Throughout its history as Northern Virginia's oldest Reform congregation, Beth El and its families have commemorated special moments in the Jewish lifecycle. These milestones are a recognized and integral part of Jewish life, reinforcing our sense of community, as well as our link to the past, present and future. Ritual acts are mitzvot, acts of obligation, sanctifying our history, our ideas and our land and uniting us in common practice.
There are four major lifecycle events, covering from birth to death:
- Circumcision/Naming: Birth is our first opportunity to begin fulfilling our covenant with God. Download the Brit and Naming Guide.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah: The recognition of a young man or woman as a member of the community. Download the B'nei Mitzvah Handbook.
Marriage/Wedding: The uniting of a couple before God and the Jewish community. The congregation also welcomes couples observing a significant wedding anniversary to the Bima during Shabbat services. Download the Marriage and Wedding Ceremony Guide.
- Death/Funeral: The conclusion of life's cycle. Download the Beth El Funeral Practices Guide.
Beth El follows a modern Reform Jewish approach to marking lifecycle events. Reform rituals are relatively short, liturgically simple, and allow the participants to provide for a reflection of their personal values. Those surrounding birth involve the hopes and dreams of parents for their children as they celebrate the continuation of the Jewish religion; bar and bat mitzvah rituals celebrate transition and both a family's and a young person's recognition of the new responsibilities of the bar/bat mitzvah; weddings consecrate the love of a couple and reaffirm the commitment to a Jewish future; and funeral practices allow the mourners to honor a life and receive comfort from their community.
For further information please call the Temple office at (703) 370-9400 or contact our clergy directly.