Jewish Life Cycle Events
A large part of being Jewish is in how life’s milestones are observed. Sinai’s clergy and staff serve all members in ensuring these events are meaningful.
Our Jewish tradition rejoices when newborn children enter our world. We celebrate these gifts of new life through special ceremonies, which include bestowing a Hebrew name on newborns. Baby Naming ceremonies, as well as Brit Milah ceremonies, may be scheduled with our Rabbis, and can be held here at Chicago Sinai Congregation, or in a family home. We are delighted to share these wonderful ceremonies with young families who have not yet joined a synagogue.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah
To us at Sinai, becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a choice—not a requirement—for a young person and his or her family. Our young people who do celebrate this ritual have found their B’nai Mitzvah services vital and meaningful to their spiritual growth. Families and friends experience these Bar and Bat Mitzvah services as beautiful and moving. To learn more about the service and preparation click here.
Between youth and adulthood, all of us experience many changes in our lives. We are here as a Jewish Community to help celebrate these transitions with you and your family. Such ceremonies could include:
- Dedication of a new home
- Gender Transition [beginning or completion]
- Health change: surviving trauma, ending chemotherapy, beginning hospice
- Starting a new career
Marriage in our Jewish tradition is the act of elevating a relationship to sacred status; our Hebrew word for weddings, Kiddushin, means “to make holy”. At Chicago Sinai Congregation, we are delighted to work with couples—couples of the same sex or of different genders, interfaith couples, or those where both partners were born Jewish—towards that special ceremony where they mark their lives together as sacred through our wedding rituals. Our Rabbis delight in the opportunities to develop lasting relationships with couples, and approach preparing for a wedding ceremony with that goal in mind. While the rituals of Jewish marriage have deep roots, no two wedding ceremonies at Chicago Sinai Congregation [or those at which our rabbis officiate in the City of Chicago] look alike.
Our Rabbis spend time with couples learning about their relationships, their families of origin, their religious sensibilities, and their love for each other. Together, implementing those traditional rituals that work for the couple and often incorporating others, the Rabbi works with a couple to design a unique and personalized ceremony. We are delighted that so many of the couples married by our clergy maintain strong connections to them as their families continue to grow.
Chicago Sinai Congregation welcomes all couples to celebrate their sacred union. We were the first Jewish congregation in Chicago—and, in 1982, one of the first in the nation—to perform interfaith weddings and to welcome interfaith couples with full membership. That practice, we remain convinced, made broader acceptance of interfaith families the wider reality it is today. We extend the same rights and privileges of wedding rites to couples in the LGBTQ+ community.
The Passing of a Loved One
The death of a loved one is the most difficult passage in life for those left behind. Sinai’s clergy find it meaningful to be present for our member families at such a difficult time. Our clergy works with our families to create meaningful funeral services, whether they are held in our sanctuary, our chapel, at a funeral home, or at the graveside. At these sorrowful and powerful times, we strive to provide perspective and comfort to our friends in mourning.
If a death has occurred, please call the temple office at (312) 867-7000.
During office hours, please tell the person answering the phone that there has been a death in your family. That person will assist you and connect you with a member of the clergy. After office hours, call the same number and listen to instructions for contacting the after-hours number, which will help connect you with one of our rabbis.
A special thank you to Karen Purze and Betty Signer for their time in putting together our resources document.