Life Cycles


There are few greater joys in life than becoming parents. At B'nai Shalom, we cherish the opportunity to welcome newborns into our community.

Naming Your Child

One of the first responsibilities you have as a new parent is naming your child. There are several Jewish customs people tend to follow in selecting their child's name.

  • Families who come from a Central or Eastern European origin (Ashkenazi heritage), typically name their children after a deceased loved one's a grandparent or great-grandparent who they, or their family members, admired and held in high esteem.
  • Families who come from a Middle-Eastern origin (Sephardic heritage), often name their children after a grandparent, either living or deceased.
  • Regardless of Ashkenazi or Sephardic custom, it is often thought that by naming your baby after a loved one, your newborn child will emulate his/her namesakes's virtues.

Brit Milah (Bris) & Simchat Bat

Traditionally, Jewish boys have a bris on the eighth day after they are born. The bris not only serves as the ritual ceremony where a boy is circumcised, but also an opportunity to introduce your new arrival to friends and family members as a member of the Jewish community.

The bris is conducted by a mohel, a professional specially trained in performing circumcisions and the rituals surrounding the procedure.

While there are no formal procedures or rituals baby girls are obligated to have done, many families today hold a simchat bat to welcome their daughters into the Jewish community. We encourage our families to bring their baby girl to the Torah for a formal naming before the community within the first several weeks of life.

We look forward to welcoming your newest addition to the B'nai Shalom community and watching your child grow, mature and flourish. Following birth, please contact the synagogue office at 973-731-0160 and let us know how everyone is doing.

Adoption

Some families adopt a child of non-Jewish birth. Rabbi Tobin is eager to help you arrange an infant (or young child) conversion to formalize your adoption and dedication to raising your child within the Jewish people.

For more information, we invite you to explore the books and other resources available in our synagogue library or schedule a time to meet with the rabbi.

We welcome interfaith families to participate in life cycle events. For more information, please speak to Rabbi Tobin.

One of our time-honored traditions is welcoming young members of our community into adulthood during their Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. The ceremony marks a day of sanctity, achievement, family gathering and communal celebration.

B’nai Shalom provides the greatest experience for a bar or bat mitzvah in the region, bar none. We don't have "doubles" where you share the day with another family due to overcrowding. We read from the full Torah reading, so there is always ample material for your child to master. Our rabbi and religious school director are the "bar mitzvah tutors," so your child forms a personal relationship with our core professionals at this important stage in their life. And our community is joyful and haemische, so you and your guests will feel naturally at home as a part of one community. Our high educational standards and personal care and concern result in confident students who master significant material and shine proudly on their happy day.

The preparations begin long before your Bar/Bat Mitzvah day. This milestone represents the culmination of many years of study and the beginning of a child's participation and responsibility in the Jewish community as an adult.*

To mark this special occasion, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is called to the Torah for an aliyah (honor), typically reads all or part of the Torah portion and recites the Haftarah. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah also delivers a short D'var Torah (teaching) relating to the Torah portion.

Congregation B’nai Shalom has developed several tools to help you and your family prepare for this momentous life-cycle event. The best overall advice we can give though, is to remember to savor this important and joyful event in your child's life. Try not to let the many details and decisions associated with this experience overpower the religious importance of this day for you and your family.

Rabbi Tobin and Rena Casser are here to help you. We want the memories of your child's simcha to be happy and look forward to working with your family to make this event meaningful and memorable.

*Please note: We require all B'nei Mitzvah to have been enrolled in religious or day school from grades 3 - 7 at a minimum. Please contact Rabbi Tobin or Religious School Director Rena Caser to discuss your family's unique needs regarding this policy.

We welcome interfaith families to participate in life cycle events such as B'nei Mitzvah. For more information, please speak to Rabbi Tobin.

Your wedding is likely to be one of the most significant moments in your life. It marks the formal affirmation that you and your fiance love one another, share a common set of beliefs and are ready to embark on a life of happiness together.

