Life Cycle

Birth

“May the Eternal bless you and keep you.” (Numbers 6:24)

Mazal tov, you have a new baby. We can offer a lovely and warm blessing for your baby boy or girl in our sanctuary on Shabbat morning. This is an opportunity to invite family and friends to join you and the rest of the community as we give your child our blessing, their Hebrew name and a certificate. Baby blessings can take place any time after birth and we recommend that it should be at about 4-6 months after birth.

Please contact our Rabbi if you wish to discuss dates and the content of the ritual.

Brit Milah

“You and your descendants shall keep My covenant.” (Genesis 17:10)

If you would like your baby boy to be circumcised,please contact the SPS office (020 8886 0977) who can provide you with a list of Progressive Mohalim (ritual circumcisers), who are also trained doctors.

Bnei Mitzvah

“I give thanks for what I have learned of my Jewish heritage.” (Siddur Lev Chadash)

Bar and Bat Mitzvah is offered to both boys and girls following, according to the Jewish calendar, their thirteenth birthday.  Children are expected to have a reasonable knowledge of both Judaism and Hebrew which they gain from being part of and regular attendance at Ruach, our Religion School. They are also expected to attend Shabbat and Festival services on a regular basis.  The Bar/Bat Mitzvah process is discussed with the Rabbi about two years prior to the happy occasion and a date is fixed.

There is a one-off fee to cover tuition and this is paid before lessons start.  It can be paid over a period of one or two years, if preferred.

Each child will have an experienced teacher who will teach them for about six months prior to their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, although some children might require longer.

Before lessons commence, there is a meeting with the Rabbi when the children are given a Bar/Bat Mitzvah booklet which includes their Torah and Haftarah portions and the various prayers and blessings for the day.

To discuss Bar or Bat Mitzvah please contact our Rabbi.

 

Kabbalat Torah

“We stand before You and our community to reaffirm our commitment to Judaism.” (Siddur Lev Chadash)

Our Kabbalat Torah celebration marks the graduation from the Ruach religion school at age 15/16. We consider the Bar and Batmitzvah ceremony a preparation for Kabbalat Torah, two years later and to be a more significant event in the lifetime of a young Liberal Jew. Kabbalat Torah literally means the receiving of Torah. It is conducted once a year normally during Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot – the Sabbath between the first and last day of the festival of Sukkot.

The responsibility for the service lies on the shoulders of the Kabbalat Torah class in conjunction with the Rabbi. They design it, choose a theme and divide the task between them. A special booklet is produced for the occasion and family and friends and the rest of the community join a lovely, spiritual and creative service led by our young and dynamic Kabbalat Torah class.

Conversion

“Your God shall be my God, Your people my people.” (Ruth 1:16)

There are many reasons why a person might decide to take the path of becoming Jewish. For each person the course of conversion is a unique experience and the length of conversion is dictated by that experience. Our Rabbi provides gentle guidance to individuals and families who wish to take the exciting and challenging spiritual path into Judaism.

The process begins with an initial meeting between the Rabbi and prospective convert. It continues with a year-long programme of study with our Access to Judaism course. The convert is expected to take part in and experience communal religious, cultural and educational activities throughout the conversion process. At the end of the study period they produce, under the guidance of the Rabbi, two essays which, after the Rabbi has accepted them, are then submitted to the Beit Din (Rabbinic court).  There follows a final meeting between the convert and the Rabbi in preparation for the convert being presented to the Liberal Judaism Beit Din for acceptance.  After being accepted the applicant will be encouraged to undergo t’villah (ritual immersion).  They are also offered either a public or private service of acceptance into the community when they will be presented with the official conversion certificate.

For more details please contact Rabbi Yuval (rabbi@sps.uk.com)

Marriage

“The voice of joy and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride”. (Jeremiah 33:11)

Marriage is yet another significant milestone in the life of a Jew. We recommend that you contact our Rabbi as soon as you make the happy decision to have a Jewish wedding and before you fix a date. The Rabbi will discuss with you the various options for the chupah (marriage ceremony), the liturgy, the music, the choir and any other requirements you may have. Our wedding registrar will talk to you about the legal and practical aspect of your wedding day. The chupah ceremony will be based on the standard Liberal Judaism wedding service and any additions agreed between you and the Rabbi. We recognise that every couple wishes to make their event unique and the Rabbi will work with the couple on the design of the service.

We look forward to helping you and sharing your happy day with you and your family.

End of life

Bereavement & Shiva Prayers

“The Eternal has given and The Eternal has taken away.” (Job 1:21)

Full members automatically join our burial scheme. In the unfortunate event of a death in the family the first point of call should be Ronnie King, our funeral director (020 8368 7453). He will help and guide you through the technicalities of registering the death and funeral arrangements. The second point of call is our Rabbi (020 8886 0050). He will guide you through the funeral process, the order of the service, arrangement for shiva prayers and preparing a hesped (eulogy). Liberal Judaism uses Edgwarebury Cemetery (HA8 8QP) and The Western Cemetery (Cheshunt - EN7 5HT). Standard burial, cremation or a woodland funeral are offered.

Prayers in the house of mourning usually take place in the evening.

The evening service is recited, followed by memorial service and the traditional Kaddish (memorial prayer). There is another opportunity for a family member or a friend to give a short eulogy or share memories of the deceased.

Yahrzeits & Remembering

As a member of Southgate Progressive Synagogue, you will receive annual yahrzeit reminders of your close family members.  You may contact the office at office@sps.uk.com to advise the Administrator of anyone you would like to have included on the list.  The names are read on the Shabbat before the anniversary of the yahrzeit.

A letter is sent to you approximately four weeks prior to the Shabbat, at which the name will be read out.  There is a choice of mitzvot, should you wish to take part in the service:

  • At 8.00pm on Friday evening – lighting the Shabbat candles, reciting the bible reading, opening the ark.
  • At 11.00am on Shabbat morning – opening the ark, reciting the torah and/or haftorah blessings, the haftorah reading (in English), the theme for the week or the community blessings.

If you wish to change the date of the yahrzeit being commemorated, please contact the office at office@sps.uk.com and your new date will be added to the list.

We also have a beautiful Memorial Tree in the Synagogue and all members are welcome to purchase a leaf in memory of a loved one who has passed and their name and a short inscription may also be entered into the Memorial Book.

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