Life Cycle Events

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B’rit Milah

The Torah commands us to circumcise our newborn sons on the eighth day of their new lives. This powerful ceremony celebrates new life, and also brings our sons into Judaism’s sacred covenant. At the time of the b’rit, the child is given his Hebrew name. Rabbi Portman can put you in touch with a Mohel (ritual circumciser) or a local physician. He will help the parents understand the ceremony and co-officiate, along with the Mohel or physician. The b’rit can take place in your home, the synagogue, or the hospital.

Baby Naming/Simchat Bat

We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn daughter with a ceremony that brings her into the covenant, and confers upon her a Hebrew name. Rabbi Portman can help you think through and design this ceremony, which can take place either at home or at the synagogue. It can be done on a Shabbat or during the week.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah students are moving from childhood to adulthood, from learning to be responsible to being responsible. As son or daughter of the commandments, you commit yourself to be proud membership in our ancient people. Children usually have completed training in our Sunday and Hebrew school. Of course new families are always accepted into the program.

Confirmation

Students who continue past Bar/Bat Mitzvah for three years are confirmed usally at the end of tenth grade. A service is held on the Shabbat closest to Shavuot which the students help lead. For more information call the principal, Sonja Spear.

Wedding

Rabbi Portman can help you prepare for this, joyous occasion, by outlining the service for you and help you choose a ceremony which reflects your wishes. Weddings can be done in the synagogue or any other place you may choose.

Funeral

Rabbi Portman will help you go through the process in planning a funeral. He can also perform the funeral ceremony, and help you understand and implement other meaningful Jewish mourning practices. Agudas Achim has a Chevra Kadisha (burial society) which can help the family in the various aspects of the funeral. There is a funeral committee which will prepare the Meal of Condolence and help with other preparations. Agudas Achim’s cemetery is on Linder Road in Iowa City.

A Guide to Jewish Mourning Customs

Agudas Achim Cemetery and Funeral Guidelines