In Jewish community, no one rejoices or mourns alone. Both celebrations and experiences of loss are opportunities for the DJC family to gather together, sharing in important life stages with one another supported by Jewish traditions.
Rabbi Miriam and Cantor Lisa are uniquely skilled at working with individuals and families so that the rituals of life cycle moments are meaningful, filled with beauty, and reflect the distinct people involved. In the process, our members are actively engaged in learning about prayers and rituals, and connecting to Jewish practice.
Below are life cycle events traditionally marked through Jewish customs and practices. Creative new rituals are being incorporated into Jewish life to mark significant milestones and transitions. These can include a coming-out ceremony, the beginning of menses, menopause, and healing from trauma.
Bris/Brit Milah & Simchat Bat
The arrival of a new baby is cause for great celebration and joy. At the DJC, we bring special warmth and care to helping families welcome their children into the circle of Jewish community.
Traditionally, on the eighth day of a Jewish baby boy’s life he is welcomed into the Jewish community through the ritual of brit milah, also known as a bris (the sign of the covenant/ circumcision). This is also when a Jewish boy is traditionally given his Hebrew name.
The ritual for welcoming baby girls into the covenant and community is known as a simchat bat (rejoicing for a daughter), when she also receives her Hebrew name. Creative contemporary rituals mark this significant and joyous moment. Some families choose to have an intimate gathering for the brit milah and to hold a communal simchat ben (rejoicing for a son) celebration.
Parents are also encouraged to be called to the Torah for an aliyah with a new baby during Shabbat morning service. The baby is blessed and the entire DJC community welcomes this young one into our midst.
As these Jewish rituals grow and evolve, we’re delighted to explore the possibilities with you.
Planning a Bris or Simchat Bat? Our rabbi is available to officiate and is happy to recommend the right mohel (male) or mohelet (female) to perform your son’s bris, including those who are sensitive to the needs of same-sex, interfaith, or intercultural families.
Bat Mitzvah & Bar Mitzvah
It’s a powerful moment when a young person steps into a new stage of their personal development and takes greater responsibility for their Jewish life. In Judaism, we mark that shift through the B’nei Mitzvah ritual.
At the DJC, becoming B’nei Mitzvah is a wonderfully communal experience. Every year, the students of our B’nei Mitzvah class undertake a year-long journey of learning, exploration, and increased responsibility in the world through community service and other activities. The program culminates in a group B’nei Mitzvah ceremony, with each student being called to the Torah for the first time. The ceremony is made especially beautiful by the individual contributions and explorations of Jewish life by each of the students, as well as their musical leadership in prayer and song as a group. In addition to their families and friends, the class invites the rest of the community to celebrate with them. It’s one of the most joyous moments of the DJC year. LEARN MORE
There are also families in our community who choose to celebrate their children becoming B’nei Mitzvah as part of one of our Shabbat morning services. Interested in a Saturday morning Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration for your child? Email email@example.com.
Adult B’Nei Mitzvah
It’s never too late to be called to the Torah!
Sometimes, adult members of our community choose to become bat or bar mitzvah. Both the learning process in preparation and the celebration itself are powerful ways to deepen and invigorate your relationship with Judaism.
Interested in exploring this possibility for yourself, individually or as part of a group? Please be in touch.
Each person’s journey towards Judaism is organic and individual.
For those interested in exploring conversion, the Danforth Jewish Circle offers a 24-week course called “Jewish Learning, Jewish Living,” a multi-denominational course taught by rabbis and educators from all the Jewish movements, offering genuine exploration of the diversity of Jewish ideas and approaches. LEARN MORE
This course introduces the central Jewish ideas and practices, texts and experiences that form the foundation of a Jewish life. If you decide to pursue conversion, this course will give you the tools to choose an informed, healthy and whole commitment to Jewish living and the Jewish people. The process of conversion includes a period of extensive study, increasingly taking on Jewish practices and regularly meeting with your mentoring rabbi.
When two people choose to create a life together, a Jewish wedding joins them in celebration and joy.
A Jewish wedding takes place under a canopy – the chuppah – that shelters a couple, even as it is open on all sides. The ceremony ends with the breaking of a glass, which symbolizes all that needs healing in the world today. A wedding isn’t just a celebration of love; it offers hope that we can heal all that is broken.
Just as the rituals of a Jewish wedding unite a couple, the rituals of a Jewish divorce can bring sacred attention to the ending of a relationship, with wisdom and warmth.
Would you like to learn more about acquiring a get (document of divorce)? Please contact our rabbi.
Visiting the sick – Bikkur cholim — is one of the key acts of loving-kindness (chesed) in Judaism. At the DJC, we believe it’s one of the most important things that we can do for one another as a community.
Rabbi Miriam is available to visit members who are ill, at home or in the hospital.
We also have a Chesed Caring Committee a group of dedicated volunteers who provides support, comfort, care, and practical assistance to those confronted by illness, crisis, or the loss of a loved one.
If you or a loved one find yourself in need and you’d like to make an appointment to speak with Rabbi Miriam, please click here, or contact our Chesed Caring Committee for more support.
Death & Mourning
Death, loss, and mourning are among the most difficult and transformative parts of life. The comfort of Judaism — and of being part of a community like the DJC — means we don’t have to bear it alone.
Our rabbi offers spiritual support, and is honoured to officiate at funerals, including conducting a non-denominational ceremony when a non-Jewish member of the community dies.
If a loved one has died:
- View the DJC’s Guide Through Death and Mourning for a fulsome understanding of how to proceed logistically, and various rituals/practices.
- Contact a Jewish funeral home first. Note that Jewish funeral homes will not attend to arrangements during Shabbat or on a holy day, so call as soon as the holy day has ended.
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us about the death. We’ll inform the community of your loss, including information about the funeral and shiva. In addition, our rabbi will follow up with you. If she is officiating at the funeral, she will set up a time to meet with you and your family.
To learn more about Jewish Death & Mourning practice, read Visiting a Shiva Home or visit My Jewish Learning.
For a list of Jewish funeral homes, click here.
Beit Olam Cemetery
The DJC offers a solution to our diverse, inclusive community’s cemetery needs – a section at Beit Olam at Glenview Memorial Gardens for DJC members in good standing and their immediate relatives. This is currently the only available option in Toronto for a Jewish cemetery in which Jews and non-Jews can be buried together. LEARN MORE