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Life Cycles at PJTC

PJTC is here to support you through all stages of life, in both celebration and times of sorrow.

B'nai MitzvahWeddings | Brit Milah | Baby Naming | Upsherin | Funerals | Conversion | Yahrzeits | Pastoral Care | Healing | Commemorating Life Cycle Events



PJTC has a robust B’nai Mitzvah program, marking the milestone when a child assumes the responsibilities and privileges of Jewish adulthood. Studies begin at Louis B. Silver Religious School. Date selection begins in the child’s 5th grade year, and tutoring begins approximately 10 months prior to the simcha. Students help lead a Sunday morning minyan, Friday evening Shabbat service, and Saturday morning Shabbat service (including a portion of that morning’s Torah reading). For more information on B’nai Mitzvah at PJTC, contact Melissa Levy,

We also offer an Adult B’nai Mitzvah class every few years. For those interested in exploring this option, you must begin by taking the Miller Introduction To Judaism Course listed in the Adult Education section of this program guide. Please also contact Cantor Ruth, to express interest in the next Adult B’nai Mitzvah class.


Rabbi John Carrier, Rabbi Aimee Gerace, and Cantor Ruth Berman Harris are all available to officiate weddings, whether on the PJTC campus or offsite. Our clergy can help you prepare for this joyous occasion by teaching couples the meaning of the ceremony and helping them to design a ceremony that is perfect for them. We also provide counsel, offering Jewish wisdom in preparation for a life dedicated to love and companionship. It is customary for the couple to be called to the bimah for aufruf Aliyah, a blessing on the Shabbat preceding the wedding. 


This powerful ceremony for newborn boys celebrates new life, and also brings our sons into Judaism’s sacred covenant. Our clergy can put you in touch with a mohel (ritual circumciser), help the parents understand the ceremony, and co-officiate.


We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn with a ceremony that brings the child into the covenant and confers upon them a Hebrew name. Our clergy can help you think through and design this meaningful ceremony, which can take place either at home or at the synagogue any day the Torah is read.


An increasingly popular custom, when a Jewish child turns three we cut their hair for the first time. Our clergy, staff, and facilities are all available resources.


Jewish tradition offers several powerful end of life rituals—Kriah (tearing of a garment), Levayah (funeral procession), Hesped (eulogy), Kevurah (burial) and Shiva (seven days of mourning). Our Clergy will instruct you on these and other rituals. We can also perform the funeral ceremony, and help you understand and implement other meaningful Jewish mourning practices. Our clergy are available to officiate funerals and shiva services, our community is here to support each other, and PJTC facilities are available for memorial services.


Rabbi Carrier is available to discuss conversion. We welcome Jews by choice.


A yahrzeit is the yearly anniversary (according to the Hebrew calendar) of a loved one’s death. Jews observe yahrzeit at home the night before by lighting a special long-burning candle in memory of the deceased. It is traditional to avoid attending any celebrations or parties on the day of yahrzeit, and some people fast.

It is customary for our clergy to announce the yahrzeit, or anniversary of a loved one’s passing, at Shabbat services prior to the anniversary. Members may also purchase a memorial plaque, which we illuminate the week of a yahrzeit, at the entrance to our main sanctuary.  Yahrzeit is also observed by reciting the Mourner's Kaddish at services. You are invited and encouraged to let us know the name and yahrzeit of your beloved ones who have departed from us. We will honor their memory by announcing their name prior to reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish during services. May you be comforted among all the mourners of Israel.


We seek to enhance and nurture the spirit of community within our congregation with bikkur cholim (visiting the sick) and by addressing the emotional and/or special needs of all our congregants. Every member plays a role in helping to support and comfort those in need, within our congregation and the larger Jewish community. All are invited to contribute by delivering special greetings at Rosh Hashanah and Pesach, or making phone calls or visits when someone needs a little special attention. We also make an effort to reach out when there is a death in our community—offering assistance with preparations for burial, funeral, a meal of consolation, Shiva, and through the grieving process. Please contact our Rabbi, Cantor or Chaplain if you would like to volunteer, or if you—or anyone you know—needs a little extra attention. We are here for you.
Claire Gorfinkel, Chaplain


The Mi Shebeirach prayer is one of the central Jewish prayers for those who are facing the challenge of illness and includes pleas for both physical and spiritual healing. We invite you to send us the name(s) of loved ones who are facing the challenge of illness, so that we may support them, and you, by inclusion in our communal Mi Shebeirach prayers.

PJTC's Chaplain, Claire Gorfinkel, reaches out to members of our congregation and the wider community who need a little extra attention beyond prayer. For more information, please send an email.


Tree Of Life

Share the happiness of your family’s simchas (happy occasions) by inscribing them on the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center Tree of Life sculpture on the 2nd floor overlooking the main lobby. The golden leaves may be inscribed to highlight or commemorate events such as births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, B'nai Mitzvah celebrations, or to honor living parents, family or friends. You may also have a certificate made with the honoree’s name. 

Click here to download the Tree of Life Order Form.

Communal Tallit Tapestry

Record your blessings in PJTCs special custom crafted tallit, creatively stitched by artist Trudie Strobel, that will wrap our members in the joy and warmth of shared tradition. Mark your place in our temple’s history by permanently inscribing your family’s meaningful events on this communal piece of art.

Click here for more information.

Memorial Wall

PJTC maintains a beautiful memorial wall of plaques bearing the names of our deceased members or deceased loved ones of our members. You can purchase a bronze plaque as a way of honoring your loved one, which also supports PJTC.  Each year the plaque is illuminated on the day or week of the deceased’s yahrzeit.

If you wish to order a Yahrzeit Plaque, please click on the link to fill out the Yahrzeit Plaque order form and click here to pay for the plaque.

Sun, March 26 2023 4 Nisan 5783