Whether you are looking to hold your wedding at B'nai Shalom or out of town, we hope you all allow our community to share in the nachas (joy) of your wedding festivities.

Auf Ruf

An Auf Ruf (calling up) is a communal acknowledgement of your upcoming wedding. The chatan (groom) to-be is called before the congregation for an aliyah. Following the aliyah, the rabbi typically offers a few remarks and bestows a prayer on the wedding couple, before the congregation showers the groom or the couple with candy, symbolizing the sweetness of your upcoming union.

Whether you are having your wedding at B'nai Shalom or elsewhere, we invite you and your fiance to share in your simcha by being called to the Torah for an aliyah prior to your wedding. To schedule your Auf Ruf, contact the synagogue office at 973-631-0160.

Officiates

Rabbi Tobin welcomes the opportunity to officiate at your wedding. Please note: Our tradition limits the time a service may begin on Saturday night and excludes certain days in the spring and summer. Contact Rabbi Tobin prior to setting the date and time of your ceremony.

Wedding Counseling

Prior to your wedding, the rabbi requires at least three one-hour counseling sessions with the wedding couple. This allows you the opportunity to get to know the rabbi, ask questions and work through the details of your ceremony. It also allows the rabbi to learn more about you and your fiance and to anticipate your plans and Jewish life together. These sessions can be held by Skype for couples who do not reside in the West Orange area.

Facilities

B'nai Shalom's Gruhin sanctuary can accommodate most wedding ceremonies. You may also choose to hold your wedding reception in our Maron social hall. We welcome the opportunity to show you our facilities and discuss your simchah in greater detail.

Passing of a Loved One

The passing of a loved one is always a difficult time in our lives. In order to help understand the beliefs and customs that we follow we have put together a short guide titled A GUIDE TO THE OBSERVANCE OF MOURNING. Please CLICK HERE to view or download the guide.

Jewish Memorial Chapel

B’nai Shalom is a member of the Jewish Memorial Chapel which is located at 841 Allwood Road in Clifton, NJ. The Chapel is a unique funeral home; its mission is to provide affordable traditional Jewish funerals for the local community. It is the first and one of only a handful of nonprofit Jewish funeral homes in the United States. Its Officers and Board of Directors consist of Delegates from its member organizations which currently consist of B’nai Shalom and 23 other synagogues and Jewish organizations in the area. In order to become a member of the Chapel, an organization must have ownership of burial grounds at a Jewish cemetery. Of course, the funerals themselves are arranged and conducted by professional licensed funeral directors. The Chapel’s funerals are conducted with dignity and in strict compliance with Halacha (Jewish Law).

At the end of the fiscal year, any excess of Chapel earnings over expenses are returned back to the community, via many of the deserving local charities. The money is earmarked for education, health, or care of the elderly.

Click Here for History of the Chapel.

Click Here for directions.

For more information about the Chapel, contact B'nai Shalom's delegates: Dr. Charles Kurtzer and Tom Phon, or go to the Chapel's website:

You can call the Chapel directly at 973-779-3048. Allen Edelstein is the Chapel's manager and Eric Larsen is the Chapel's director.

NOTE: There is no obligation to our members to use this or any other chapel. Our membership with the Chapel is provided as a benefit for being a part of the B'nai Shalom community.

Cemetery

Judaism teaches reverence for life and respect for our loves ones when they have passed on from this world. Through the Religious Services of our Congregation and the Burial Grounds at King Solomon Memorial Park in Clifton, we have always enhanced expressions of tribute and respect for the names and memories of our dear departed who are no longer with us. Plots are available for sale to members of B'nai Shalom. Our office uses specialized mapping simulation technology to help you have a perspective of the cemetery plots from right inside our office in West Orange. For additional information please contact our cemetery administrator, Jill Tekel at cemeteryadmin@bnaishalom.net.

Yahrzeit Converter

Tool to convert between Hebrew and Gregorian Dates