Sign In Forgot Password

A Summer Shabbat: Join us for some new experiences

This summer we are going to experiment with a different format for our Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat services and gatherings for the months of July and August. For these two months, all of our services will begin at 6:45 pm with the goal of each service lasting one hour or less. Arrive at 6:30 pm and join us for some informal socializing in the lobby with some light refreshments, especially helpful to tide over those who are coming directly from work.  

Instead of the usual oneg Shabbat (the dessert reception) after the service, the earlier start time during the lightest, warmest days of the year are aimed at encouraging our members to socialize over a relaxed Shabbat dinner after the service. For some of you, that might mean going home to eat with your family or reaching out to a few people in the community and inviting them to join you. For some it might mean going out for dinner with others. As a congregation, we'll also be working to set up some options for people to join a pre-planned gathering by signing up a few days in advance with a point person who might be hosting a pot-luck or reserving a table at a restaurant. If you would be interested in being the point person for a week during July or August, please be in touch with me by email or phone so that we can assign you a week and make it easy for people to get in touch with you. We also plan to have at least two opportunities during these summer months that are particularly aimed at our families with younger children, with a pot-luck picnic at 6 pm, prior to the 6:45 pm service.

It's not always easy to protect the preciousness of the Shabbat experience in Jewish community life today. Secular society pulls us in many other directions on Friday nights. For many who are working, it is hard to go out again after returning home at the end of a long week. But within the ethos of Reform Judaism there isn't just one way to celebrate Shabbat. Trying to get to the essence -- time to simply be and spiritually recharge, time to come together with community, time for family, or a delicious meal -- all these are the elements that are precious to Shabbat and qualitatively nourish our souls. So we at Congregation B'nai Shalom want to try different things to invite and encourage our members to find a way to bring a little more Shabbat into their lives. The hectic pace of our lives often slows a little over the summer, so this is the perfect time to try something new. I hope you'll join us whenever you can.

I'm grateful to the various groups from our lay leadership who have facilitated our trying this experiment this summer: to our Sisterhood who usually oversees the volunteers for an oneg who will be helping us with the light refreshments prior to our summer services; to our Board Members who continue to help set us up for our Shabbat service and greet all those who join us on a Friday night; to our Membership team who are providing some of the after-service dinner options to help get us started with this new approach; and to our Ritual Practices Committee who thought through the various implications of the idea and gave us the green light to proceed with this experiment.

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz
rabbi [at]


Sat, May 26 2018 12 Sivan 5778