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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


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Shabbat services and Torah Study have pivoted to virtual worship and learning via Zoom. Please join us!

Rabbi Cohen will offer Shabbat morning davening and Torah Study. The davenning will be a one-hour service modified for Zoom. On the Torah study mornings we will explore the weekly Torah portion. He will make a PDF version of an abridged siddur that you will be able to download and print. It is recommend that you do this so we don't have to move through the siddur online.


When we are able to gather in person, 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

  • Anniversary celebrations

  • Yahrzeit commemorations

  • Board Member & volunteer acknowledgments

  • Veterans’ recognition service


Torah Study

When a rabbi 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.