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Lifecycle Events

Congregation Har Shalom joyfully assists our members in celebrating life cycle events at all ages and stages. The Har Shalom community welcomes Jews of all backgrounds including interfaith families, singles, seniors, couples, single-parent and same-sex families, and Jews-by-Choice. We encourage meaningful participation by all and strive to create a sense of belonging. 

Birth - Brit Milah & Baby Naming

The birth of a child is a joyous event for every family. In Jewish tradition, it is customary for a Brit Milah (circumcision) and a naming ceremony to be held for boys at 8 days after birth, and a Brit Ha-Bat (naming ceremony) to be held for girls early on in the child’s life. During these naming ceremonies, the child is given a Hebrew name. Blessings are said by the Rabbi and the family that acknowledge the child’s uniqueness, pray for the child’s welfare, and celebrate the child’s entry into a brit, a covenant, with God.

Rabbi Finestone is delighted to work with you to create a ceremony that is custom-made for your child and your family. Many families choose to do the naming ceremony during our Shabbat morning services. Rabbi Finestone works with several physicians and care providers who perform Brit Milah, and would be happy to connect them with your family.

For questions or to schedule your special event, contact Rabbi Finestone

Marriage 

Marriage is a significant event in Jewish life. The term for marriage, kiddushin, is derived from the Hebrew word for holiness. In Judaism, the marital union provides a way for us to experience holiness in our daily lives with our beloved partners.

Common features of a Jewish wedding include a ketubah (marriage contract), which is signed by two witnesses, a chuppah, a canopy under which the couple stand during the ceremony, special blessings for the couple, and the breaking of a glass.

Rabbi Finestone has performed a wide variety of wedding ceremonies over the past 40 years, and would be happy to discuss your ceremony with you. This involves six-eight sessions where we prepare the ceremony together, one that reflects both Jewish tradition and the special nature of your relationship. We will also discuss marriage in Jewish life, the blessings and challenges that lie ahead. 

For questions or to schedule your special event, contact Rabbi Finestone.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Mazel Tov on entering the exciting world of B’nai Mitzvah! This process involves your Bar (son)/Bat (daughter) Mitzvah, your family and friends, and the entire Har Shalom community. Our ultimate goal for each Bar/Bat Mitzvah is to create a meaningful, spiritual, inclusive, and communal celebration.

B'nai Mitzvah marks a milestone of Jewish development and an acknowledgment that our children stand at the threshold of adulthood. From the age of 13 (for boys) and 12 (for girls), youths are counted as adults in forming a minyan for prayer services, can wear a tallit, and can be called to the Torah in fulfillment of the community’s obligation to learn Torah.

For more information about B'nai Mitzvah at Har Shalom, visit our Bar/Bat Mitzvah page

Death and Mourning

The loss of a beloved family member or friend is a difficult experience to navigate alone. Har Shalom stands ready to help during this challenging time. Rabbi Finestone is available to help your family with the funeral planning, the service, and the observance of traditional mourning practices after the burial (shiva). We are also blessed to have a caring and active Chevra Kadisha group here in Fort Collins.

Chevra Kadisha

Chevra Kadisha (lit. “Holy Society”) of Northern Colorado is our community’s continuation of the ancient Jewish traditions of all things related to death and mourning.

Our members honor the deceased by performing Shmira (“guarding” or “keeping”), sitting with the deceased from soon after death until the time of burial; and Tahara, the ritual cleansing and dressing of the body.

We comfort and support the grieving family during the initial mourning period of Shiva (seven days of mourning after burial), and we continue that support at mourning milestones throughout the following year.  We also help ensure a minyan when needed for any community member wishing to observe a yahrzeit (anniversary of the death of a loved one).

Chevra Kadisha of Northern Colorado, with its 100 volunteers, has the highest level of participation of any Jewish burial societies in the world.  All community members are welcome to participate in any of the above-named holy rituals that fit their desire and temperament.

For more information, contact Nina Rubin.

Jewish Advanced Directive Form

Participation in the Chevra is open to anyone interested in taking part in these rituals. There are many ways to contribute to this holy work:

  • We provide education about end-of-life options, including medical directives, and information on Jewish burial customs. 
  • We advocate and provide support for families in planning decisions, both before and at the time of need.
  • Sewing our own traditional Jewish burial shrouds for members of the local community! 
Sun, February 25 2024 16 Adar I 5784