Lifecycle events, from birth to b’nai mitzvah to marriage, are special moments that encourage awareness of our many blessings. We look back with awe at how far we have traveled since the last great milestone, and we allow ourselves a glimpse into the future. At Temple Beth El we celebrate our members’ high moments as a community and support each other through our saddest moments. Rabbi David Katz is available to talk and also to help you design a customized life cycle ceremony.

For more information contact the office at (757) 220 1205.

In the case of an emergency please contact Rabbi David, (757) 634 6407.

Brit Milah

Our rabbi is available to co-officiate with a mohel in the Brit Milah ceremony that welcomes a baby boy into the covenant of the Jewish people and bestows upon him his Hebrew name.

Baby Naming

Naming and blessing a Jewish girl can be her first welcome into Jewish life. The naming may take place within the congregational community at Shabbat services or you may choose to have a private naming ceremony in your home. It is usually held on Shabbat morning and can be flexible to accommodate your circumstances.

Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Our goal is for Bar/Bat Mitzvah to be a meaningful experience for the entire family. Congregational membership, involvement and school enrollment are all important parts of the process. Contact the rabbi to explore Temple Beth El’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah Guidelines.


Mazel tov! Life partnerships are to be treasured and celebrated. Speak Rabbi David early in your wedding planning process. If you have any questions concerning your upcoming Jewish wedding, please contact the office.

Death and Mourning

The Jewish way of dealing with death is one part of a larger philosophy of life in which all people are viewed with dignity and respect. Even after death, the body, which once held a holy human life, retains its sanctity. Our sages have compared the sacredness of the deceased to that of an impaired Torah scroll, which although no longer usable, still retains its holiness. In Jewish tradition therefore, the greatest consideration and respect is accorded to the dead.

Jewish law and tradition have endowed funeral and mourning practices with profound religious significance. To this end, Jewish funerals avoid ostentation. Family and visitors reflect in dress and deportment the solemnity of the occasion. Flowers are inappropriate, embalming and viewing are avoided, and internment takes place as soon as possible after death.

We offer the opportunity to meet with Rabbi David to discuss your post death wishes including, but not limited to, tahara (purification), funeral plans, cemetery choices and shiva.

When a Jew dies, a burial society, known as the chevra kadisha (holy society) prepares the body for interment. This process, called tahara, involves the ritual cleaning of the corpse, by men for males and by women for females. Temple Beth El’s Chevra Kadisha is committed to providing this ritual purification for all members who would like it. Our Caring Committee can provide support, including meals during shiva, the period of seven days’ formal mourning for the dead, beginning immediately after the funeral. This can be particularly convenient for out-of-town families.

If you would like to learn more about Chevra Kadisha or prepare end of life planning, contact Rabbi David.