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Rabbi Micah's Visit, February 9 and 10
On Friday evening, February 8th at 6:00 PM, Rabbi Micah will host a Kabbalat Shabbat gathering which begins with prayerful singing at 6:15 pm and continues with a freshly cooked Kosher chicken dinner. As this tradition has evolved, it is a great way to meet community members, engage in conversation, sing, and lift spirits at the end of the week. When food is involved, it's important to RSVP by calling (442-9645) or emailing so we'll know how much delicious food to make for dinner.
The Shabbat morning service on February 9th at 10:00 AM is a more traditional style service and Torah Discussion. Kiddush will follow the service at noon in the social hall.
One of Rabbi Micah's favorite passtimes is cross country skiing at Prospect Mountain in Woodford. He has chosen Saturday, February 9th as Beth El's ski or snowshoe afternoon, followed by Havdalah and supper.
We'll be gathering at 3:00PM for a late afternoon ski (adults $16.00, seniors and juniors $14.00 and kids under 5 are free.)
Dinner and Havdalah will begin at 6:00 PM. Please bring a side dish, dessert or drink to share. As always, when food is involved, please RSVP by calling (442-9645) or emailing so we'll know how much delicious food to make for dinner. We will reschedule for March 9th in case of inclement weather. L'shalom.
CBE's Shabbat Philosophy
Every week, the arrival of the Sabbath invites rest and rejuvenation for the soul. Each Shabbat is a wonderful opportunity for spiritual reflection, for deepening meaningful social connections and for fostering personal growth, fulfillment, and peace.
Shabbat Morning Services
Saturdays, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Kiddush following services.
A typical Shabbat morning emphasizes Hebrew liturgy punctuated by interpretive readings, familiar melodies, a d’var Torah or discussion of the weekly Torah portion and a light kiddush following services. Services may be led by the rabbi or lay-led. Occasionally, we take the Shabbat morning experience outdoors, going on a Shabbat hike along one of the gorgeous trails in our area. On any given week, there are a variety of ways to participate in a Shabbat service. Some of these include accepting an aliyah, chanting Torah, giving a d’var Torah (teaching), offering a reading, leading part of the service, or sponsoring kiddush, which is a particularly great way to share Shabbat joy and fellowship with others in the community. Please contact the office if you wish to participate or provide wine, challah and refreshments for kiddush.
At various times during the year, we enhance the spirit of Shabbat with celebrations or commemorations of lifecycle moments, community milestones or current events. As with any Shabbat service, these particular occasions are also public occasions that serve to remind us of the vital role we each play as participants in co-creating and sustaining Jewish community. To this end, we welcome and encourage you to contact us if you are thinking of marking a personal lifecycle event, interested in marking an meaningful historical moment, or interested in addressing a current topic of importance to our community. Here are some of the ways that celebrations and commemorations occur during Shabbat services:
Baby naming ceremonies
Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations
Board Member & volunteer acknowledgments
Veterans’ recognition service
Three or four times a month, when Rabbi Micah is not with us, Congregation Beth El will hold an informal Torah study group. This is not a class -- it is simply another way to celebrate Shabbat, and everyone is welcomed to attend. The group will read the triennial portion of the current parshah in English. Conversation will be respectful of our traditions, and consider contemporary, historical, spiritual, moral. political, and cultural themes. We will also say kaddish for those who are in mourning or who are recognizing a yahrzeit.
As a lay group, we will bring all of our knowledge and ignorance to the discussion, and explore the meaning of Torah as best we can. Before getting together, attendees are encouraged (but not required) to read the parshah independently. Use our familiar Etz Chaim, or any other chumash, or read the parshah on the web.
If you wish to prepare a dvar Torah and lead the discussion, or if you can provide kiddush, that’s great. And if you wish to say kaddish on a particular occasion, we will make an effort to assemble a minyan. Please call or email the CBE office administrator at least a week ahead so we can coordinate with you. Check the CBE calendar for the next Torah Study.
Contemplative Shabbat Service
A few times each year we hold a Contemplative Shabbat Service which differs significantly from the customary Shabbat service at Beth El by taking a slower-paced and more meditative approach to prayer. The contemplative service incorporates chanting, silence and study and progresses through certain focal points related to Shabbat as a day of rest and renewal. As a heart-centered prayer experience, the contemplative service is an opportunity to explore a different mode of Jewish spirituality.
Erev Shabbat - Friday Night Services
While we do not hold a regular Friday night Shabbat service in our sanctuary at Beth El, we do gather periodically for Friday night services in members’ homes, where the service is followed by a potluck dinner and discussion. For families with young children, there is Family Shabbat Connection, a monthly gathering filled with Shabbat music, art, blessings and friendship.
Past Shabbat Programs
Shabbat In Action:
With support from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Shabbat-in-Action emphasized engaging all segments of the Beth El community – children, teens, parents and adult congregants – in social action-based Jewish experiences using the model of service learning, which pairs study of Jewish texts with volunteer experiences. Shabbat-in-Action expands the boundaries of Jewish spiritual activity from the synagogue to the wider community with a distinctively Jewish approach, by building new relationships between congregants and many local people doing important work in the wider community. Through studying and practicing mitzvot and Jewish values, Shabbat-in-Action gives context and meaning to volunteering, empowering participants to experience a holistic Judaism which unites learning, service, spiritual practice and community partnership as core expressions of Jewish identity. During Shabbat-in-Action programs, we have explored issues such as hunger, homelessness, honoring elders, sustainability and have partnered with organizations such as the Center for Living and Rehabilitation, the Kitchen Cupboard Food Pantry and the Good Shepherd Emergency Shelter.
Green Mountain Shabbat:
With support from the Legacy Heritage Foundation, Green Mountain Shabbat emphasized a variety of programming throughout the day evening to allow congregants to engage with Shabbat in different ways. . Each month, Green Mountain Shabbat offered intergenerational activities: classes, services, workshops, performances led by congregants and volunteers. The variety of options varied, including offerings such as Torah-yoga, cooking, and art projects, adult congregants, parents, children and teens tap into a dynamic experience of Shabbat community: learning together, teaching together, doing tikkun olam together, and having fun together. Green Mountain Shabbat also incorporated programs designed to enhance Israeli engagement and connection, through prayer, discussion and art. At the end of the day, we gathered for a closing Havdalah service and community dinner.