Families come in all shapes and sizes - you may be Jewish but your partner may not; you could be in a mixed or same sex relationship; your family could span one, two, three or four generations.
Home, family and sharing life-events with family, friends & community are central to Judaism. We want to maintain Jewish traditions while adapting to the dynamics of modern life.
We are always happy to celebrate life-events with members, families and friends of our community including key Jewish life-events such as:
- Birth - we offer baby blessings where one or both parents are Jewish, an opportunity to welcome the child into the wider Jewish community and bestow on them their Hebrew-Jewish name.
- Bat & Bar Mitzvah - we prepare children for Bar and Bat Mitzvah at the traditional age of 13, and are also happy to prepare older children or adults who did not have the opportunity when they were younger. We do not see Bar/Bat Mitzvah as the end of the journey in Judaism but only the beginning: along with other Liberal Communities we offer a full range of Cheder, Yachdav and Kabbalat Torah classes for children aged 4 to 16.
- Conversions to Judaism - in common with other congregations of Liberal Judaism, we welcome sincere proselytes seeking to convert to Judaism. We offer, in conjunction with other nearby progressive Jewish communities, an Access to Judaism course to help you through the process.
- Weddings - we are always happy to conduct wedding ceremonies for Jewish couples whether mixed or single sex marriages. These ceremonies can take place in one of our Synagogue buildings or at another venue and, as is traditional for Jewish weddings, they take place under a Chuppah. If required, our choir, with accompanying organist, can also be hired to add music and song to your ceremony.
- Marriage Blessings - we are also happy to offer mixed faith blessings subject to agreement about the rites and rituals involved. As these are blessings, and not Jewish weddings, they take place at other venues - not at the Synagogue.
- Funerals & Mourning - we work in partnership with Liberal Judaism to provide a burial and cremation scheme that all our Members are eligible to join. Our Rabbis provide pastoral care for those in the last stages of life and support to their families through all the traditional stages of mourning. Prevailing practice is to let individuals and their families determine preferences regarding burial (including woodland burial) or cremation. Our Rabbis and leaders can give guidance where it is required and explain practices but no-one is compelled to carry out rituals that they do not feel comfortable with.
Prices for marriages and mixed faith blessings vary depending on location and the personal preferences of celebrating couple. If you are thinking of getting married, seeking a mixed-faith blessing, converting or having a baby blessing ceremony - please contact the office to arrange an appointment to discuss your requirements.
We also have a thriving, lively and innovative lifelong Education programme including our Cheder - helping the children of our members to get in touch with their Judaism.