What to Expect When You Are...
Naming a Baby:
There are many traditions associated with choosing a baby's Hebrew name. European Jews usually name the child after a deceased relative; Middle Eastern Jews consider it an honor to name after a living great-grandparent, grandparent or other relative of those generations. The name chosen can be based on a direct translation of the name, a similar meaning or a similar sound. There is no requirement that the Hebrew and English names sound alike. If a child is to be named after a relative, try to find out that person's Hebrew or Yiddish name. Very few English names have an absolute Hebrew equivalent. The name is bestowed at a festive ceremony to which family and friends are invited. At CTI, parents, grandparents, siblings and others- regardless of background- are invited to participate in this English-language ceremony.
Naming a Girl
A girl is named in a synagogue service during the Torah reading. The parents come forward for an Aliyah, holding the child. A prayer is read, giving the name. While there is no set time for naming a girl, it is traditional to do so within a month of birth. The exact date and service can be set with Rabbi Irwin. The naming ceremony can either be part of the service or held later at a reception in the synagogue or at home. Parents may write their own prayer in consultation with the Rabbi.
Naming a Boy/Planning a Brit (Bris)
This ritual circumcision is held when the boy is eight days old even on Shabbat or holidays. The circumcision is performed by a Mohel or a Jewish physician with the Rabbi present. The time of the service is set with the Rabbi and the person performing the circumcision. If you have a boy, be sure to tell the hospital and the doctor you do not want him circumcised until the appropriate ceremony. After the circumcision is completed, a prayer is read to announce the boy's name. CTI works closely with parents, grandparents and those attending to create a meaningful ceremony for everyone.
Planning or Attending a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
CTI recognizes and embraces each person's individuality, and we honor all points of view. Our goal is to create a service- where the B'nai Mitzvah is called to the Torah and leads some of the prayers- that reflects the uniqueness of each B'nai Mitzvah and family as they continue on their Jewish journey. B'nai Mitzvah attendees can rest assured that they will always know what's going on. Rabbi Irwin and Cantor Gustavo strive to demystify the service by coming down from the Bimah and interacting with the guests, encouraging questions and explaining the prayers and rituals.
Planning a Wedding
Many opportunities and traditions are associated with the Jewish marriage ceremony. While some components are compulsory, Rabbi Irwin can offer the option of performing some innovative rituals to help tailor the wedding according to the values and traditions of the couple. CTI performs wedding ceremonies according to the laws of New York State and embraces all loving couples.
Arranging a Funeral
At CTI, the Rabbi, a source of strength and support, guides you through some of the ritual options regarding a Jewish funeral. End-of-life issues can often be daunting, and the sense of loss overwhelming. In concert with area funeral homes, CTI provides resources and comfort. Rabbi Irwin and Cantor Gustavo are sources of strength and support, guiding you through some of the ritual options of a Jewish funeral. They are honored to officiate at funeral services and other counseling. *CTI owns land at New Montefiore Cemetery in Suffolk County. Burial plots are available to congregants in good standing who have been members for two or more years. Each congregant is entitled, without charge, to a grave for himself/herself, and minor children up to age 26.
Holding/Attending a Shiva
"Shiva," is the seven-day mourning period for parents, children and spouses of the deceased. Referred to as "sitting Shiva," the ritual begins immediately after burial. Family members traditionally gather to receive visitors. Shiva is a time to show support for the family. Some families open their homes to visitors all day, others only for a few hours in the morning and/or evening. Information is often available from the funeral home or the synagogue. Though not a formal occasion, Shiva is a time to dress simply and respectfully. Many communities set up a rotation of people bringing meals to the mourners. If you'd like to help in that way, please contact the synagogue office for information. It is customary not to bring flowers.
Planning/Running a Passover Seder
There are many innovative approaches to conducting a Passover Seder. CTI's library offers a wide variety of Passover Hagadot- short or lengthy- to help you create a meaningful experience for you and your family.
CTI events follow both traditional kosher guidelines and those involving "Hekhsher Tzedek," the inclusion of animal and environmental labor practices in its food recommendations and choices. If you are new to our community, and wish to better understand kashrut, the Rabbi can help guide you.