We are a community who sustain each other in times of sorrow and rejoice in one another’s moments of happiness. Temple Beth Or’s communal spirit inspires us to fortify our commitment to our loved ones, our faith and our people.
Naming ceremonies are beautiful occasions that mark a baby’s entry into the Covenant (Hebrew: b’rit). Usually held on the 8th day of life in keeping with Jewish tradition, the ceremony takes place at home or in temple. The practice of circumcision for boys has been normative in Judaism for millennia; where this takes place in hospital, the rabbi may be present to officiate at the ritual of b’rit, after which a public naming might be held at home or in temple.
Bar and bat mitzvah services are usually held on a Shabbat morning after the child’s 13th birthday, on a date determined by the family in conjunction with Rabbi Stevens (dates also need to be cleared with the community calendar maintained by the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama). Families generally contact the rabbi at least one year in advance of the probable date to set the child’s Torah reading and other responsibilities, including a mitzvah project and sermon on themes in his/her Torah portion. The bar/bat mitzvah candidate also leads some of the prayers during the service, as well as during Shabbat evening services preceding the bar/bat mitzvah. See also our section devoted to Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Wedding arrangements are made directly with Rabbi Stevens. Weddings have taken place in the main sanctuary, in the rabbi’s office or the temple library, or at other venues as privately arranged. In planning a wedding, please contact Rabbi Stevens as early as possible, not only so that an optimal date can be set, but in order to personalize the ceremony in accordance with the couple’s needs. If the wedding will be held on the premises of the temple, the couple should also contact Gina Friday regarding the use of facilities.
Death and Burial are seen in Judaism as a normal part of the life cycle. Our tradition teaches that, just as we humans arose from the earth, so too do our bodies return to the earth as part of the cycle of nature. From this point of view derive such customs as not using elaborate, sealed coffins, preferring instead a plain casket of natural materials, and not using embalming techniques.
By definition, funerals cannot be planned long in advance; indeed in Jewish tradition, with its great reverence for life, even the discussion of specific arrangements, e.g., who will deliver a eulogy, is considered inappropriate.