The circle of life

This has been a week with pretty much everything except a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in it; Baby blessing, conversion ceremony, 2 aufrufs, a wedding this Sunday, and sadly, a funeral. All these lifecycle events have left me not a lot of time to blog, but it is to some degree the privilege of marking these highs and lows with people that drew me into the rabbinate in the first place, and the relationships born out from these moments as well as from communal sharing are incredibly important to me.
Lifecycle moments are things that in general Judaism is fantastic at marking and honouring, and in the case of our mourning rituals in particular, in helping us emotionally process. The power of observing these rituals isn't always obvious until one has done them, but they help to move a person through the emotions that they need to feel, helping them back into living life fully again.
At West London we have a lovely tradition, which I hadn't seen until I began working here, of (usually) welcoming new members, whether they be converts or babies, after the mourners kaddish. This reminds us that although it is important to mourn and to remember, life is always beginning anew, and this, too, is important to ritualise.
As we move next week into the month of Ellul I'll be exploring with my Rosh Chodesh (new moon) group rituals of mourning old and new, helping us honour the cycle every year before the New Year which is rapidly approaching! Sharing these rituals with others, and of course, as I've said before, making them our own, is a constant challenge, and one it is always an honour to be pursuing and empowering others to do to.


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