Simchas and Sorrows

Life Cycle Events

baby picture

B’rit Milah

The Torah commands us to circumcise our newborn sons on the eighth day of their lives. This powerful ceremony brings our sons into Judaism’s sacred covenant. At the time of the b’rit, the child is given his Hebrew name. Our Spiritual Leader, Cantor Deborah Martin, can put you in touch with a Mohel (ritual circumciser) or a local physician. She will help the parents understand the ceremony and co-officiate, along with the Mohel or physician. The b’rit can take place in your home, the synagogue, or the hospital.

Baby Naming

We celebrate the great blessing of a newborn daughter with a ceremony that brings her into the covenant, and confers upon her a Hebrew name. Cantor Martin will help you design this ceremony, which can take place either at home or at the synagogue. It can be done as a part of a regular Shabbat service on Friday night or during the week.

Anson baby naming

Bar / Bat Mitzvah

Bar/Bat Mitzvah signifies moving from childhood to adulthood, from learning to be responsible to being responsible. As son or daughter of the commandments, you commit yourself to be proud membership in our ancient people. Young people usually have completed training in our Sunday and Hebrew school, and adults will study with Cantor Martin.


Students who continue past Bar/Bat Mitzvah for three years are confirmed usually at the end of tenth grade. A service is held on the Shabbat closest to Shavuot which the students help lead. For more information contact our Education Director, Carrie Barbakoff.

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wedding picture


Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha provides pre-marital counseling for couples as part of the preparation for the beautiful wedding ceremony under the chuppah (wedding canopy). Cantor Martin is certified through the Prepare/Enrich pre-marital program. We welcome all Jewish and Jewish-adjacent couples, LGBTQIA couples, and all cultures. Cantor Martin will help you choose a ceremony reflecting your wishes. Weddings can be held in the synagogue or another place of your choice.

Death and Mourning

Cantor Martin will help you through the process in planning a funeral. She can also perform the funeral ceremony, and help you understand and implement other meaningful Jewish mourning practices.