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LIFE CYCLES

Through generations, the members of Congregation B’nai have come together to support each other through the unending circle of life.  Our communal occasions provide a cherished continuity that we express in our traditional rituals and ceremonies.  

Please speak with Rabbi Dov Gartenberg (505)266-0155 ext.102, to discuss your particular needs and interests in holding your life event with our congregation. 

To reserve space in our facility for rental to celebrate your milestone event, please call our main office during business hours, (505) 266-0155.

We are delighted to introduce your child to our community, whether it is through a birth or an adoption. Please call us to discuss a Brit Milah (bris), Simchat Bat (celebration of the daughter), and child naming ceremony for your son or daughter.

A communal welcoming, a naming, is performed during services, with a blessing over a cup of wine and quotations of appropriate Biblical verses, and traditional blessings.

We encourage families to sponsor an oneg or kiddish following the service. Our social hall is available for rental to celebrate in the afternoon or evening.

When our sons and daughters reach the age of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, religious adulthood, it is a joyous reason for the community to celebrate. 

Prospective B’nai mitzvah students must be enrolled in our religious school or an equivalent program approved by our Rabbi. It is a serious, but rewarding undertaking to learn how to help lead Shabbat services and chant from the Torah. Our students will begin their specific religious training a minimum of one year prior to the formal date of thier B’nai mitzvah service. 

We encourage our families to sponsor a kiddush following the service.  Our social hall is available for rental to celebrate in the afternoon or evening.

When our sons and daughters find the partner with whom they wish to make their life commitments, we are delighted to host their weddings. The ceremonies resonate with Jewish tradition and reflect individual wishes. Our clergy generally officiates wedding ceremonies only for members or their children—either at the synagogue or at private homes or venues.  In addition to a wedding ceremony, you may wish to hold other marriage-related events that reflect your family’s minhag and cultural traditions:

  • An Aufruf, a pre-wedding Aliyah, is a tradition when the groom or the couple, is called up to the Torah on the Sabbath before the wedding. After reciting the blessings, the groom or couple will leave the bimah,  and the attendees will shower them with candy to symbolize a wish for sweetness in their marriage.
  • A Shabbat Hatan, the groom’s Sabbath, is typically held on the Shabbat after the wedding. 

Non-members may rent our awe-inspiring sanctuary and social hall, which accommodates more than 200 people, for dinner and dancing. We ask that the wedding be performed by Jewish clergy approved by our Rabbi if he is not to officiate. 

We encourage our families to sponsor a kiddush following the service.  Our social hall is available for rental to celebrate in the afternoon or evening.

There are happy occasions in life that warrant a special commemoration and a chance to imbue your life with meaningful Jewish experience for yourself, the community, and the world around you.

Have you moved into a new home? Our Rabbi can help you properly affix your mezuzah with the appropriate blessing. Are you reaching a special anniversary? Are you planning a recommitment ceremony? Are you kvelling over a child who has graduated from high school or college? Have you just landed a new job or are you embarking on a well-deserved retirement? These are examples of life events worth celebrating and turning into a Simcha.

Contact us at (505) 266-0155 to let Rabbi Dov Gartenberg assist you in making your life-cycle event meaningful, memorable, and in line with our Jewish tradition.  

Tikkun Kehilah is repairing the congregational community. Please contact Rabbi Gartenberg if you learn of any of our members who have fallen ill, become home-bound, or are experiencing any other serious life setbacks. He will make sure that the appropriate pastoral care is provided. Email him, [email protected], or call the office (505) 266-0155.

Visiting the sick, Bikkur Holim, is an act of caring that we are obliged to perform, to help alleviate a person’s suffering.  There are special rules and considerations for visiting the sick. Additionally, there are special prayers, like the Misheberakh, said during the weekly reading of the Torah, that are meant to aid in a person’s recovery. 

Our Rabbi, along with a dedicated cadre of our members in the Chevrah Chesed Committee (member-to-member care), will visit congregants who are ailing, sitting Shiva, or requiring special attention. If you wish to join Chevrah Chesed, please contact Rabbi Dov Gartenberg, or visit the “Engage” area of our website to learn more.

