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Life Cycle Overview

The clergy and staff at Temple Israel are here to support our families during these important life moments. For more information on any of the occasions below, please contact the Temple.

Brit Milah

Brit Milah (literally “Covenant of Circumcision”) takes place on the 8th day of the baby’s life, unless there are any health reasons that would cause a delay. The ceremony most often takes place either in the family’s home or at another location appropriate for the family. The Brit Milah is a ceremony performed by a “mohel” – someone specifically trained to perform the necessary medical procedure and to offer the appropriate blessings. Our clergy office can provide you the name of a mohel. Many families also ask one of our rabbis to work with them and be present at the “bris” to help make the ceremony even more special for them. During the ceremony the baby boy enters into a Covenant with God and officially receives his Hebrew name – one chosen by the parents.

Brit Banot

The birth of a baby girl is also celebrated with a special ceremony celebrating her entering the Jewish covenant through naming. This ceremony may take place on any day. There are two ways that our congregation celebrates the birth of baby girls. Some families prefer to have their daughter receive a special blessing during a Friday night (or sometimes a Shabbat morning) service. This moment is filled with joy and prayer as parent(s) “introduce” their daughter to the community. Other families prefer to work with one of our rabbis to create a personal ceremony and ritual that will be shared only with family and friends. This ceremony is often done either in the family’s home, at the temple, or in another location that will allow the ceremony to be most meaningful.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

When a child moves from childhood to young adulthood, we celebrate and affirm that covenantal connection first made when the boy/girl was born. This is why a child who enters young adulthood is called either a “Bar or Bat Mitzvah” – one who is a “son/daughter of deeds that are holy.” It is a joyful time that is celebrated both in the sanctuary and beyond. At Temple Israel we love working with all of our B’nai Mitzvah children and their families. Our children work with all of our rabbis, their tutors, and their teachers to prepare for a truly special day. All of us share in a wonderful partnership – working together to ensure two things: First, that the entire Bar/Bat Mitzvah journey (from the time when a date is selected up to the day of the service/celebration itself) is as meaningful as possible. And second, that this moment of Jewish affirmation/celebration is indelibly linked to a lifelong love for being Jewish. For more information about the B'nai Mitzvah program, please visit the B'nai Mitzvah webpage.


The Shabbat before their wedding, the bride and groom are honored with an aliyah.


The wedding ceremony is one of the most beautiful of all Jewish traditions. The elements of a Jewish wedding are based both in custom and law but must include the following: 1. Birkat Erusin: betrothal blessings 2. The giving of a (solid) ring to the bride 3. Recitation of the marriage formula 4. Reading the Ketubah 5. Birkat Nisu’in (also known as Sheva Brachot): recitation of the seven additional blessings of marriage 6. The groom stepping on a glass to recall the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Our rabbis work very closely with couples during the months prior to the big day to help create a ceremony that is personal, warm and a celebration of the love between the partners.

Anniversary or Birthday

Couples celebrating a special wedding anniversary or individuals celebrating a birthday can choose to receive a blessing from the bimah during a Shabbat evening service.


Jewish tradition is clear. In the shadow of loss, our community and our rituals are intended reach out to us with acts that bring solace, comfort, and support.   Charlotte is fortunate to have a Jewish community cemetery that welcomes all Jews, regardless of affiliation.  More information is available by visiting the Hebrew Cemetery’s website,
As a member of Temple Israel, if you should experience the loss of a loved one, please contact either the Temple directly and we will contact one of our rabbis immediately.

 *Temple Israel photo courtesy of Louis Davidson ©

Sun, June 23 2024 17 Sivan 5784