At Congregation Beth Israel, we seek to enhance our religious lives with greater depth and spirituality, both by incorporating fresh approaches to our traditional religious services and by creating opportunities for spiritual growth outside of synagogue services.
We provide our congregants and visitors with a direct Jewish worship experience by including lay volunteers in the leading of Shabbat and holiday services. Members participate in every aspect of ritual activities, leading services, giving divrei Torah, reading from the Torah, and chanting the Haftarah. We are an egalitarian Conservative congregation and extend all honors to men and women.
In addition to Shabbat services Friday night (twice a month) and every Saturday morning, the complete cycle of High Holy Day services; festival services for Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot; and celebrations for Hanukkah and Purim, complete with megillah reading and lots of fun.
Member households take turns sponsoring tasty Kiddush luncheons after Saturday morning services, providing an opportunity for socializing and friendship. Visitors are always welcome.
Some of the other spiritual programs that have recently been introduced include:
- The institution of a Jewish meditation and chant group that meets on some Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the synagogue;
- A Shabbaton at which a visiting rabbi taught techniques of Jewish meditation;
- The introduction of acoustic instrumental music into certain Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat services;
- The development of Friday evening services with specific themes, such as "Family Shabbat,” in which a family-oriented service is followed by a pareve/dairy potluck Erev Shabbat communal meal.