Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT

Lamaazel: The Jewish-Spiritual Way in Childbirth & Parenting

From conception to birth and beyond, the growing life is the product of a partnership of parents and God. Your shul community can be a vital expression of God’s partnership.

LaMaazel workshops explore the Jewish-Spiritual way in childbirth and parenting with prospective parents, health care professionals and others. It is open to Jews, members of other faiths and interfaith families alike.

LaMaazel will not only take away some of the mystery but will also enhance your understanding and sense of awe of the miracles of childbirth and joys of parenting.

LaMaazel introduces pregnant women and their partners to the laws, customs and rituals connected with pregnancy and birth, such as tehinot (prayers written by and for women), appropriate approaches to sexuality during pregnancy, the meanings of names, brit milah (bris), simhat bat (celebration for baby girl), programs for young children and related topics. It is an opportunity to meet a mohel or mohelet (the person who performs the circumcision) who will discuss the process of mila and answer questions.

LaMaazel is a safe space for adults to explore questions they may face: Will the child have a brit mila/simhat bat? What happens if parents or grandparents have differing religious traditions? Can or should the baby be brought up with no religious tradition, one tradition or two?

LaMaazel is one of many programs offered at Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel (BEKI). Adults seeking wholeness and holiness through Torah or who want to explore their relationship with Tradition find food for their hungry minds and souls at BEKI. Adult Studies at BEKI are a supportive setting for exploring and developing spiritual and communal identity through study and discussion of classical and contempoary texts and ideas. Torah for the Hungry Mind provides the opportunity for single adults and couples to meet others who share their interests and commitments in a warm and wholesome setting.

LaMaazel is open without charge. Babysitting is available. Call 203-389-2108 for the next meeting time and place.

BEKI classes, programs and services are open to all without respect to age, gender, personal status or synagogue affiliation. BEKI encourages all adult Jews to become part of the synagogue-based community of their choice.

During 1996-1997, LaMaazel was supported by the Gateways Outreach Project of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in an effort to welcome interfaith families into the Congregation and by Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel.

BEKI’s interest in children just begins with LaMaazel. Family programming and youth activities are integral parts of the Congregation’s life.


Bar/Bar Mitzva: “Subject of the commandments,” age of majority (12 for girls, 13 for boys) celebrated through study, charity and synagogue ceremony.

Bris: European pronunciation of brit.

Brit Mila: “Covenant of circumcision,” entered into by ritual circumcision of a Jewish boy when he is eight days old.

LaMaazel: “To good fortune!”

Miqva: Ritual bath for spiritual renewal and for conversion.

Mohel/Mohelet: One who performs the mila (circumcision).

Pidyon ha-Ben: “Redemption of the Son”; ceremony for certain firstborn boys on thirtieth day after birth.

Shul: “School,” Yiddish for synagogue.

Simhat Bat: “Celebration of a Girl” welcoming baby girl into community.

Tehina: Supplication, a form of prayer often by women for women.

Teachers, Advisors & Consultants

Marsha R. B. Beller, LCSW

Miriam Benson, Esq.

Jennifer Botwick-Ries, certified childbirth educator

Paulette Lehrer, Physician Assistant (retired), Hospital of St. Raphael

Rabbi Murray Levine, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham, Mass.

Rabbi Alan Lovins, Clinical Psychologist & Docent in Psychology, Yale University

Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel

Institutional affiliations are given for purposes of identification only. All are BEKI members

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