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Life Cycle Events

Our clergy and our community are here to support and celebrate with you during all of the important moments of your life. When new life events come up for our members, whether they are planned or sudden, they bring along many questions. You may find some answers on this page. Please contact Barbara Murtha for additional information.  

New Baby

If you are expecting a new baby, b’sha’ah tova! If you’ve recently welcomed a new baby, mazel tov! Our rabbis would be honored to welcome your child into the Jewish covenant.

If your new baby is a boy, the bris should take place 8 days after he is born. Contact Rabbi Marx or Rabbi Bonder if you need a reference for a mohel.

If your new baby is a girl, a baby naming ceremony (also known as a brit bat) can be scheduled at your convenience in your home, the synagogue, or another venue. Call the Beth Or Office, 215-646-5806, to make arrangements.


The beginning of your child’s religious school education is a momentous occasion for every Jewish child! At Beth Or, we celebrate your child starting his/her Jewish educational journey by honoring them at our Simchat Torah service. Our youngest students will stand under a Chupah, carry a small torah, and lead the congregation in the Shema. Contact Aaron Nielsenshultz for more information.

B'nai Mitzvah

One of the most recognizable life-cycle moments for American Jews is when a young person becomes b’nai mitzvah. This is a critical milestone on a person’s Jewish life journey, when a young person transitions from a child to one who is responsible for choosing the role Judaism will play in his/her life.

At Beth Or, we celebrate together with all of our young people as they make this journey towards adulthood in the Jewish community. The process of becoming b’nai mitzvah brings an intense level of contact with our rabbis, cantor, and educators. There are a number of elements to the process of becoming at B’nai Mitzvah. Please visit our B'nai Mitzvah Headquarters for details, resources and FAQs.

Mazel Tov – We look forward to rejoicing with you!

Are you an adult who is interested in becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah? Contact Rabbi Marx, 215-646-5806 x222, for information on our Adult B’nai Mitzvah program.


It is our hope that Beth Or’s students choose to celebrate their Judaism by pursuing confirmation. After Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Beth Or offers a variety of exciting programming for 8th and 9th graders. Upon completion of this program, in 10th grade, students are eligible to be confirmed. Confirmation is a year of studying with Rabbi Marx and Aaron Nielsenshultz , building community, and affirming their commitment to our faith. Contact Aaron Nielsenshultz for more information.

We also offer confirmation classes for adults though Beth Or's Lifelong Learning program. Contact Rabbi Marx for more information.

Conversion/Jew by Choice

Jewish tradition teaches that every Jewish soul past, present or future was present when God gave the Torah at Mt. Sinai. If you were not born Jewish, and are ready to claim your Jewish soul, please contact Rabbi Marx or Rabbi Bonder for information and to begin the conversion process.


Mazel Tov to you or your loved one on the upcoming wedding!

Planning a wedding can be stressful. Your congregation is here for you to make the process as meaningful as possible. We recommend that you call our Rabbis before you begin making arrangement and plan the details of the day so they can offer guidance and coordinate calendars if needed.

The clergy are pleased to talk to you about ways in which Congregation Beth Or can celebrate this joy along with you. These might include officiation at the wedding, holding an Aufruf at a Friday night service, participating in your wedding and recognizing this joy in the community.

Additionally, you might consider taking advantage of holding both the ceremony and your reception at our congregation. Contact the Beth Or office for more information, 215-646-5806.

Planning a Simcha at Beth Or 

Sickness & Healing

If you or a loved one is sick, hospitalized, homebound or on hospice please let our rabbis know. We will visit, offer prayers, or arrange assistance as needed. Due to privacy laws, we cannot make hospital visits without your permission. Please contact Barbara Murtha if you need assistance.

Additionally, our Caring Congregants committee coordinates meals, blankets, visits, phone calls and transportation to/from appointments.  Contact committee chair, Ellen Werther to make arrangements.

Death & Mourning

When death is imminent, families and friends need comfort, support, care, and guidance, which our community can provide. The time of bereavement is difficult. Your clergy are here for you every step of the way.

At the time of death please notify Rabbi Marx or Rabbi Bonder immediately at 215-646-5806. If you are calling after hours, you’ll find the clergy’s cell phone numbers on their office voice mail. Funeral services, minyans, and unveilings are scheduled directly with the rabbis.

There are a number of cemetery locations throughout the Philadelphia area that can accomodate your family's needs.  Either the funeral director or our clergy are happy to make recommendations. Roosevelt Cemetery offers a 10% discount on the purchase of interment rights (burial, mausoleum or cremation on a pre-need basis) to our members. 

We never stop mourning the loss of a loved one. Jewish tradition encourages a mourner to remember their loved ones at Yizkor which takes place on Yom Kippur and the last days of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.  These meaningful services are typically held at 9am in the Jayne Haines Memorial Chapel.  

Yahrzeit, the one year anniversary of death, is a time to spend a few sacred moments remembering and honoring a loved one's legacy.  It is Beth Or's mitzvah to recite your loved ones name during services before Kaddish.

Please visit the Beth Or House of Mourning webpage to find:

  • Prayers & Readings in Hebrew, transliterated Hebrew, and English Text
  • Audio Recordings of Shiva Prayers
  • Download/View House of Mourning Prayer Book 
  • Donations & Memorials 

Are you in need of support to get through a difficult life transition? Learn about our Bereavement Support Group and Mental Health Task Force assistance.

Sat, April 20 2024 12 Nisan 5784