Lifecycles

This is the day the Holy One made; let us rejoice and celebrate!
Psalm 118:24

 

Lifecycle celebrations or observances, along with holy days, are key moments of spiritual sustenance. Jewish tradition is rich with rituals that open us to the spiritual connections of those liminal moments of life’s joys and sorrows, its milestones and majesty. I work with people to create Jewish rituals, both traditional and new, that speak to those transitions and offer an opening to wonder, healing and freedom.

I live and work in Sonoma County, and am also available for lifecycle rituals elsewhere, especially throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Birth

I found a fruitful world, because my ancestors planted it for me. Likewise I am planting for my children. B. Taanit 23a

Welcoming a new member of the family is such a blessing and a joy! Jewish tradition offers both the bris (the covenant) and baby naming ceremonies for both boys and girls. These can be in your home, or someone else’s, or in a synagogue. Ashkenazi (Jewish Northern European) tradition suggests that the baby be named for a family member who has died, as a way to keep their memory alive. Sephardic (Jewish Spanish, Mid-eastern) tradition suggests that the baby be named for a living family member. The ceremony can honor the new life, the transition of the family or the person for whom the baby is named.

Great grandma, Morah and me at Hailey's naming

Great grandma, Morah and me at Hailey’s naming

Hi Rabbi! Thank you so much for our lovely baby naming this past weekend. Everyone truly enjoyed it and commented on how much they liked the service. Thank you again for a memorable day in Hailey’s and our life!

 

B’Mitzvah

My child, forget not my teaching… Let kindness and truth not leave you; Bind them about your neck; Write them on the tablet of your heart; so you will find grace and favor in the eyes of the Ground of Being and  humanity. Proverbs 3. 1-4

Please see my B’Mitzvah page.

Weddings

Ani l’dodi v’dodi li — I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3)

Please see my Weddings page.

 

 

 

Funerals

No heart is as whole as the heart that has been broken. – Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav

Jewish tradition offers deep emotional insight into the ways of death and dying. Each step offers the mourner a way to embody his or her grief — tearing of the clothing over our hearts, the period for wailing before the funeral, covering the loved one with earth, sitting shiva (the period of intense mourning, traditionally seven days after the funeral), ways to care for mourners, kaddish (the memorial prayer for our dead that does not mention death) and yizkor (the four times a year remembrance of our loved ones), each ritual allows for spiritual healing amidst the loss. As Arthur Miller writes of Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.”

Dying and death raise important questions about meaning, about life, about relationships, about love and about what happens next. Using my own and others’ experiences with loss, I create a funeral or memorial service that supports the mourning process.

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated everything you have done for my Mom and for my brother, aunt and me. Thanks to your guidance, the memorial for Mom was just perfect. It meant so much more that you had developed a relationship with her over the past months, during what was a most difficult time in her life. She really valued your care and wisdom and I thank you for reaching out to her. I know it meant a lot to her.
How can I ever thank you enough for Saturday night.  Havdalah with shiva was so profoundly right for acknowledging my mother’s death, and you lead us all so beautifully.

Lifecycles

Birth

Quote

Welcoming a new member of the family is such a blessing and a joy! Jewish tradition offers both the bris (the covenant) and baby naming ceremonies for both boys and girls. These can be in your home, or someone else’s, or in a synagogue. Ashkenazi (Jewish Northern European) tradition suggests that the baby be named for a family member who has died, as a way to keep their memory alive. Sephardic (Jewish Spanish, Mid-eastern) tradition suggests that the baby be names for a living family member. The ceremony can honor the new life, the transition of the family, the person for whom the baby is named.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Quote

Bar/Bat Mitzvah (son or daughter of commandment) is one of the best known Jewish rites of passage. After years of teaching and transmitting values to our children, this ceremony is a moment to recognize, as the child teeters on the brink of young adulthood, the skills, persistence and diligence and commitment to a Jewish future of the child.

The ceremony generally takes place within the context of a Shabbat (Saturday) morning worship service within the family’s community.

Study can take as long as two years and as little as six months, depending on each individual student’s strengths, needs and persistence. Learning differences can be accommodated in a number of ways, so that the young person can achieve success on their own terms.

Generally, I meet with students for 30 minutes weekly, and they have nightly homework to practice. In addition to learning their torah portion, prayers and blessings, we work together on developing their particular teaching, or dvar torah (literally, words of torah) to their community. While this is generally done in person, it can also be done by Skype.

Most people told us that it was the best Bar Mitzvah that they had ever been to. We heartily agreed with them!!”

Weddings

Ani l’dodi v’dodi li — I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. (Song of Songs 6:3)

Mazel tov and congratulations on finding your beshert, the person meant for you, to spend the rest of your life with! Now it’s time to plan the wedding, or kiddushin (from the word for holy and sanctification). Jewish weddings are about creating the spiritual bond that links two people in holiness in front of their community.

I work with couples to develop a ceremony steeped in Jewish tradition and relevant to their lives, from chuppah (the wedding canopy) to circling to create the sacred and energetic boundaries of their relationship, to vows and the Sheva Berachot (Seven Blessings) to stepping on the glass. Because the ceremony is the reason for the wedding, I dedicate myself to creating a traditional-contemporary-spiritual ritual that is Jewish, meaningful to the couple and accessible to Jewish and non-Jewish guests alike. We generally meet three times before the wedding, although this can be adapted for people’s needs.

I officiate at interfaith weddings and same sex weddings.

Find quote from wedding cards…

Funerals

To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

Mary Oliver

Jewish tradition offers deep emotional insight into the ways of death and dying. Each step offers the mourner a way to embody his or her grief — tearing of the clothing over our hearts, the period for wailing before the funeral, covering the loved one with earth, sitting shiva (the period of intense mourning, traditionally seven days after the funeral), ways to care for mourners, kaddish (the memorial prayer for our dead that does not mention death) and yizkor (the four times a year remembrance of our loved ones), each ritual allows for spiritual healing amidst the loss. As Arthur Miller writes of Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.”

Dying and death raise important questions about meaning, about life, about relationships, about love and about what happens next. Using my own and others’ experiences with loss, I create a funeral or memorial service that supports the mourning process.

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated everything you have done for my Mom and for my brother, aunt and me. Thanks to your guidance, the memorial for Mom was just perfect. It meant so much more that you had developed a relationship with her over the past months, during what was a most difficult time in her life. She really valued your care and wisdom and I thank you for reaching out to her. I know it meant a lot to her.”

How can i ever thank you enough for Saturday night.  Havdalah with shiva was so profoundly right for acknowledging my mother’s death, and you lead us all so beautifully.”