All in-person gatherings including holiday celebrations have been canceled for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, but our b’nei mitzvah students continue to learn and grow. Please contact us if you wish to share your life cycle event with the community via Zoom, and attend our First Friday Zoom gatherings to see presentations and hear talks from the young people in the b’nei mitzvah program. 

The Jewish Cultural Society gathers for baby and child naming, b’nei mitzvah, weddings, and funerals/memorial services. Our madrikha works with each individual and family to craft a ceremony and experience that meets the needs of the people involved and to reflect our Jewish heritage while remaining respectful to other traditions.

Baby Namings

The Secular Humanistic Jewish movement provides identical ceremonies for boy and girl babies. In a brief ceremony written by the parents with the help of Julie Gales, our madrikha, the baby is named and good wishes are proffered for her or his future. The ceremony can be private or open to the community. Babies may be named at home, at the Jewish Community Center, or during a First Friday Shabbat gathering. If a circumcision will be performed, it is generally done in the hospital before the baby comes home.

B’nei Mitzvah

The JCS b’nei mitzvah program is a unique and meaningful experience for the young adult and their families. Candidates work very hard for two years to earn the privilege of becoming b’nei mitzvah. 

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Adult B’nei Mitzvah

Adults wishing to confirm their Jewish commitment or to make a public commitment to Jewish life, may celebrate such a ceremony after appropriate study and action. The ceremony is written by the participants with the help of Julie Gales. The ceremony may be conducted on a Saturday morning or during a First Friday Shabbat gathering.


Wedding ceremonies are written by the couple with help from Julie Gales, who is ordained by the Leadership Conference of Secular Humanistic Jews. Ceremonies honor and integrate Jewish traditions (chuppah, wine, breaking of the cup) and can incorporate traditions from multiple cultures. The goal of the wedding ceremony is to celebrate the loving union of two people. We celebrate interfaith, intercultural, and same-sex marriage. Co-officiations are welcome.

Funerals and Memorial Observances

The Jewish Cultural Society Memorial Garden is located at Arborcrest Cemetery. Our gravesites can accommodate cremated remains as well as conventional burial. Funerals can take place in such facilities as the nondenominational Muehlig Funeral Chapel in Ann Arbor, or the traditional Jewish Kaufman Funeral Home in Southfield. Memorial observances can also be held at the Jewish Community Center or at home.