Lifecycle events mark all the seasons of our lives
Drawing upon Jewish traditions, our clergy, congregation and facilities celebrate and support our members at each of life’s milestones.
Brises and baby namings
We’re thrilled to help you welcome your baby to the community and the Jewish people! Please call us to discuss brit milah (bris)—traditional circumcision and naming for your son or brit ben/bat—a naming ceremony for your daughter or son.
We kvell when we welcome a new son or daughter of the commandment to religious adulthood. Prospective b’nai mitzvah students must be enrolled in our Religious School for grades 4–7 or an equivalent program approved by our senior rabbi. Each bar or bat mitzvah chants Torah and helps lead a Saturday morning service. We encourage families to sponsor an oneg following the service. Newman Hall and Bart Hall are available for rental to celebrate during the afternoon or evening.
Adult b’nai mitzvah
Many adults (our oldest—Doris Sperber at age 100 in 2008) who have not had the opportunity to be called to the Torah or who wish to reaffirm their commitment to Judaism with a second bar or bat mitzvah can do so. Adult students learn to read or upgrade their Hebrew, discuss matters of law and tradition, and study Torah trope. Participants come away with great joy and new confidence praying with the congregation.
We host wonderful, meaningful weddings resonating with Jewish tradition and reflecting individual wishes. Sherith Israel clergy generally perform ceremonies only for members or their children—either at the synagogue or at private homes or venues. Couples may be straight, gay or of any sexual identification. Our clergy officiate at weddings with one non-Jewish partner after counseling and study. Co-officiating clergy, if any, must be Jewish.
Nonmembers may rent our awe-inspiring sanctuary and Newman Hall, which seats 200 people for dinner and dancing. We ask that the wedding be performed by Jewish clergy approved by the senior rabbi.
Our hearts and doors are open to everyone wishing to choose Judaism. Our conversion program helps prospective Jews-by-choice explore all aspects of Judaism and Jewish life. It takes about one year and encompasses several components. Following Jewish tradition, we never pressure prospective Jews-by-choice or seek them out from other religious institutions.
We help make life’s joys even more memorable. Moving into a new home? Our rabbis can help you properly affix your mezuzah with the proper blessing. Commemorating a special anniversary or planning a recommitment ceremony? Our clergy help make the occasion memorable through Jewish traditions old and new.
Whatever the event, we’ll be delighted to help you plan it, inside the synagogue or out, including facility rentals for our sanctuary and Newman Hall.
Funerals and shiva minyans
Jewish tradition provides meaningful, time-tested guidelines for burial and comforting mourners. Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller and Rabbi Jessica Zimmerman Graf officiate at funerals for members and their immediate families. Services may be arranged in our sanctuary or at the Hills of Eternity chapel at the congregational cemetery in Colma, just south of San Francisco.
We also come together as a supportive community following the burial of a loved one. During shiva (the week following burial, except Shabbat), a congregational minyan (at least ten religious adults) can visit mourners at their homes for one or more evenings to pray and say Kaddish. The synagogue offers the appropriate prayerbooks.
Hills of Eternity Memorial Park and Mausoleum
We recognize that death is part of life, part of the plan of our Creator. The synagogue’s Hills of Eternity Memorial Park and Mausoleum—on twenty acres of landscaped gardens at the foot of San Bruno Mountain in Colma—provides a peaceful, dignified Jewish resting place for members of our congregation and their families. Weekly fresh flower placements and grave ornamentation services are available and add to the dignified beauty and serenity of the park.
We also offer aboveground entombment in our Portals of Eternity indoor community mausoleum and in our Gardens of Eternity outdoor garden crypts. Inurnment for those cremated is available in both mausoleums.
Information: Benjamin Ruhs, sales director, 650.755.4700.