Life Cycle

The Jewish life is filled with milestones, and we at Temple Beth Am want commemorate these moments with you. Our clergy and community are here to assist with every stage of life, marking these scared occasions with meaningful Jewish ceremony and rituals. Due to time limitations, our clergy work primarily with Beth Am members and their immediate family. However, a lifecycle moment may be the perfect time to consider membership at Beth Am.

To speak with clergy regarding any life cycle events or pastoral care, please contact Hila Keller, our Scheduling Coordinator.

Birth and Brit Milah

B’sha’ah Tovah and Mazel Tov! May everything be at its right time and Congratulations!

There are many ways to celebrate the birth of a child, such as a Hebrew naming, or brit milah (circumcision). Our clergy can lead a Simchat Bat / Simchat Ben (Welcoming a child into the covenant of the Jewish People) during Shabbat services or in a private moment at your home. For those seeking a mohel for circumcision, we primarily work with Dr. Aaron Witz.

Consecration

On Simchat Torah, we mark the beginning of our youngest learners’ introduction into Jewish learning with Consecration. We invite you to learn more about our Youth Learning program, The Gan (Garden of Learning), or schedule a conversation with Reyna Abraham, our Youth Learning & Engagement Coordinator.

B'nai Mitzvah

B’nai Mitzvah is the celebration of our youngest members being called to Torah and embracing their place as a Jewish leader and Jewish adult. We firmly believe that the Bat/Bar/Brit (girl/boy/gender neutral) Mitzvah is a major moment on a person’s Jewish journey, but not the end— rather, it’s one important step along the path of Jewish learning and engagement.

 

At Temple Beth Am, we celebrate Shabbat as a full community, where one or two students are called to Torah as Bat/Bar/Brit Mitzvah. Rather than it being a private life cycle event or Havdallah service, at Temple Beth Am, all b’nai mitzvahs occur on Saturday mornings so our young people can be celebrated by our entire community during our Shabbat worship service.

The path to B’nai Mitzvah begins with at least two years of learning as part of our Youth Learning program for PreK-12th Grade, family involvement, and student engagement in Jewish youth life.

We first assign dates during the 5th grade year, support families in 6th grade, and students formally begin working with clergy and pre-approved tutors around 6-8 months prior to the Shabbat that each student leads.

Post-B’nai Mitzvah, it is our full expectation that all students and their families will remain active in Jewish life through The Gan, NFTY and URJ Campers, trips to Israel, and other ways to connect to Jewish community. B’nai Mitzvah is not the end of one’s Jewish learning; if anything, it’s just the beginning.

To better understand the B’nai Mitzvah Program at Temple Beth Am, please review our B’nai Mitzvah Handbook (an updated version for 5782 is forthcoming) or schedule time to meet with staff or clergy by emailing our Scheduling Coordinator.

Conversion

We’re glad you’re here! We warmly welcome members and prospective members who would like to learn more about Jewish life and who seek to convert and join the Jewish people. The full conversion process includes monthly meetings with clergy, completion of an Introduction to Judaism course (we participate in the regional course organized by the Washington Coalition of Rabbis), communal involvement, spiritual autobiography, personal project, and hatafat dam brit (symbolic circumcision, where applicable). Conversion concludes with a Beit Din (panel of rabbis ) and immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath). The conversion process usually takes around one year, however students are encouraged to proceed at their own pace.

If you have never been to Temple Beth Am before, we encourage you to attend a few Shabbat services or community programs to get to know us. Once you feel like this is the place for you, please contact Sam, our Advancement Manager, to have a conversation about the process for membership.  If you are a current member interested in conversion and would like to meet with a member of our clergy, please reach out to Hila, our Scheduling Coordinator.

Marriage

We support and enjoy taking part in helping bond our members in eternal love and unity. It is amongst the most joyous moments in one’s life. Our clergy are overjoyed to support you in the emotional and ritual work ahead of the wedding. In most cases, the clergy require a number of pre-marital counseling sessions. Temple Beth Am clergy perform weddings for interfaith and LGBTQIA+ couples, and we proudly celebrate and welcome blended families.  If possible, please confirm clergy’s availability before booking the day of the ceremony.

Healing

Our Temple Beth Am community is dedicated to caring compassionately for every one of our members, especially as they struggle through health issues or support loved ones who are struggling. Our clergy reach out to people in need through phone calls and hospital or home visits. While we do not keep a formal Healing List, we include prayers of healing during every Shabbat service. If you seek support, or know of someone who does, please contact temple@templebetham.org.

Death & Dying

Temple Beth Am clergy, professional staff, and lay leadership are here to offer support and care during the most profound moments, including end-of-life. We tend to those who are nearing their final moments, honor those recently departed, and help mourners grieve the loss of loved ones. Additionally, clergy are here to meet with loved ones to help with difficult conversations and decisions that often accompany death and dying. Clergy are available 24 hours a day for emergency situations. Call Temple Beth Am at (206) 525-0915. If it is after hours, an emergency number will be listed on the recorded message.

In non-emergency situations, please reach out to our scheduling coordinator Hila, to schedule a time to speak with clergy.

Our clergy are honored to visit hospitals or homes to provide support and prayer at the most difficult moments. Following death, our clergy and lay leaders can help arrange shiva services, mourning rituals, and eventually, a gravestone unveiling.

For funeral and burial services, Temple Beth Am works with Rosebud Funeral Services, Seattle Jewish Chapel, and a number of area cemeteries.

Temple Beth Am’s cemetery Gan Shalom (Garden of Peace) is part of Evergreen-Washelli’s Abbey View Cemetery, about 20 minutes north of Beth Am. The address to the main entrance is 3600 Alaska Road in Brier. Do not enter the main entrance, rather continue up the hill, and Gan Shalom will be on your right. If you are interested in purchasing a plot, please reach out to Executive Director Davida Sims and she will connect with our representative at Gan Shalom.

Jewish Identity Affirmation & Hebrew Naming

A Hebrew naming need not happen only for newborns. We are happy to work with families and individuals to bestow a Hebrew name at any age.

There may be times in our lives when we not feel as connected to Judaism, for a variety of reasons, and we want to reaffirm our connection. Our clergy can support you through a moment of Jewish affirmation, such as immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath).

Most importantly, Temple Beth Am is here for you and your family through all stages of life.