Hosting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah at St John’s Wood Synagogue means your child will come of age in a dynamic environment that’s also steeped in Jewish tradition.
Yet as we all know, organising a major community event takes work. Help us to help you organise your simcha by following these helpful steps:
1. Book early! Contact the Synagogue office as early as possible (most certainly within three years of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah) to diarise a Shabbat date. Since our community has more than one Shabbat service location we occasionally have more than one simcha on a Shabbat. The shabbat morning Kiddush can be sponsored by the celebrating families.
2. Bar or Bat Mitzvah lessons should start at least a year before the celebration. If you would like guidance on selecting a teacher please contact our Rabbinic team for advice. Consideration regarding the right teacher should take place approximately 18 months to two years in advance of the simcha.
3. We ask Bar and Bat Mitzvah families to attend Synagogue regularly on Shabbat morning at one of our services, for at least the year before their ceremony. This allows the family members to familiarise themselves with the service and for us to get to know you better.
4. Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations should be kosher events, with food under the supervision of a kosher caterer. For help in finding a caterer to suit your budget, taste and theme, please speak to a member of the Rabbinic team who will be pleased to assist you. Kosher caterers offer services in many of London’s top hotels and also in our Synagogue hall which is available to hire.
5. Prior to your Shabbat date the Honorary Officers will be in contact to discuss specific details for your event, including who you would like to call up to take part in the service and details of any special requests.
6. Pre and post Bar and Bat Mitzvah children are encouraged to be involved in St John’s Wood youth activities, including the Jewish Studies GCSE course. To find out more about our youth directors and our youth activities visit here.
And the celebrations don’t start and finish with Shabbat!
Bar Mitzvah boys can attend the morning service on a Monday or Thursday closest to their 13th birthday, as determined by the Hebrew calendar. They will be called up to read from the Torah and recite the short blessing that they have learned for their Bar Mitzvah day. A small breakfast can be held after the service which is an ideal opportunity for family photos.
Similarly, Bat Mitzvah girls can celebrate with special ceremonies on Shabbat at the end of the morning service, or amongst family and friends at a smaller occasion.
To find the Hebrew date of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah use the Date Calculator.
Our social events bring together different segments of the community as friends to talk, laugh and enjoy themselves.
Boutique Friday night dinners and legendary Purim & Simchat Torah parties draw many young adults from locations across London to St. John’s Wood.
There are dinners and classes for engaged and newly married young couples, as well as BBQs, movie and game nights where the adults of our community come together to enhance existing and create new friendships.
Lunachicks brings together the women and Lunachaps the men, for a social space to foster friendships and enjoy time together.
It’s not just close friends and family who shout ‘mazeltov!’ when a new baby is born.
At St John’s Wood Synagogue, we are always happy to hear about births within the community and we look forward to welcoming new arrivals into the community in a host of ways. Please get in touch with the Synagogue office when your baby is born.
We know the first few days after a baby’s birth can be as exhausting as they are exciting; as such, as are happy to offer meal rotas to ease the workload for new parents.
Our Rabbinic team would be delighted to talk to you about a Brit Milah, Sim-chat Bat, Shalom Zachor, Pidyon Haben or any other special celebration that you would like help planning.
Each Shavuot, we hold our annual Baby Blessing; a celebration to welcome all new babies into the community. Each child receives a special St John’s Wood Synagogue teddy bear and a Jewish Birth Certificate.
To sign up for this year’s Baby Blessing please register your baby with the Synagogue office: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7286 3838
A wedding at St. John’s Wood Synagogue provides a traditional backdrop for a life-affirming celebration of your future.
St John’s Wood Synagogue is a popular venue for marriages for both mem-bers and non-members alike. Couples who would like to book the Synagogue or one of our Rabbis to officiate at their special day, should check availability with the Synagogue office. email@example.com or telephone 020 7286 3838
The Rabbi will arrange to meet with the couple in advance of the wedding and can provide advice and support in the lead up to the big day.
Our Rabbis are authorised to officiate at both religious and civil ceremonies at Synagogues, hotels and at various other locations across the UK and at chupahs abroad.
In addition to civil notices, couples will need to the office of the Chief Rabbi www.theus.org.uk/article/getting-married-us-0 to confirm their Jewish status and provide the details required to write the Ketubah.
Our Rabbis can happily advise on what is required for both of these registra-tions. In accordance with the English Civil Law, your religious and civil ceremonies take place simultaneously under our auspices.
For further information, please contact the Synagogue office firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7286 3838 or a member of the Rabbinic Team.
Losing a loved one is never easy. Our community is here to assist you at this most difficult time.
The United Synagogue has a specific procedure that mourners should follow, in the unfortunate event of a bereavement.
1. Inform the United Synagogue Burial Society of the death on 020 8950 7767.
2. Inform the Synagogue office email@example.com or telephone 020 7286 3838. Leave a voicemail if after hours or contact a member of our Rabbinic team on their personal mobile.
3. Obtain the Death Certificate from the hospital or attending doctor.
4. Hand in the death certificate at the Registrar of Births and Deaths for the borough in which the death occurred. The hospital will advise you on where this is. In return the Registrar will issue a Certificate of Authorisation for Burial.
5. Once you have the certificate, inform the United Synagogue Burial Society. They will then arrange for the deceased to be collected and prepared for burial in accordance with Jewish law.
The Synagogue will publicise the time of the funeral and the shiva details, via email to community members and will provide mourning chairs, shiva prayer books and where required, a portable Sefer Torah & Aron Kodesh for ser-vices.
Our Rabbis’ and Rebbetzin will advise, assist and support in regard to the various arrangements.
If the deceased is not a member of the United Synagogue Funeral Expenses Scheme (FES) please contact the Synagogue office firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7286 3838 who will advise further, or visit www.theus.org.uk
The Kaddish Club
The Kaddish Club is intended to draw together community members who are in their first year of mourning.
Bereavement is a complex issue with many different aspects. Our religion wisely gives us a year to start coming to terms with our loss. The limitations that Jewish law places on a mourner are primarily intended to honour the dead but also serve to help the mourner come to terms with his or her new reality.
The Kaddish Club is designed to help us use the mourning period constructively and functions as an informal support group with a deeper dimension. It is an opportunity for those who have been bereaved to come together, learn something from our sacred sources and each other, to discuss something serious and hopefully to feel heartened by our shared, profound experiences.
Once every four to eight weeks (depending on the time of year), mourners and their spouses come together – the club is also open to those who have a Yahrzeit that month.
The club opens with a short shiur of around 15 minutes, followed by an introduction to a relevant topic, that group members discuss over coffee and tea. Mourners are welcome to suggest topics they would like to see covered, and can speak as personally or as theoretically as they would like.
If you would like to join us or to host the next session, please contact Dayan Binstock (email@example.com)
St. John’s Wood is a popular residential location for young Jewish profes-sionals who are starting their careers in London.
The Young Jewish Network hosts social and educational events for 20-40 year olds.
Events include hosted Shabbat meals, large Friday night dinners, pre-festival shiurim, a group for newly married couples, one to one learning opportunities and singles events.
For more information on current activities or to join the mailing list please contact Rabbi Yoni Golker firstname.lastname@example.org