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Lifecycle Events

Patrilineal descent

The idea that one is Jewish if either parent is Jewish and one was raised with Judaism. This contrasts with the traditional idea of matrilineal descent, in which one is Jewish if one’s mother is/was Jewish. Reform Judaism has accepted Jews by patrilineal descent since a Central Conference of American Rabbis resolution in 1983. 



Ceremony that marks the beginning of children’s formal Jewish study; often a synagogue- or community-wide celebration for children and families at the start of the school year; often held as part of Simchat Torah celebrations.



Lit. "oneness." Immediately following the wedding ceremony, the wedding couple often disappear to a private place for yichud. In this seclusion they affirm the unity they have achieved in their hearts and souls under the chuppah. This special time allows them to share their first moments alone as partners before the celebration begins.


An Eastern European ceremony celebrating the marriage of the last child in a family. Seated on chairs in the center of the dance floor, the parents are presented with bouquets and circled by the company in a dance that celebrates the completion of their parental responsibility.


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