Following the birth of a child a naming ceremony is held during a Shabbat service. If the child is a boy a brit milah, the “covenant of circumcision” is performed, usually on the eighth day after birth. The circumcision, which symbolises the Jewish covenant with God, is usually performed at home by a mohel who is religiously trained, or by a doctor. The naming of the boy baby is traditionally announced at the brit milah, which is attended by fellow congregants. A Brit Hayyim (naming) ceremony for girls may be held on the eighth day after birth also.
Children within the Temple receive training and preparation for bnei mitzvah – Bat Mitzvah for a girl and Bar Mitzvah for a boy. This ceremony at age 13 marks the coming of age where the child shows the congregation that s/he is ready to assume adult status in religious matters. The central feature in the Temple ceremony is the calling up of the young person to participate in the Reading of the Law following which s/he gives a prepared discourse (drasha) which relates the reading to present day concerns. It is traditional for the child’s family to invite congregants to share in a special Kiddush, or celebratory meal, following the service.
The sheer joy that a wedding brings to the congregation ensures that each marriage celebrated at the Temple will be a splendid and memorable event. There is a form and tradition for Jewish weddings and these are followed at the Temple.
The act of annulment of the marriage tie between husband and wife is effected in Jewish law by a bill of divorcement called a get. This religious divorce is not a requirement in Progressive Judaism.
Death and Mourning
Just as the Temple family is willingly available to help celebrate the start of a life, so it is there to offer support and guidance at the end of a life. The congregation has arrangements with a specific funeral home (the Lychgate Funeral Home – Director: Mr Keith Newell) and has a dedicated section of the Makara Cemetery available for burials. There are traditional Jewish approaches to mourning and bereaved congregants find strength and comfort from the support of the Temple family at such times.