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Life Cycle Events

Birth · Bar/Bat Mitzvah · Weddings · Funerals · Chevra Kaddisha · Cemetery

Temple Beth El is here for all of our congregants throughout their lives.  We are dedicated to helping you not only celebrate the important moments of your life, but to help you do so in a Jewish context.  Below is some information to help you get started.



It is a mitzvah (commandment) for Jews to perform a brit milah, a ritual circumcision, for their sons when they are eight days old (Genesis 17:9-13).  Since ancient times, this has been a hallmark of Judaism.  It is a way to welcome this child as a member of the Jewish people, including providing him with a Hebrew name.

Over the last several decades, a related ceremony called a simchat bat has been developed to welcome newborn daughters as members of the Jewish people and provide them with Hebrew names.  

If you are pregnant or just had a baby, we would love to help you celebrate this new addition to your family!  Please contact Rabbi Steven Henkin at or (205) 313-0603 and he will be happy to work with you in planning a meaningful celebration.

We also know that there are many in our community who struggle with fertility issues.  If you need support, guidance, or resources, please feel free to contact Rabbi Henkin and he will find a time to talk with you.


Bar/Bat Mitzvah

It can be exciting watching your child grow into who they are and accept more responsibilities as they mature.  In the Jewish tradition, we celebrate this maturation process through a ceremony called a Bar Mitzvah (for a boy) or Bat Mitzvah (for a girl).  During this ceremony, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah will be called up to the Torah, thereby accepting the Jewish tradition upon himself/herself.  

At Temple Beth El, we recognize that every child is different.  Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah program is tailored to the individual needs, skills, and abilities of the student. To schedule your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah or to discuss your child’s needs, please contact Rabbi Steven Henkin at or (205) 313-0603.


Weddings & Marriage

There is a Jewish teaching that when a child is born, God also assigns a soulmate for that child who he or she is destined to marry.  Few things can compare to finding that person in our lives.  We at Temple Beth El would be honored to help celebrate you finding each other and the love you share together.  If you are planning a wedding and would like us to be a part of it, please contact Rabbi Steven Henkin at or (205) 313-0603.

We also know that the wedding is just the beginning of your life together.  We are here to support you after the wedding and throughout your marriage together.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can do so in any way.


Death & Funeral

Although the process of saying goodbye to a loved one and experiencing the death of a loved one can feel isolating, you are not alone.  Mourning is a complicated time and while the Jewish rituals around death and mourning can be comforting, planning a funeral and trying to understand the rituals can be confusing and overwhelming.  All of us at Temple Beth El are here to help and support you throughout this process.  

Below are some brief guides, both for planning ahead and to assist you in the process.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you anything is unclear or if you need more help.

Purchasing a Plot

The Temple Beth El Foundation has lots available for purchase from Elmwood Cemetery.  Please contact David Reznik at (205) 266-3992.  Please note, however, that those buried in our section must be Jewish.  We do have a section of our lot that is reserved for interfaith families.

Planning a Funeral

Temple Beth El has a relationship with Johns Ridout Funeral Home in which they provide a funeral that is in line with Jewish law and the standards of the Conservative Movement.  Funerals may be held graveside, at a chapel at Johns Ridout Funeral Home, or at Temple Beth El.  We encourage our members to first contact Johns Ridout Funeral Home and then contact us.


Chevra Kaddisha

Temple Beth El also has a Chevra Kaddisha that performs the mitzvah, commandment, of preparing the dead for burial.  The process of preparation involves washing the body, putting a linen shroud over it, and putting the body into the coffin.  If you are interested in joining our Chevra Kaddisha, please contact our office at or (205) 933-2740.  For questions about the Chevra Kaddisha in general, please contact Rabbi Steven Henkin at or (205) 313-0603.



A Jewish funerals are usually done as quickly as possible after death.  In extenuating circumstances, it can be delayed slightly, including to allow family members to arrive.  Rabbi Henkin will meet with you and your family to answer any questions you may have and to work together to plan the funeral.



We are blessed with dedicated volunteers who maintain our cemetery.  If you have questions about what is permitted to put at the gravesite, please contact Rabbi Henkin.  For questions about maintenance, to volunteer to help keep our cemetery looking great, or if you see maintenance that needs to be addressed, please contact Barbara Bonfield ( or Bernard Stern (

Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784