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Life cycle


Marriage is a keystone of Jewish life. The term for marriage, kiddushin, is derived from the Hebrew word for holiness. In Judaism, the marital union provides a way for us to experience holiness in our daily lives. According to our mystical tradition, we can only behold the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, when we are in loving partnership (Zohar vol. 3, "Aharei Mot").

We are blessed with a clergy team that seeks to infuse meaning, holiness, spirituality and love in all that we do. We believe that entering the chuppah (the Jewish wedding canopy) is a sacred and holy moment for each and every couple. Our clergy (both active and emeriti) bring a wealth of experience to their role as officiant – adding to the meaning, beauty and sanctity of this precious moment.

All of our clergy are proud to officiate at LGBTQ+ weddings and interfaith couples who seek to create a Jewish home and future. They all believe that all of God’s children regardless of interfaith status or sexual orientation - are honored with the same rights to receive both a blessing from God as well as the community.

Learn More About Jewish Wedding Practice Here

Brit Milah & Baby Naming/Simchat Bat

The Torah commands us to circumcise our newborn sons on the eighth day of their new lives. This powerful ceremony celebrates new life and also brings our sons into Judaism's sacred covenant. Our rabbis can put you in touch with a Mohel (ritual circumciser), help you understand the ceremony, and co-officiate along with the Mohel.

Click Here for Mohel Recommendations

We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn daughter with a ceremony that brings her into the covenant, and confers upon her a Hebrew name. Our rabbis can help you fully understand and plan for this ceremony, which takes place in the synagogue, Friday evenings during the Kabbalat Shabbat service. 

Additional Information on Brit Milah & Baby Naming/Simchat Bat Here

Bar & Bat Mitzvah (B'nei Mitzvah)

The joy and pride of watching your child become a bar or bat mitzvah at University Synagogue is hard to describe. Students say that the b’nei mitzvah experience at University Synagogue is both challenging and rewarding, becoming a moment they can look back upon with pride! Parents describe the b’nei mitzvah program as one of the “most special things we do at University.”

Our students individually study with and get to know our clergy -  Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro and Rabbi Barry Lutz. Each b’nei mitzvah student selects a Mitzvah Project, symbolic of their entrance into the adult Jewish Community. Some examples of projects our students have chosen are: planting trees in Israel to help raise awareness for environmental issues; volunteering at the Miracle Project, a theatre program for kids with special needs; volunteering through LA Public Library to help kids learn how to read; working with Heal the Bay to keep our oceans safe; teaching sports skills to those unable to afford lessons or to kids with developmental challenges; and more. Our students may choose to take part in the Golden Kippah Program. This program is a special opportunity for students in the year leading up to their b’nei mitzvah to perform mitzvot above and beyond the norm including: acts of love and kindness, community service, attending services, Torah study, and more.

Click for More About Our B'nei Mitzvah Program

Bar and bat mitzvah mean, literally, "son and daughter of the commandment." Here at University Synagogue, our students study directly with our clergy. We are a community that celebrates egalitarianism. All of our children, regardless of gender, celebrate becoming b’nei mitzvah at the age of thirteen.

Learn More About B'nei Mitzvah Rituals & Traditions

Adult B'nei Mitzvah

If you have never been through a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or you are interested in renewing your covenant of being a Jewish adult B'nei Mitzvah please let us know by contacting the clergy assistant via email

Learn more about what it means to be an Adult B'nei Mitzvah and see if you are interested in becoming a part of the tradition.

Burial & Mourning 

Death, and its accompanying sense of loss, grief and anguish, poses an intense challenge to the spiritual and psychological state of mind of the bereaved. Our practices are grounded in the unshakable belief in the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the person, and the emotional and spiritual needs of the mourners. 

Additional Information For Jewish Burial & Mourning Practices

Our clergy and facilities are here to support you and your family throughout the time of your loss. For more specific arrangements please contact the Executive Assistant to Clergy via or 310-472-1255.

Looking to hold your life cycle event here?

Whether you’re planning a feast for a small family gathering or an elaborate event - University Synagogue offers a great space at a fantastic rental rate. University Synagogue members receive a significantly reduced rate on the room rental charge, which include tables, chairs, dishware, glassware, utensils and a built-in big screen for a personal montage. Learn more here.

Thu, June 24 2021 14 Tammuz 5781