Every major occasion and milestone in our lives – whether of joy or of sorrow — is an opportunity to connect with each other.

Bar/bat mitzvah children are not the only ones called to the Torah on Shabbat to mark a momentous occasion — congregants and family members are given an aliyah to mark occasions such as the birth of a child or grandchild, an upcoming wedding, a significant anniversary, or birthday, graduation, a journey to Israel or a recovery from a serious illness.

Every Shabbat, we announce the names of members and close family and friends who are battling illness, and say a misheberach (prayer for healing) for them and their caregivers. We announce deaths and the time and location of funerals and shiva minyans. And when kaddish is recited, those of us not in the year of mourning or observing a yahrtzeit look around and make note of those who are standing, so that we may go to them at kiddush and offer comfort.

In times of illness and death, the Bet Am Shalom community provides support. Our Bikur Cholim (“visiting the sick”) committee helps ill congregants and their families with errands, meals, transportation, or just a compassionate ear.

When death comes, congregants know to call Rabbi Bronstein immediately for support and guidance. That one call also alerts the congregational network – information about funeral and shiva arrangements is emailed to members and the congregant who is the shiva “captain” that month arranges for other congregants to lead the shiva minyan, and for the delivery of prayer books to the mourners’ home.

or anyone who is facing this difficult time, our Ritual Committee has prepared the Bet Am Shalom Guide to Mourning and Comforting, which you can view or download.

In all these ways we care for each other, and we nurture our commitment to building and sustaining a sacred community.