Our clergy officiates at both brit milah and naming ceremonies for infants.
Consecration marks the beginning of formal Jewish education. Students who begin YEP (religious school) in Kindergarten through second grade participate in this celebration.
B’nai mitzvah are usually celebrated at age 13, and mark the transition of children to young adulthood. B’nai mitzvah lead much of the Shabbat service, read from our sacred texts, and offer a D’var Torah (commentary) to the congregation. We strive to provide a positive, individualized, and meaningful process for all our b’nai mitzvah and families, preparing for a lifetime of Jewish leadership, engagement, and study.
Confirmation is our 10th grade religious school program, offering weekly classes with our clergy focused on applying Jewish values in our world. A highlight of the program is a visit the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. (the Reform Movement’s legislative advocacy organization). Students learn about US policy issues and relevant Jewish perspectives and then meet with legislative representatives to lobby for issues that matter to them.
Conversion is available for those who wish to formally adopt Judaism. Conversion students work one-on-one with our clergy to learn about Jewish religion, law, and customs. Enrollment in our Introduction to Judaism course provides further instruction in basic Hebrew, Jewish history, liturgy, holidays, and life cycle events, as well as the Jewish perspective on spirituality, values, and community.
Weddings are festive, inclusive, and sacred occasions at Congregation Beth Israel. We provide guidance, counsel, and support for couples of all backgrounds, including interfaith and LGBT, as they prepare for their wedding ceremony and life beyond. Our historic and awe-inspiring sanctuary and intimate and warm chapel are inspiring spaces for this special moment.
Our clergy offer help and support to members and their immediate families in times of need including sickness and end of life. We hold a shivah (mourning period) and shivah minyan (a short service) at the discretion of the family. Members may purchase plots in our historic cemeteries located in Hartford and Avon.