Life Cycle Events

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The Cycle of Our Lives

In Jewish tradition, rituals and blessings are used to commemorate and mark the major moments of our lives.  The power of life cycle ritual flows as much from the ritual itself as from the support of the community that joins together to embrace the occasion. Below is useful information to arrange and observe any life cycle event at University Synagogue.

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Birth

When a baby is born the whole congregation celebrates! Every family has the opportunity of introducing their new baby girl or boy to the congregation at a Shabbat service with a naming ceremony. Some parents prefer a private ceremony before or after services.  If you need assistance with a bris or naming, contact the office for more information.

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Bar/Bat Mitzvah

The process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an important journey—one that prepares children to embrace their responsibilities for both our tradition and the Jewish community. Throughout this journey, our Rabbi, Cantor, tutors and teachers guide and support our students to ensure that they will ascend the bimah proudly and confidently.

Please contact the office to choose a date at least two years before your child’s 13th birthday.  Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutoring is once a week for six months and is in addition to Religious School. For those unable to attend our Religious School, additional private tutoring can be arranged.

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Marriage

Rabbi Rachlis and Cantor Braier officiate at all marriages, including interfaith marriages. Please contact the Rabbi before you choose the date to be certain of their availability and then schedule an appointment to meet them prior to the wedding.

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Illness

Every Friday evening at services, we list the names of those who are ill and ask for additional names to be called out from our congregation. The Rabbi is available to call or visit the sick. In addition, our Mitzvah Committee will visit and provide food and rides to those who are ill.

Please call the office whenever you know of someone’s illness or if you or a family member needs assistance.

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Death

When a loved one dies, it’s important to contact Rabbi Rachlis before setting the time of the funeral. The Rabbi will meet with you and your family before the funeral to talk about your loved one and to describe the service and mourning customs, such as shiva. Our Shiva Committee can, for the cost of the refreshments, provide deli platters and open up your home after the funeral if you wish.

Please contact our office at any time to purchase discounted burial plots at Pacific View Memorial Park in Newport Beach, or to obtain the names of funeral directors.

Anytime after one month, but usually close to a year later, an unveiling/dedication of the gravestone takes place. Contact the Rabbi to schedule a date and time.

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Honoring Loved Ones

Our synagogue has a lovely Tree of Remembrance on which you can dedicate leaves in memory of departed loved ones.  Rabbi Rachlis dedicates new leaves during Shabbat services.  To order Tree of Remembrance leaves, click here.

On a yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death, we send reminders to our congregants with a sample ceremony and the Kaddish memorial prayer. At each Friday evening service, Rabbi Rachlis reads the names of those whose yahrzeit dates have been given to the office on the annual membership form. Rabbi Rachlis also asks for additional names to be called out.

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Celebrating Life

Our Simcha Tree of Life is situated in our Social Hall and it reminds us that all of the joys of our lives are not to be taken for granted.  You can add your loved ones’ simchas to our Tree, share your nachas with our congregation, and honor your family and friends. Rabbi Rachlis dedicates new leaves at Shabbat services.  To order Simcha Tree leaves, click here.

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