We have been working on a new website for the synagogue. I met with our web designer and told him we needed a good photo of food because we Jews love food. The look on his face was difficult to read, but I’d say it was disbelief, or something more. I was soon vindicated when the web designer’s sophisticated software showed us the word most used in a Google search along with “synagogue” is “oneg.” Surprised? Probably not.
We have heard you, dear friends. While we have an oneg every Shabbat, we decided to make it even more special by having everyone participate in the oneg. Even more food! Food, glorious food! We’re calling it Share Shabbat and we will have one the first Friday of each month. We are starting at 6:00pm on Fridays now that standard mountain time is in effect. Bring your favorite dish to share!
“Meet a Member” is another bright idea our Board came up with recently. Our congregation has so many interesting folks. Why not introduce us on a regular basis? One member will introduce themselves on the second Friday of the month through a brief talk during Shabbat service. Please let me or Rabbi Martin know if you’d like to present. Don’t be shy. We want to get to know you!
Finally, enough folks have requested Saturday morning Shabbat services that the Rabbi has decided to give it a try. We will skip Friday night services on the third Friday of the month and have Saturday morning Shabbat service instead. Perhaps Saturday morning service will better fit into more people’s schedules.
Rabbi Gail Labovtiz, PhD, Jewish Theological Seminary, asks, “How do we ‘do’ Shabbat? What positive act do we take to ‘make Shabbat’?” We assemble. We gather together in community. Shabbat does not happen, actively or otherwise, only at the level of individual Jews, each refraining from his or her ordinary occupations and activities. It is not truly Shabbat until each of those Jews uses that freed up time to join together, in harmony, with other Jews, to pray, to learn, to eat, to talk (and yes, to love).”
We are trying these new things to bring community back into our sanctuary. It seems attendance has still not bounced back even though the Covid numbers have been low. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We are safer gathering now than we’ve been in a long time. Please come to Shabbat services. My brother, Cantor Ephraim, is retiring at the end of this year. We are confident we will have music on Friday nights. However, no one will ever replicate Cantor Ephraim’s piano playing and singing, the joy and devotion to Hashem he brings, and his wonderful musicianship.
Remember the message of the Maccabees as we approach Chanukah. “Community. Solidarity. Resilience.” Celebrate Chanukah with us on December 18th. Come say goodbye to Cantor Ephraim. Let’s have some latkes and light the menorah! Let’s enjoy each and every moment we all have together.
All the best, Elisheva Herrera