Whether we pray together or find space for individual reflection, worship services at Beth El offer a combination of joy, high energy and quiet contemplation. With an always developing mix of tradition and creativity, our prayers reflect both the powerful hold of our history and the immediate feelings of the day.
Whether we join together for an early Shabbat evening, Torah study and prayer on Shabbat morning, or our children’s first service with their own prayer books, we fulfill the needs of our congregation to join hands, hearts and voices as one.
Congregation Beth El welcomes families with young children to participate in our many educational and social programs. On Friday evening once a month (generally the first Friday of the month), the J-Start community celebrates Shabbat with a special Tot Shabbat. This family-focused program welcomes Shabbat with blessings and joyful singing. An interactive project and pizza round out an evening of making new friends and having fun! Membership at Beth El is not required to participate in J-Start events. Friends, grandparents, siblings and other extended family members are welcome.
Kabbalat Shabbat at Beth El is an opportunity to connect with each other and enter the sacred time and space that is Shabbat. A niggun, a lilting wordless melody, is an invitation to enter our peaceful sanctuary. We light the Shabbat candles, awaken our senses with a blessing over fragrant spices, and sing psalms as we greet Shabbat and one another. Our unique prayer book, Vetaher Libenu, grounds us in our tradition while allowing for personal meditation, and a teaching draws inspiration from the week’s Torah portion. As the service concludes, we put our arms around as many people as we can reach, and pray for peace with Oseh Shalom. Following the service, our Oneg Shabbat (Sabbath Celebration), supplied on a rotating basis by the members of the congregation, is resplendent with wine, challah, fresh flowers and an array of appetizers and desserts. On one Friday each month, Shabbat at Beth El begins earlier, and invites all members and friends, including families with young children, to share a festive Shabbat meal before services.
Imagine a Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service without prayer books. Imagine you are surrounded by beautiful images of nature, complementing the peaceful view through the sanctuary’s windows. Imagine a choir comprised of your friends and family, fellow congregants and guests all raising their voices in song and prayer. Now open your eyes. You have found all this at Shabbat Rinah (Shabbat of Joyous Song) at Beth El. The third Friday evening each month, we welcome Shabbat in this way with music and dance, prayer, poetry and meditation.
Shabbat Morning – Bagels, Torah Study and Services
On Shabbat mornings before services, Beth El comes alive with song and spirited discussion. Strains of Ma Tovu and blessings beckon learners to immerse in the study of Torah. Three study groups parse the parasha (Torah portion of the week) or explore the meaning of a Hebrew commentary or Midrash. All who are interested in participating are welcome to attend.
Services at Beth El are spirited and participatory. Our clergy guide us through the siddur (prayerbook) and lead us in new and traditional melodies. Members of the congregation are called to the Torah for Aliyot, and read or chant the week’s Torah portion, often in memory or in honor of a loved one or a significant event. Then, with arms around as many people as we can reach, we call out for peace with a rousing Oseh Shalom. Having passed from joy to sadness, and back to joy, we begin our Kiddush luncheon with blessings over wine and challah.
Thursday Morning Minyan
Join us Thursday mornings at 7:00 a.m. for a congregant-led Shacharit (morning) service. Hevra Yom Hamishi (Fellowship of the Fifth Day) has been meeting weekly for nearly three decades. There is a brief 30-45 minute service. The minyan (quorum) provides an opportunity for people to say Kaddish (memorial prayer) for a loved one and mishaberach (healing prayer) for ailing family and friends.