Baby Naming/ Brit Milah
If you are expecting (or have just had) a boy, you may be considering a brit milah or bris ceremony for your son. This ritual, which usually occurs on the eighth day, includes the timeless ceremony of circumcision and formal entry into the covenant of the Jewish people. Usually, the Hebrew name is announced at this time as well, linking him both to his family and to the historic tradition of our people.
Rabbi Newman provides a personalized service on this momentous occasion in the life of a baby boy and his family. He give you contact information for mohalim (the specially-trained physician who can perform the circumcision and ceremony) in our area. Some families opt for a hospital circumcision and then a naming ceremony during a Shabbat Service.
We also encourage girls to also be welcomed into the covenant with a Brit Bat (a covenant ceremony for a daughter). Some families opt for a special blessing at our Friday Shabbat Services, where we invite babies and their parents to join us on the bimah to give the baby girl her Hebrew name and offer a blessing to her and her family.
Another alternative is to do a bris or baby naming in the home or at another location and have Rabbi Newman officiate and work with you to create a meaningful ceremony for your family.
At B’nai Vail, we encourage all children to engage in training to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. This is not a culmination, but part of the journey toward Jewish adulthood. Five primary areas of participation for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah at a Shabbat service include leading the Congregation in prayers, chanting from the Torah and reading the Haftarah in English; and offering an explanation of the week’s Torah portion. Additionally, Friday night participation the night before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is required.
It is understood that children come with a diversity of needs and aptitudes, and the Bar/Bat Mitzvah training, requirements and experience can be modified to meet this range.
B’nai Vail works with an event coordinator to provide all of your needs including set-up and cleanup of the event.
Goals of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program
- To provide a memorable, challenging and exciting Jewish experience for our children.
- To develop basic Jewish skills beginning in our Religious School including Hebrew reading, Torah reading, chanting of prayers and the interpretation of our ancient texts.
- To have children lead a worship service.
- To explore with students and families what it means to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
- To include families as an integral part of the process and service.
A comprehensive Bar/Bat Mitzvah handbook is provided to families upon the commencement of Hebrew School. Adherence to the timeline and expectations is part of the B’nai Vail religious school program.
Adult Bar Mitzvah
Adults who missed this opportunity as a child are encouraged to join in classes each winter and summer season. Group B’nai Mitzvot or individual ceremonies may be arranged.
Rabbi Newman and Cantor Michelle Levy take great delight in officiating at wedding ceremonies in the Vail Valley. Planning a wedding includes several pre-marriage meetings, at which Rabbi Newman and the engaged couple discuss the ceremony as well as the couple’s future life together. In addition, Rabbi Newman will guide you through the traditions, music, and rituals that will personalize your wedding ceremony even more and make it the most meaningful experience for you and your families.
Weddings can be scheduled at one of the chapels, or at other appropriate local venues (on days other than Shabbat or during High Holy Days or major festivals).
B’nai Vail works with a wedding coordinator to provide all of your needs including set-up and cleanup of the event.
Funerals and Memorial Services
Rabbi Newman wants to assure his availability to our member families during times of loss. Therefore, after a loved one has passed away, contact him first, so that he is able to properly respond to your needs. He is available for counseling (both before and after death), for support in your time of need, and of course, he will work with you to arrange to officiate at a funeral. So that he may best serve you, please be sure to speak with Rabbi Newman before you confirm the time and date of the funeral. Contact Rabbi Newman here at