrated with your Temple Emanuel family.

Birth, Brit Milah and Baby Naming

The birth of a baby is perhaps the most joyous, beautiful and miraculous event in life. It is as if the parents, the family – in fact, the Jewish people everywhere – are bound together as one in celebration of the new life. It also marks the beginning of a Jewish journey for your child and the entire family and we look forward to sharing that special journey with you.

From selecting a Hebrew name, to planning a Baby Naming, from Parenting Programs to Tot Shabbat in our award winning Pre-School, our Rabbis, teachers and staff want to assist, guide and celebrate with you. Rabbi Jerry David and Rabbi Larry Sernovitz are always eager to speak to you about your new baby and welcoming your child in the Jewish tradtion.

The concept of Brit (Covenant) is central to Judaism. From Abraham and Sarah to our collective experience at Sinai, the theme of brit appears over and over again and has sustained our people. Our relationship with god and our family is one of partnership and relationship.

As your child enters the covenant, our family embraces your family as we grow together and build warm, rich and good Jewish memories.

Temple Emanuel offers mommy and baby programs in our pre-school. Contact Lyn Harley for more information.

Consecration on Simchat Torah

What could be more moving than to see your Kindergarten child on the bima, singing the Shema, receiving their own miniature Torah scroll and being blessed by the Rabbis!

Consecration marks the beginning of a child’s formal Jewish education, held on Simchat Torah, with the children leading the first hakafah (circling of the Sanctuary with Torah scrolls, flags and a lot of excitement and joy).

A formal Jewish Education can begin while your child is in pre-school or Kindergarten. ContactDr. Rena Alpert for information about the Religious School at Temple Emanuel.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Rabbi Jerome P. David
Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Lawrence R.Sernovitz
Rabbi

Cantor Neil Schnitzer

The most important life passage of Jewish childhood and adolescence is Bar Mitzvah for a boy and Bat Mitzvah for a girl. “Bar and Bat Mitzvah is about ritual maturity. It is about growing up as a Jew. It is about becoming a fuller member of the Jewish community. However, it is also about moral responsibility, about connecting to Torah, to community, to God.”

At Temple Emanuel, the actual celebration is preceded by years of learning and family involvement, by creative programming and the opportunity for our students and their families to interact and to get to know one another.

Please check out more about how we prepare a child for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah under the Worship tab – Bar/Bat Mitzvah on this website.

Confirmation on Shavuot

The Confirmation service at Temple Emanuel is one of the most beautiful, uplifting and meaningful of the entire year. Confirmation occurs during Shavuot in the students 10th grade year and recognizes the achievement of ten years of study and Temple involvement.

Confirmation students symbolically accept the Torah during the service, and lead the entire service themselves. The service begins with a formal processional, with students carrying long-stemmed roses, but the highlight of the service are the informal, personal reflections and reminiscences.

Confirmation focuses on a life-long commitment to Judaism and many of our students continue their Jewish studies in our Elite, 11th and 12th grade program.

Students enter the Confirmation Academy in 8th grade. One of our goals is for the students to visit Israel with our Rabbi in the 10th grade. Temple Emanuel proudly particpates in the Gift of Israel program.

To learn more about Confirmation, the Confirmation Academy or ELITE, contact Dr. Rena Alpert.

For more information, contact Cantor Neil Schnitzer.

Conversion

Converting to Judaism is an extraordinary journey – a process of study, growth, self-discovery and participation in the Synagogue and Jewish community.

Temple Emanuel has always been open, welcoming and embracing of “Jews by Choice”. We piloted the first ever “Introduction to Judaism” course offered in the Reform movement and Rabbi Jerome P. David has been the instructor for these classes since 1979, when Reform Jewish Outreach was launched. This class is offered starting in January and runs through May. The class meets each Wednesday from 7 pm – 9 pm and is now run by both Rabbi Jerome P.David and Rabbi Lawrence R. Sernovitz. This is an interactive class filled with discussions and explanatory question/answer sessions about Reform Judaism.

Click here to sign up for the URJ course, Introduction to Judaism.

We are honored by our converts for they bring to us more than sheer numbers, but also an enthusiasm, a passion, a quest for learning and doing and growing in their Judaism. In a very real way, we all need to become “Jews by Choice”, choosing a vibrant and vital Judaism for ourselves and our children.

To make an appointment with one of our Rabbis or to speak with someone about conversion, please contact Jared at (856) 489-0029 x119.

Death and Mourning

Judaism teaches us to understand death as a part of life and part of the Divine Pattern of the Universe. Thus our Jewish tradition encourages an acceptance of the inevitability of death and teaches the sacredness of grief, mourning, sympathy and memory.

Judaism has accumulated numerous mitzvot (positive commandments) and customs relating to death and mourning. These mitzvot are governed by certain principles, but in all cases they are designed to meet the needs of the mourner. The mourner should choose those practices that are personally meaningful and bring comfort, solace and hope.

Tradition established the various periods of mourning in order to allow and, indeed, encourage the pouring out of one’s heartfelt emotion and grief.

Yet these periods were established also to limit mourning, so that people might return to their daily pursuits, and resume life and living.

A closely related second principle is the recognition of the reality of death. Dr. Ron Wolfson has written, “The Jewish approach is reality-based. There is a time to be born – and a time to die. No denial. No avoidance. The art of Jewish dying is a fundamental factor in the art of Jewish Living”.

In the Jewish tradition, a person who is dying is to be treated with love, respect and caring. Following death, the body is to be treated with honor and respect. All are equal in death and all deserve dignity.

There is a time to be born and a time to die and Judaism teaches to live each day, completely and fully.