Life Cycle Ceremonies

Info on Jewish and interfaith life cycle ceremonies: bris, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, weddings, funerals, etc.

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Judaism Without Walls

By Jared David Berezin Why am I an unaffiliated Jew? In many ways, I should want to join a congregation. I’m in my early 30s. I’ve had a bar mitzvah. I’ve traveled to Israel. I enjoy celebrating Jewish holidays, including Shabbat. Passover is my favorite time of the year, and my wife and I love hosting […]

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Why I Officiated My Grandfather’s Funeral (Even Though I’m Not a Rabbi)

By Jared David Berezin Sometimes it’s nice to have others make minor decisions for me. I’m happy when my wife decides what we’re cooking for dinner. It’s more convenient when a friend suggests a specific date to get together. If I look in my closet and see only one pair of pants (the others being […]

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Grief in the Days of Awe

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I didn’t know yet what I would do for Yom Kippur. In the end, the Books of Life and Death helped me answer that question. Just before Yom Kippur, a beloved relative in my husband’s family passed away after a brief illness. On Erev Yom Kippur, we found ourselves driving the […]

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The Unwritten Rule of Pregnancy and Cemeteries

Jessie didn’t know there was a Jewish superstition about being pregnant at a funeral until her mother died and had to figure out what to do.

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This is Strength

My grandmother was a force to be reckoned with. Smart as a whip and made up her own mind about everything. Incredibly independent considering she was married at 19 and never spent a night away from my grandfather in their 72 years together. She had a master’s degree. Traveled the world. Cared deeply about Judaism. […]

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Remembering My Mother

My mother, Beatrice Case, died one week ago, on March 16, 2014. She was 95 and had been remarkably healthy until just two months ago. She was a much-loved woman, especially by my 97-year-old father with whom she shared 72 years of marriage. My dad says his “secret” for a long and happy marriage is […]

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Interfaith Celebrities: Les Mis?rables’; the Golden Globe Awards; and Paul Simon

Anne Hathaway on marriage and Les Mis; the Jewish and interfaith Golden Globe nominees; and Paul Simon’s connection to two tragedies.

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Conversion, Shared Spirituality and the Memorial Prayer

After the author converted to Judaism, shared experiences and art helped her connect to her mother’s spirituality and, ultimately, led to a beautiful and moving funeral.

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Interfaith Choices: Till Death Do Us Part

The tough decisions made at two life cycle events, four months apart, as told by the rabbi who officiated at both the wedding and the funeral.

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