“For everything there is a season, and a time for every experience under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die… a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”
–Ecclesiastes 3:1-22

At Congregation B’nai Israel, we want to help create these significant moments and infuse them with personal meaning. Whether breaking a glass under the wedding chupah , passing on a cherished Hebrew family name to a newborn child, or being called to the Torah to read the blessing of our ancestors, our Clergy adds a personal touch to these experiences.

Adult B’nai Mitzvah

Our Adult B’nai Mitzvah program provides a chance for adults who have never had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah to participate in group study that will culminate in being called to the Torah and leading Shabbat Services. Past participants have commented that the Adult B’nai Mitzvah experience has helped strengthen their Jewish identity and enhanced their connections to our Jewish community in ways they never imagined. For more information, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.

Bris/Baby Naming

The addition of your new family member brings excitement and numerous questions. At Congregation B’nai Israel we recognize the importance Judaism plays in the process and are here to offer guidance and to share in your joy. Prior to the arrival of your baby, a member of our clergy will meet with you to discuss Hebrew names and plan the ceremony – either the Brit Milah ceremony (covenant of circumcision) for boys, including our recommendations for a Mohel, or the baby naming ceremony for girls.

Once your baby is born, our Rabbis will be there to guide you, your family, and friends as you celebrate and welcome your new child into your family, our synagogue family, and the Jewish community. To discuss the arrival of your new addition, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

The Barry Ira Graff’s School for Living Judaism at Congregation B’nai Israel’s unique program has the capacity to enlighten the whole family with opportunities to participate in the true spirit of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This experience marks the transition from childhood to responsible adulthood. This is a special time filled with excitement and deep meaning. Beyond the act of preparing for a Shabbat service, it is a learning process experienced over a number of years. Your child will prepare for this memorable milestone with personalized, one on one tutoring sessions, led by experienced educators, who will guide them through the learning process. CBI’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah website shares our nationally renowned learning system, with instant access to prerecorded prayers, blessings, Torah and Haftarah portions for our families on the go. Connect with our Rabbis and Cantor through orientations, family meetings, D’var Torah lessons, and final reviews. Your CBI family will help guide you, from your child’s enrollment in the Barry Ira Graff School for Living Judaism up until the big day of your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and beyond. VIP Caterers is conveniently located on campus and offers celebration options in a choice of beautifully appointed rooms that can be designed to your family’s distinctive tastes. For more information, please contact our Director of Religious Education, Kim Beame, or our Clergy Administrators, Natalie Matus and Ali Rancman.

Cemetery Plots

Congregation B’nai Israel is able to provide burial plots for our members. We have a dedicated section in The Star of David in North Lauderdale. This location is ideal because in Florida, there are few areas that offer both easy and accessible plots along with an upright monument. Our section provides a water view and a paved walkway. For more information, contact Steve Allen, Executive Director.

Confirmation & Graduation

Confirmation is a Reform-originated ceremony for boys and girls that is tied to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It constitutes an individual and group affirmation of commitment to the Jewish people. Our Confirmation program offers dynamic classes on Jewish hot topics and Israel that include text study, cooperative learning, media, guest speakers, field trips, retreats and hands-on learning experiences. Students have the opportunity to meet before classes for youth group social gathering and dinner. Our Confirmation program culminates at the end of 10th Grade with the students leading the Confirmation service on Shavuot, the holiday which commemorates God giving the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Our confirmation class ends the year with a trip to Israel. Our post Confirmation program for 11th and 12th graders provides students with the opportunity to study with our rabbis once a month. This creates a further bond with the rabbis and a further connection to Congregation B’nai Israel. In this two-year curriculum, we explore our “Jewish Roots in America” one year and “Jewish Values That Support Civic Engagement” the next year. We will take a trip to New York City during the Jewish Roots year and to Washington, DC during the Jewish Civic Engagement year. A formal graduation for seniors celebrates their accomplishments. For more information, please contact Kim Beame, Director of Religious Education.

Conversion

Conversion to Judaism is a significant act of personal religious commitment, and we warmly welcome those who are considering becoming Jewish to begin the process with us. Those interested in the possibility of conversion are asked to meet with one of our Rabbis prior to beginning their study. The Introduction to Judaism class offered at Congregation B’nai Israel in conjunction with The Palm Beach County Board of Rabbis who will provide a base from which the conversion process can begin. For more information, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.

Funerals & Bereavement

When sorrow comes, our clergy knows how to be there to support you in loving, and meaningful ways. In the case where the death is expected, the Rabbis are available to visit the ill and the aged and to help their families in pre-need arrangements for the ceremony and funeral. Following the funeral, our clergy will be honored to lead the Shiva minyan services for the family as well. To speak with a member of our clergy about a loss in your family, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.

Marriage

As you anticipate your wedding day, you will be planning the ceremony that will sanctify your love for each other, as well as festivities which will celebrate your marriage. The choices you make and the unique customs and traditions of Judaism will shape your wedding day into a truly memorable and personal experience; you are entering one of the most exciting times in your lives. We want to help you along the way by answering the many questions frequently asked by engaged couples and to educate you on the standards and traditions observed by the synagogue and clergy. We wish you much health, happiness, and fulfillment as you begin to plan for your married life together! For more information, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.

Unveilings

The placing of a marker on a grave is a way to honor and show care for someone we love. Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of not visiting a gravesite for the first thirty days after burial because the pain of our loss is strongest at that time. Placing a marker may happen any time after the thirty days, but usually occurs between eleven months and one year following death. It is necessary to contact the stone engraving company months before the unveiling in order to allow adequate time for this part of the process. Our clergy are available for consultation regarding what to inscribe on the stone. The date will also need to be reserved with the cemetery so that they may prepare the site. While some families request the assistance of a Rabbi for the service, the service does not require Rabbinical officiating. We are happy to provide you with copies of an “Unveiling Service” if you choose to lead the service on your own. To speak with a member of our clergy about an unveiling, please contact Natalie Matus, Assistant to the Clergy.