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

New Baby

Mazal Tov on your pregnancy!

Congregation Beth El – Keser Israel
85 Harrison Street | New Haven, Connecticut 06515 |

This guide provides information about how BEKI can assist after your baby’s arrival. Setting a tentative plan weeks beforehand will be helpful for both you and BEKI. Please note that in order to use these services, you must be a member of our congregation. Synagogue membership is a way of throwing in your lot with our community and vision; we never let finances get in the way of joining.

Rabbi Woodward works with a number of wonderful mohalim, experts in Jewish ritual circumcision. Please be in touch with him to help you find the mohel who is right for you. Rabbi Woodward has designed a custom liturgy for the naming of a baby girl that can be used either in a home ritual or in a synagogue ritual. These events can take place in your home or the synagogue; please see below for information about holding events at BEKI. Room rental prices are explained on page 2.

BEKI believes in taking a robustly welcoming stance toward interfaith families. Coming from an interfaith and multi-racial family himself, Rabbi Woodward considers the spiritual inclusion of non-Jewish relatives in the rituals to be deeply important.

If you choose to name your child within BEKI’s Shabbat morning service, please note that only one person at a time is called to recite the blessings for a Torah aliyah, though an additional parent can also come to the readers table for the aliyah. If you would like to sponsor the Kiddush lunch that day, office manager Peggy Hackett will help connect you to Abby Fraade, the volunteer who manages sponsorships. Please note that cellphones and photography are permitted on weekdays, but not on Shabbat or Yom Tov.

If you choose to have a ceremony at BEKI on some other day, please work out the general plan in advance with Office Manager Peggy Hackett. She will arrange kitchen supervision and custodial services. Please note that we do NOT allow self-catering or a plan that’s “friends will take care of setup and cleanup.”

If you plan to serve food, a list of approved kosher caterers is at the BEKI website. All kashrut policies, including BEKI’s fair trade chocolate policy, must be followed. The caterer’s delivery must be scheduled with the kitchen supervisor, and the inventory must bear the signature or seal of the caterer’s kashrut supervisor. No food can be brought into BEKI on Shabbat. You’ll be able to make arrangements with the kitchen supervisor for removing leftover food after the event.

BEKI’s custodian will set up tables with plastic table toppers, or you may rent table linens. You may also borrow tablecloths from the Sisterhood supply. Your obligation is to return the washed tablecloths within ten days after your event; they can be washed with normal detergent, though food might need to be scraped off and stain treatment applied. If you choose to have the linens commercially washed, dry cleaning is not required; a wash-and-fold service is sufficient.

Usually, Rabbi Woodward will announce births by email to the congregation, and the bulletin editor will include a mazal tov in the next month’s edition. If either of those is a problem for you, just tell us. Rachel Greenberg, the volunteer coordinator of BEKI’s Lotsa Helping Hands program, will consult you about delivery of twice weekly dinners for the two months following birth.

Eric Woodward, Rabbi  203-389-2108 x120,

Peggy Hackett, Office Manager  203-389-2108 x114,

Harriet Friedman, Sisterhood Liaison  203.675.8607,

Rachel Bashevkin, President


1. Shabbat Kiddush/Luncheon Option
Shabbat luncheon in the social hall for a period of up to 2 hours following Shabbat morning services. The entire congregation is invited and must be included in the calculation of number of guests.
a. Sponsoring Kiddush prepared by BEKI Kiddush Team
This fee (prices as of March 2024) includes a dairy buffet lunch, announcement and publication of sponsorship, wine & grape juice, setting up and clean-up of the room, trash removal and standard custodial services. These BEKI volunteers can manage up to 50 invited guests in addition to the congregation; for larger events, please see b. Catered Kiddush. Abby Fraade will be able to provide current pricing and other details.

For additional 10 or fewer invited guests (Standard Kiddush): $320

For every additional 20 invited guests beyond those 10, expect to order prepared salads from an approved local kosher vendor.

Additional options available:
Hummus OR guacamole OR cream cheese OR bruschetta: $50 each
Herring OR stuffed grape leaves: $40 each
Whitefish salad: $100 extra
Lox with platter of onion/tomato/cucumber: $200 extra
Decorated special order sheet cake: $75 extra
Ice cream sundae bar: $50 extra

b. Catered Kiddush
This fee does not include caterer or vendor costs but does include announcement and publication of sponsorship, kashrut supervision, use of the kitchen by an approved kosher caterer, wine & grape juice, set-up and clean-up of the room, trash removal and standard custodial services.

Fee for 250 Guests or Less: $350
Fee for More than 250 Guests: $600
Additional per hour beyond 2: $75

2. Baby Events NOT on Shabbat
Small Chapel* (no food allowed): $100  *or downstairs sanctuary space during renovation
Main Sanctuary (no food allowed): $150
Catered meal in social hall (2 hours): $250
Additional per hour: $75
Fee includes kashrut supervision, use of the kitchen by a caterer, setting up and clean-up of the room, trash removal and standard custodial services.

Security: $45 per hour, minimum 4 hours

If 50 or more people are expected for your event, BEKI will hire, but you will need to pay for a Security Guard.

All external doors must remain locked, never propped open. If your special event is not on Shabbat, it will be helpful if you would arrange for a trained BEKI greeter to admit your guests. Rachel Bashevkin will be happy to provide a list of experienced greeters.

Upcoming Events