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Lifecycle Events

In times of joy and in times of sadness, the synagogue is a place of warmth, support, and understanding.  We are a resource for all you wish to accomplish, and an aide in times of difficulties or stress.

To learn how to arrange an event or cope with a sorrow, please contact our executive director, Andrea Choobineh at andrea@magendavidsepharic.org.


Brit Milah

Circumcision (brit milah) is an outward physical sign of the covenant between G-d and the Jewish people. The ritual is performed by a mohel on the eighth day of a baby boy’s life. The baby is held by the sandak, usually a grandfather or great uncle who may be seated in the ornate and traditional “Elijah’s chair”. Although a brit may be held at home, MDSC members nearly always choose our beautiful sanctuary as the venue.

Baby Naming

In Sephardic custom, naming children after living relatives (as well as deceased ones) is encouraged. The first child is named after the father’s parent, and the second child is named after the mother’s parent. This tradition has its roots in the Torah. Among Sephardim, the ceremony of naming a daughter is called zeved habat, or “presentation of the daughter”. A special mi shebeirach prayer is recited.

Bar Mitzvah

A bar mitzvah is a boy’s first Aliyah. Shortly after his thirteenth birthday, he is called to the Torah on Shabbat, or at a Monday or Thursday morning service. The bar mitzvah reads the week’s first haftarah, and we are proud to say that some of our MDSC young men have read the entire Torah portion as well. Friends and family members are honored with aliyot during the Torah reading. At the end of the service the celebrant presents his d’rash to the congregation. The family usually hosts a festive meal in the synagogue’s Sriqui Social Hall.

Bat Mitzvah

The formal Bat Mitzvah has only in the past few decades been revived in American Orthodox synagogues, but Sephardic sages have long embraced the idea that a girl, like her male counterpart, is responsible for performing mitzvot, and should therefore be encouraged to become a bat mitzvah (“daughter of the commandment”). Shortly after her twelfth birthday, MDSC invites a young girl to formally recite blessings and a haftarah- or portions thereof- during a Shabbat service. At the end of the Musaf service she may present a d’rash. As in the case of a bar mitzvah, a bat mitzvah’s family honors relatives and friends with aliyot.

Marriage

An MDSC wedding is followed by a joyous reception that often recalls the customs of our Moroccan founding members. For example, the bride and groom may change into traditional Moroccan dress and be borne aloft in chairs by the families’ strongest and hardiest. True to our Modern Orthodox orientation, men and women need not be separated at the ceremony or the reception.

Sephardim observe an additional custom, a weeklong celebratory Shevah Berachot feast-time. Friends and family arrive at the couple’s new home to wish them well; the seven wedding blessings are recited.

Death and Mourning

At no time is the warmth and chesed of the community more apparent than when an MDSC members loses a loved one. Whether the shiva is observed at home or at the synagogue, men and women, friends and acquaintances, come together for evening prayers.

The traditions of the various communities (e.g., Moroccan, Syrian, Iranian, European) influence the way a family passes through the shiva period. Some offer Turkish coffee to visitors. Some study Torah, Talmud, or Zohar throughout the week. It is not customary among Sephardim for visitors to bring food to a house of mourning, but those who wish to make the gesture (kosher certified foods only) are not discouraged.

Mourners observe the shelosheem (ending of the first 30 days) at regularly scheduled evening services. MDSC members invariably come together on these occasions to support the mourners.

Tue, November 20 2018 12 Kislev 5779