For many years, congregants have asked that we change our traditional 8:15 PM service time to an earlier time for them to be able to pray and then go home to eat dinner. Others have expressed their desire for the service time to stay at 8:15 PM so they may have time to get home from work, enjoy dinner and then attend services. In order to make it possible for more congregants and guests to enjoy
services, starting in August, we will offer two service times twice a month in order to better accommodate more congregants in their desire for services.
When we have an 8:15 PM service, led by a rabbi and the choir, we will also have a 6:45 PM option (but no Torah service) for those who care for a shorter service. This 6:45 PM option will be experimental in nature. It will usually have a theme and will be something “outside the box.” This will not always be a comfortable service to attend as sometimes it may not be as restful or prayerful as one may expect. For instance, some services will be filled with drumming and chanting. Others will be more meditative. The chairs will not be in their usual positions and we may be seated in a circle or in a small group for study. Each service will be different, and the main idea of the service will be to explore various modes of worship which we have not been able to do within a traditional service format. These services will be led by a rabbi, but no professional musicians or official board representative will be present.
The 6:45 PM service will last no longer than 45 minutes and will be followed by an Oneg Shabbat. The Oneg following the 6:45 PM service will also be a “pre-neg” where those who come early for the 8:15 PM service can say Kiddush and enjoy wine, challah and cookies as well. There will still be a smaller and more limited Oneg following the later service, but the main Oneg will be in between the two services on those nights. Kaddish will be recited at both services.
The third week of the month, tots and other young children will be welcome to come to the 6:45 PM early service, as the service will be geared to a younger audience and tots will be able to be successfully integrated at that service. We will also be adding a Saturday Tot Shabbat service and activity once a month for families that would like a morning option for Jewish worship and play. There will no longer be a separate Tot Shabbat service on Friday nights as we want children to be integrated into the fabric of the congregation at the earlier service. To that end, there will be babysitting for the 7:30 PM services as well as the 8:15 PM service, but not for the 6:45 PM service as everyone is encouraged to attend. We will still be having a once a month Family Shabbat Service that will begin at 7:30 PM and will be led by our junior choir and Cindy.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah families whose services fall on nights with two services, can choose to have their child do the honors at either time, but will still be responsible for the full Oneg in between.
We’re looking forward to the many new and exciting endeavors we are undertaking in the months and years to come.