Resources

Jewish Customs

Shabbat

Shabbat is a time for us to let go, relax, and take in the week that is reaching its conclusion … and only sealed with a day of rest and soul refreshment. With song, study, prayer, meditation, and special programming on occasion, we bring our community together to mark the holiest day of the week. We ask only these things in coming to our worship services: an open mind, a grateful heart, respect of self and place, and readiness simply: to be.

Bris/Baby Naming

Mazal tov! We love new life in our world, as it is a reminder of hope, promise, and the future. Please contact Rabbi Mark for more information related to a bris (circumcision and naming ceremony on the eighth day of life for a boy) or a baby naming (for a boy or girl). These ceremonies formally begin the Jewish lifecycle and there are several options available, all of which focus on covenant and celebration.

B’nei Mitzvah

Becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah takes place at the age of thirteen and marks a degree of proficiency in Hebrew and in leading the service. It means that the young person has accepted responsibility for all the ethical mitzvot (commandments) found in the Torah and all of the ritual mitzvot that are personally meaningful within a liberal Jewish interpretation, as found in our synagogue. The student is led to understand that he/she is part of a vital link in an unbroken chain of Jewish men and women who have studied and cherished the Torah. The spiritual significance of aliyah leTorah (ascending to the reading and the blessings of the Torah) is emphasized along with a discussion of the content of the Torah and Haftarah portions. Children and parents are taught that instruction beyond bar/bat mitzvah and especially through confirmation is important and that Jewish education is a lifelong process.

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We are proud of our unique b’nei mitzvah program. Our program contains many features that enable our youth to grow as both Jews and human beings. We are concerned not only with how much our students know, but also with how deeply they feel about what they have learned.

The bar/bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanuel occurs following the thirteenth birthday for both boys and girls. Traditionally, bar/bat mitzvah takes place during the Shabbat morning service. Bar/bat Mitzvah dates are assigned to students when they are in fifth grade.

Marriage

We are all for marriage and encourage it for all couples who see themselves ready to enter the sacred bond of kiddushin (holy matrimony)! Our Rabbi works with couples preparing for marriage and is glad to speak with all couples who would like to discuss creating a ceremony.

Conversion

For a small synagogue, we regularly have candidates for conversion. The process takes roughly one year from start to finish and begins with the potential convert coming to services, meeting with the Rabbi, and pursuing a course of study. There are so many wonderful online resources for individuals to consider such as www.jewfaq.org and www.convert.org.

Funerals

The windows we have around our ark in our sanctuary highlight the many names for God used during the course of our lives. At death, we call God, “El Malei Rachamim” (God full of compassion). Such a title equips us with a sense of how we are to behave with someone dealing with death in their family or circle of friends — with compassion. From shiva meals provided from our Caring Committee to a Rabbi who will sit alongside families dealing with death, and life, our community is ready to embrace families in need.  For more information about funerals, visit our webpage for Mt. Sinai Cemetery, the Jewish cemetery in Winston-Salem.