Hebrew Educational Alliance lifecycle events
Birth, Bris, and Baby Naming Information
If you are expecting a child, whether through birth or adoption, the clergy can assist you with ritual and pastoral needs.
Welcoming a Son
Eight days after the birth of a son (barring any medical need), parents enter their sons into the Covenant (Brit) between the Jewish people and God through the ritual of brit milah, a religious circumcision. This practice began with our forefather Abraham.
The brit milah is a positive commandment of the Torah, and is carried out even if the eighth day falls on Shabbat, a Festival, or even Yom Kippur. The brit milah (also known as a bris), is performed by a mohel (religious specialist in circumcision) in the home or the synagogue. The ceremony consists of a blessing recited by the mohel upon performing the milah, blessings recited by a parent or parents, and a blessing by the rabbi in which the boy is given his Hebrew name. The ceremony is followed by a festive meal.
Following the brit milah, it is customary to invite the family to the synagogue for an aliyah to be called to the Torah), during which time the baby is introduced to the greater community and offered a blessing.
We recommend you to contact us as early as possible so we can assist you in finding a mohel and planning the brit milah.
Rabbi Michael Sunshine, 303-818-9512 (in training)
Rabbi Aver Jacobs, 303-720-0818
Dr. Sarah Grope, (cell) 303-917-1143 | (office) 720-529-1926
Welcoming a Daughter
Traditionally, in Ashkenazi communities, daughters were welcomed into the community at the synagogue. A father was honored with an aliyah, a prayer was said for the health of the mother and daughter, and the girl was named. Many families choose to name their girls in this fashion. As an egalitarian synagogue, we invite either parent to have an aliyah.
Today, there are also covenant and naming ceremonies (sometimes called Simchat Bat or Brit Bat) that may be performed in the synagogue or the home that the clergy can assist you with. We encourage families to draw on the wealth of innovative ritual and liturgy available in designing a ceremony that is personally meaningful. There is no prescribed time for holding a covenant ceremony for a daughter; many families choose a time that is most convenient to gather relatives and friends. We suggest that you not wait too long, for this ritual is intended to both name the child and welcome her into the covenant of the Jewish people.
A person's Hebrew name is an important connection to our ancestors and our community. We call people up to the Torah by their Hebrew names. The Hebrew name is used for marriage documents and for blessings for healing. The first time a Jew is called by his or her Hebrew name is during a naming blessing. Parents often choose a Hebrew name in order to honor a deceased relative (in Ashkenazi custom) or a living relative (in Sephardic custom). Some names are chosen for their meaning. It is customary during both the brit milah and the brit bat/simcha bat (covenant ceremonies for daughters) for parents to explain their reasons for choosing their child's name. Our rabbis can help you choose a Hebrew name and provide you with name dictionaries to assist you.
We're Here to Help
>>Contact Joyce Perlmutter, Assistant to Rabbis Dollin and Gruenwald for more information or call (720) 390-4422
>> Contact Neal Price, Executive Director for information on the Social Hall and Building Facilities
The New Jewish Baby Book, by Anita Diamant: A complete guide to customs and rituals for welcoming your new baby and getting you started in creating your Jewish family.
Shalom Baby: Shalom Baby is a project of the Denver Jewish Community Center offering prenatal classes, and other programs for families with young children.
Mazel Tot: MazelTot provides parents-to-be and families with young children with information and discounts on hundreds of activities in greater Denver and Boulder.
In Jewish tradition, a person starts to take on the responsibilities of adulthood at the age of 13 and is called a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah (literally a son or daughter of the commandments). It is customary to mark this momentous transition by honoring a young man or woman with the opportunity to lead the community in prayer, read from the Torah, and deliver a short sermon. Our students also demonstrate their commitment to Jewish values through a mitzvah project.
The Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA) celebrates each Bar or Bat Mitzvah with great joy. We view the period of b'nai mitzvah training as a time for the entire family to deepen their connection to our congregational community and to ensure that this milestone is a positive educational and ritual experience for the students and their families.
Our b'nai mitzvah begin their training after having gained sufficient knowledge of Hebrew and Jewish studies through our religious school or a Jewish day school education. Students work with a tutor for several months and meet with our rabbis.
The HEA provides educational programming to assist parents and students in feeling more comfortable and knowledgeable at synagogue services and in the practice of Jewish ritual at home. Our B'nai Mitzvah Family Education Program, taught by our Associate Rabbi, is a series of interactive classes on topics of interest to b'nai mitzvah and their families. Topics include The Meaning of Bar/Bat Mitzvah, How to Understand your Torah Portion, Finding Meaning and Depth in Prayer, and Living the Values of Jewish Life. This class also serves to create a community among families in the bar/bat mitzvah year.
To read more general information about Bar/Bat Mitzvah, visit MyJewishLearning.com.
>> For more information about Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Congregation HEA, please contact our Director of Education, Rabbi Amanda Schwartz or call (303) 758-9400 x 211.
The Bar and Bat Mitzvah Guidebook
B'nai Mitzvah Planning Timeline
Honors Aliyah List Morning Service
Honors Aliyah List Evening Service
Resources and Vendors For Your Simcha
HEA Approved Tutors
To order Kipot, Tallit, Tefillin, please contact Joyce Perlmutter, by email or at (303)758-9400 x.204.
