Life Cycle Events

Life Cycle Events mark those important milestones or transitions in our lives when we move into a new phase of Jewish living. Whether celebrating life's most joyous occasions, or looking for comfort in life's most difficult times Beth El's here to help fulfill your ritual and spiritual needs.

Baby Naming and Bris Ceremonies: 

(For members and non-members.) Baby girls can be named and blessed from the bimah during Shabbat services. Bris ceremonies can also be arranged and we can recommend a number of Mohels. To arrange for a baby naming or Bris, please contact Yvonne Epstein at 410-484-0411or [email protected]. We can also cater your simcha at the shul after your ceremony. 

B'nai Mitzvah:   

Students are required to attend our religious school in order to schedule a B'nai Mitzvah ceremony. Our ceremonies include the entire family in an inspiring service, where the children enter into the Jewish community. Beth El Congregation assigns dates two to three years in advance. We require that you attend our Religious School in order to receive your date, or are enrolled in a Jewish Day School. A letter will be sent out asking you about date preferences, and explaining how dates are assigned. Once we have gathered all the needed information for the assigned year, you will receive a second letter telling you what date you have received. Depending on the number of students in any given year, dates are doubled as needed. Most Shabbatot are a shared simcha.

You can celebrate your simcha on either a Shabbat morning or a Shabbat afternoon. The difference in preparing for these two services; is that on Shabbat morning, there is a Haftorah (section of the prophets, chanted.) During Shabbat afternoon, we only read from the Torah. Both services include an Aliyah to the Torah and opportunities for family honors. The Shabbat afternoon service, also leads directly into Havdallah, the beautiful and short ceremony that ends Shabbat. Please be aware, that if you choose a Shabbat afternoon service, it will begin approximately an hour and half before the end of Shabbat. During the Spring and Summer this could be as late as 8:00 p.m. to start the service.

Who Should I Talk To When I Have Questions?

Ellen Marks, B’nai Mitzvah Administrator 
[email protected]

Ellen is the administrator of the program. She sets up the tutoring schedule, and communicates student progress with the parents.  

Lori Downing, Event Coordinator
[email protected]

Lori will work with you setting up the Kiddush, and if you wish to continue your celebration at Beth El. Please talk with Lori early in your process.

Rabbi Steven Schwartz and Rabbi Dana Saroken

Our clergy meets with every Bar/Bat Mitzvah student. Every student is expected to prepare a d’var torah; a reflection on the meaning of their Torah portion. Students will meet with Rabbi Saroken to prepare the d’var torah and will also meet with Rabbi Schwartz as a family to discuss the meaning behind becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Please set up these meetings 6-8 weeks in advance of your simcha.

Yvonne Pentove, Assistant to the Clergy
[email protected] 


An Aufruf (traditional blessing of the couple on a Shabbat preceding the wedding) can be scheduled by calling Yvonne Eptstein at 410-484-0411 or [email protected]

Death/Bereavement and Cemetery Information:







Please notify the synagogue office immediately in the event of a loss so that we can provide support and assistance during this difficult time. Beth El owns and maintains a Jewish cemetery located at 9700 Liberty Road. Plots are moderately priced and available to synagogue members and non-members. Purchase price includes perpetual care of the plot and cemetery grounds. For more information on Memorial Park, please visit the Memorial Park page. Contact Sarah Rohan at 410-484-0411 or [email protected].