Life Cycle Events


“To follow the rites of passage from birth to death is to trace the route of the self’s spiritual career as it grows from one stage of life to another.

“From the covenant at birth to the first day at school, from the moral autonomy marked by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah to the biblical counsel to marry and leave the parents and cleave to one’s spouse, from the cutting of the fringes of the prayer shawl laid upon the body of the deceased at the funeral to prayers of remembrance at Yizkor, the journey of transitions and transformations of a life are brought to awareness, refining and depending the sense of the sacred underlying all of them.

“Each transition helps us come to terms with the dual wisdom of letting go and holding on. In every rite, some ties are loosened to free us for further attachments. As celebrants, we are like aerialists on a swinging trapeze, letting go of one ring to catch bold of another. Something old is loosened and something new is discovered in the transformations that are marked through the rites of passage.

“At my Bar/Bat Mitzvah, I am no longer a child. I have assumed new responsibilities and obligations that I did not own before. At my wedding, I transform my syntax from “I” and “Mine” to “We” and “Ours.” At my death, I am no longer obligated to perform mitzvot. I am dependent upon others for the continuity of my memory.”

(These are the words of Rabbi Harold Schulweis, May His Memory be a Blessing).

As part of this commitment, MCJC is here to help with simchas and crises in your or your family’s life. If you know someone who needs to speak with Rabbi Tom, or if you want to add name to the Mi Sheberach list, please contact Rabbi Tom at

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