Life Cycle Ceremonies
One of the basic principles of Beth Jacob Synagogue is that there are many ways to be Jewish. Within our membership, we are fortunate to have ordained rabbis, and non-rabbis with substantial Jewish knowledge. These people have varying styles and expectations in their approach, and we encourage those seeking help with life-cycle events to speak to more than one of us to find a good fit.
Welcoming ceremonies to bring newborns into the Jewish community are available for boys (typically Brit Milah, the covenant of circumcision) and naming ceremonies for girls. Several of our leaders are available to help parents choose a Hebrew name, to help shape the ceremony, and to discuss questions and concerns.
Bris/Brit Milah/Ritual circumcision
“Throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days.” (Genesis 17:12)
Ever since Abraham followed this commandment for his son Isaac, circumcision of infant boys has been a sign of being part of the Jewish community. A mohelet, a woman trained to perform ritual circumcision, serves the Central Vermont and Burlington communities. She is a nurse-midwife who trains students at the University of Vermont Medical School in circumcision, and she has taken special religious training in the Jewish ritual of Brit Milah, the Covenant of Circumcision.
Naming Ceremony for Girls
In the past few decades, welcoming ceremonies have been formulated for girls. They tend to be creative, with songs, poems, and other readings chosen by the family with guidance from the officiant.
Teachers Sara Lisniansky and Joyce Kahn, and Rabbis Shana Margolin and Tobie Weisman are all available to prepare children for Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the religious coming-of-age ceremony celebrated in the early teens. While each teacher has lots of experience, each has a different style and varying expectations for the ceremony. Parents are invited to talk to more than one teacher to find the right fit for the child. Families must be current members of our synagogue to celebrate a b'nai mitzvah at Beth Jacob.
The Montpelier rabbis who are members of Beth Jacob Synagogue, Rabbis Sheri Berger, Shana Margolin, and Tobie Weisman, are all available to consult, plan and officiate at Jewish weddings. In addition, members of Beth Jacob are Justices of the Peace and can also perform weddings.
There are resources in the area for obtaining a get, a Jewish divorce document. Rabbis Tobie Weisman and Shana Margolin can discuss options for having a get prepared.
End of Life
A number of our religious leaders can meet with families at the difficult time of loss, and provide compassionate officiation at funerals.
Hevre Kadisha, the group that lovingly prepares the deceased for burial, is currently available in Burlington. Beth Jacob is discussing plans to create a hevre kadisha in Montpelier. Beth Jacob can also provide for shomrim, volunteers who stay with the body until the burial.
The congregation has been very attentive to forming shiva minyans, and to lending support to people during times of mourning.
Beth Jacob's cemetery is located in Green Mount Cemetery on Route 2 in Montpelier. To accommodate our diverse needs, the cemetery includes more traditional and less traditional sections. Contact Beth Jacob President to purchase a plot or for more information. You must be a member of Beth Jacob Synagogue to purchase a cemetery plot.