For information about planning your celebration, please contact our Executive Director, Neal Price, by email or at (303)758-9400 x.204.
In the cycle of life, there are moments of extreme joy and profound sadness. Judaism guides us in framing these moments with meaning and purpose. In the words of Rabbi Perry Netter in his book, "Divorce is a Mitzvah," "Divorce is not about the division of property; it is about the division of lives. And lives are not divided until there is closure, until both partners accept that part of their lives and their history is dead and their marriage is over... The ritual of Jewish divorce choreographs the death of marriage. It is a ritual of termination, of cutting off, of final separation, leading to a process of closure."
Under Jewish law, a marriage validly entered into can be ended only by the death of one of the parties or by a writ of divorce (in Hebrew, a get). A get is a hand-written, legal document that formalizes the divorce. It is issued after a civil divorce is granted and is necessary, under Jewish law, for either party to remarry.
The rabbis of the HEA offer confidential pastoral counseling to help you through marital difficulties and are available to assist you if you are going through a divorce.
>> To schedule a private appointment with one of our rabbis, please call or email Joyce Perlmutter at (303)758-9400 x. 202.
My Jewish Learning – Divorce
Divorce is a Mitzvah, by Rabbi Perry Netter
Jewish Family Service of Colorado
Illness & Hospice
Bikkur Holim – Care for the Sick
Bikkur Holim – care for the sick and aged – is a primary value in the Jewish tradition. At HEA we strive to be a caring and supportive community that embodies God's compassion. Our clergy and lay volunteers are available to visit you or a loved one in the hospital.
Our rabbis are experienced in pastoral care and issues around illness. They are available to offer support to you and your family in times of illness and can advise you in ethical decisions at the end of life.
If you or someone you love is ill and would like a call or visit, please contact the synagogue at (303)758-9400. If you have an urgent need and are calling outside of regular office hours, please call the synagogue's emergency line: Neal Price, (303) 956-5163.
>> For more information about our Hesed Committee, please click here.
Shalom Cares Nursing Home and Senior Residences
Jewish Family Service of Colorado
The Denver Hospice
My Jewish Learning – Bikkur Holim
The HEA is a wonderful place to celebrate your Wedding. Our beautiful synagogue and community can help create a holy and transforming experience for you. Our Rabbis and Cantor will work with you to create a wedding ritual that draws on the depth and elegance of our ancient tradition. They are also available to counsel you as you prepare to build a Jewish home together.
An aufruf (“calling up”) is a communal acknowledgement of a couple’s upcoming wedding. At a Shabbat prior to the wedding, a couple is honored with an aliyah to the Torah and a special blessing by our rabbis. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate your marriage with the broader HEA community. Please contact us about arranging your aufruf.
We're Here to Help Make Your Wedding Wonderful
>> For more information and to make an appointment to meet with one of our rabbis, please contact Joyce Perlmutter at (303)758-9400 x 202.
>> For information about planning your celebration, please contact our Executive Director, Neal Price, by email or at (303)758-9400 x 204.
>> Information on the Festival Hall and Building Facilities: please contact our Executive Director, Neal Price, by email or at (303)758-9400 x 204.
>>Resources and Vendors For Your Simcha
My Jewish Learning – Wedding and Marriage
The New Jewish Wedding, by Anita Diamant
The Death of a Loved One
When death separates us from one we love, sorrow and grief can make life feel chaotic. Judaism offers a way of dealing with death and grief which can help us through this difficult period. The Jewish way is based on two principles: 1) k'vod hamet- honoring and respecting the deceased, and 2) nihum avelim- consoling the mourners. These two principles help mourners accept the reality of death, express their sorrow, and take up living without their beloved.
Our rabbis are committed to assisting and guiding families through the process of death and bereavement. Drawing on the wisdom and rituals of our tradition, our clergy conducts funeral services that are dignified and meaningful. Congregation HEA is a caring community ready to embrace our families in time of need. We can arrange for Shiva Minyanim (observance of mourning in the home); provide a daily egalitarian minyan for those saying Kaddish; and we will notify you of upcoming yahrzeits.
When a loved one dies, please contact our rabbis or Joyce Perlmutter, in the synagogue office, at (303)758-9400 x. 202. We will discuss what kind of bereavement rituals you wish to observe, and put you in touch with an appropriate Jewish Mortuary. If you are calling after office hours, please call the synagogue's emergency line: (303)956-5163.
Feldman Mortuary (303) 322-7764
My Jewish Learning – Death and Mourning
Jewish Family Service of Colorado
Consider The Yizkor Book
Be a part of our Annual Yizkor (Remembrance) Book. These books are distributed for the Yizkor service on Yom Kippur and the other three Yizkor services throughout the year. HEA members will receive this form in the mail with the list of names previously remembered (if applicable). If you would like to inscribe any additional names in the book, please add them to the form below.
Thank you for joining with other HEA families in perpetuating this tribute to those we miss.
>> More information on The Yizkor Book
Consider a Memorial Plaque
Contact Joyce Perlmutter for information. Phone: (303) 758-9400 x 202