Over the last few years, the worship committee and clergy have been exploring ideas for changes to Shabbat services.  A few years ago we introduced 4th Friday Kabbalat Shabbat services – with a 6:00pm oneg followed by a 6:30pm short service.  These services have been a great success and will continue to take place.

The second change was to have a 2nd Friday community dinner and service -  Shabbat Kehillah – with dinner at 6:00pm and the service at 7pm.  The dinners were lovely but many were not as well attended as we had hoped.  And while trying desperately to offer dinners at a low price to encourage more to attend, we found ourselves not always covering expenses for these events.

So starting this month, we are changing the 2nd Friday format to be more like our 4th Fridays. “[The 2nd Friday services are] similar, but not exactly the same as the one on the 4th Fridays”, explains Kathy Bezinovich, chair of the worship committee.  Like a 4th Friday, there will be a kiddish/oneg at 6:00pm and service at 6:30pm. The second Friday services will also be musical, however it will feature different musical groups and the service formats may vary month to month.

This change will make our schedule more predictable – 6pm oneg/kiddish and 6:30pm services on all even weeks, 8pm services followed by an oneg on the odd weeks. 

We haven’t abandoned the idea of holding community dinners, in fact just the opposite.  It’s now possible to schedule a dinner for any of the odd Fridays (dinner at 6:30 followed by an 8pm service), which will give us more time to enjoy the Shabbat meal without feeling rushed.

It will also be possible to schedule a congregational dinner after a 6:30 service time, although this will incur some additional expenses.  Contact the office for more information.

If you’re a Saturday morning “regular” you will have noticed another change we’ve made for Shabbat morning services.  As a way of welcoming the bar or bat mitzvah young adult into our community, all the members of the congregation present are now called up to the bima for the first Aliyah. This underscores the idea that Shabbat is a time for us to all celebrate as a community, and to be present as a community to help families celebrate their life events.

In our service we often read the words of Abraham Joshua Herschel:

“The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.”

I hope the changes we’ve made in our various services will help make it easier for you to come celebrate this special time with us.



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