Dear Beth Jacob congregants, family members and friends:
For twenty-five years, Beth Jacob Congregation has been a home to many of us who seek a warm and welcoming Jewish community, a place where we can celebrate the milestones in our lives, explore our Jewish identities, and connect with others who share our values and commitments. The values that have always animated this community include embracing diversity, egalitarianism, respect for Jewish tradition, modesty, and a commitment to placing substance over style. We seek to live out these values in our communal lives, in the ways we celebrate, worship and learn together. Even lifecycle events, which are the most personal of all religious occasions, are shaped by these values when they are celebrated within the community.
This Lifecycle Guide is an expression of these values and a guide to celebrating important milestones in your life within the context of this community. Within it you will find much useful information and practical advice offered by our professional staff and by other congregants whose experience, we hope, will be useful as you plan your special events. Here you will find established synagogue policies and practices, together with suggestions for how to make your simcha more meaningful. It is not, and was not intended to be, a comprehensive source that will answer all questions that arise in the course of planning major lifecycle events. It is provided here in electronic format with the understanding that it is sure to be revised and updated in the years ahead, as policies and circumstances change. But many of the most frequently asked questions about event planning are covered here in detail. And, of course, our rabbis and staff are always here to help you with any questions or issues that are not covered here.
This guide represents the fruit of many hundreds of hours of volunteer time. Gathering this information from a variety of sources, determining what should be included and how it should be organized, editing and re-editing it, and finally publishing it here is a task of enormous proportions.
It is our hope that this guide will be a resource for everyone in our congregation and that it will enable each of us—and all of us as a community—to make the sacred moments in our lives even more meaningful.
Eric Pasternack & Jeff Skochil
Life Cycle Guide Committee:
The committee thanks Rabbi Morris J. Allen, Rabbi Lynn Liberman, and Sean M. Murphy for their extensive help with the project. It also thanks Phyllis Gorin, Randi Roth, and April Silver for their work on the project.