Judaism is a faith that deals with all aspects of life. Death is an integral part of life. At the time we are confronted with death, a myriad of emotions and questions arise. The synagogue is the place to turn for guidance and support. As there is a Jewish way of life, there is also a Jewish way of death. Rabbi Dov Gartenfeld will guide you and your loved ones through this very difficult time.

Chevrat Chesed (Member-to-Member Support Group), headed by Melissa Drolet and Terry Lee Heller, is seeking CBI members to attend Shivah minyans to comfort members and to enable them to chant the Mourner’s Kaddish.  If you are interested in helping Chevrat Chesed, please contact Rabbi Gartenberg at [email protected].  

WHEN A LOVED ONE DIES

In the unfortunate event of the passing of a loved one, we ask our members to contact the synagogue office (505)266-0155 before making funeral arrangements.  If the death occurs after the close of the business day, please leave a message and Rabbi Gartenberg will be in touch with you as soon as possible. 

The synagogue telephones are not answered on Shabbat or Festivals. If a death occurs on one of those days, the rabbi can be contacted directly by coming to the synagogue immediately before or after worship services.  Please do not assume that someone is aware of the passing of your loved one. Let us know so that we may be of assistance and support you. Our rabbi will assist you in assuring that all Halachic (Jewish law) standards are followed. 

OUR BURIAL SOCIETY

Our burial society, the Chevra Kadisha, will see to it that the bodies of our deceased are prepared for Jewish burial, according to our traditions. They may assist and guide synagogue members in arranging the practicalities of funeral services, securing Jewish burial plots, and purchasing headstones.

Most people delay the purchase of a proper burial place until the need for its use arrives. This results in needless anguish at a time when one is already emotionally upset. We ask that you give immediate consideration to providing your family with suitable burial arrangements if you have not already done so. For information, please contact Martin Sherman, President of B’nai’s Burial Society. His direct information can be found in the membership directory, or leave him a message at our office (505)266-0155.

SHIVA

Our congregation considers it a mitzvah to assist our bereaved families.  Rabbi Gartenberg will make every effort to be available for funerals of dues-paying members, non-dues paying parents, or other extended family members. Contact the synagogue office concerning the honorarium. Our members will be emailed immediately to be informed of the mourning member’s shiva schedule and address, so we can assemble a minyan each evening in the house of shiva, to enable the mourners to pray and recite Kaddish. In many cases, synagogue members will serve as lay leaders for the minyan service.  

YAHRZEIT

Remembering the anniversary of the death of a loved one, Yahrzeit, is a commandment that we honor in our synagogue. We encourage our members to make a Yahrzeit donation in the memory of their deceased loved ones; their names will be added to our wall of memory inside our sanctuary, where a small light-bulb at their name will be turned on to commemorate the anniversary of their death. The synagogue publishes a list of all weekly Yahrzeits in our synagogue bulletin that is inserted into our prayer books. As part of the mitzvah of observing Yahrzeit, our members are encouraged to attend services on their loved one’s Yahrzeit, thus enabling them to recite Kaddish.

Traditionally, in the privacy of their home, mourners will light a special candle that burns up to 26 hours, in memory of the anniversary of their loved one. Such candles may also be lit on the evening of Yom Kippur, or on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day, which corresponds with the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar) the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Days of Remembrance run from the Sunday before Yom Hashoah through the following Sunday.  In year’s past, our Men’s Club has mailed a Yahrzeit candle to each member of our synagogue, to be lit in memory of those who died in the Holocaust.    

UNVEILINGS

An unveiling takes place during the first year after death. There are no strict guidelines for the timing of an unveiling, and, while families may choose a date at any time after the end of the Shiva, it has become a contemporary practice to schedule this ceremony for some time between the end of Shloshim, the thirty day period of intensive mourning, and the first Yahrzeit, the anniversary of a death. Mourners, their family, and close friends will gather at the gravesite for a private ceremony called the unveiling. It isn’t necessary for a rabbi to be involved, although our members are encouraged to consult with ours if they have any concerns. It is a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other and remember their loved one with stories and memories. It is at this time that the memorial marker or headstone is placed at the grave, uncovered and read. The monument is formally dedicated and the deceased is honored with prayers and a reciting of Kaddish. Unveilings are a spiritual time for the family to comfort each other.