Shabbat—The Sabbath

Shabbat Morning at Beth El

Shabbat helps renew our lives and deepen our connections with our community, Israel,our own true souls, and the Holy One of Blessing.

We begin every Shabbat morning with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in words of Torah – engaging with others in pursuit of its meaning in our lives. After the essential tradition of bagels, coffee, juice for all,  four Torah study groups offer us the choice of Hasidic commentary, teachings from our traditional commentators, and – always – valuable commentary from our fellow students of Torah sitting and engaging around the table. Each Torah Hevra (group of friends) begins and ends with prayers of the morning service, giving a continuous flow to our celebration of Shabbat throughout the day.

From Torah study, we move into our community home, our sanctuary, for song, prayer, and dance that bring us to a full celebration of our weekly Shabbat as one community. We bring the Torah itself into our midst, hear its teachings, and set a context for all of life’s celebrations: birth, Bar/bat Mitzvah, marriage, as well as remembering loved ones in the midst of a supportive community.

The morning schedule:

8:45 a.m. Bagels, coffee, tea and welcome

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Torah study throughout the building

10:30a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Morning services for the entire community

Songs, chants, prayer bring us together with psalms of praise and gratitude. A spirited morning service, filled with the Shma and her blessings, dancing to beautiful Shabbat melodies, and a balance of quiet time for reflection.The morning tefilah (standing prayer) gives each of us a personal space and time for the prayers of our hearts and the thoughts of our minds.

torahportion,yad_051806 copyA teaching (D’var Torah) brings us all closer to the words of Torah and Torah closer to our lives. Our fully participatory congregation fulfills the mitzvot (commandments) of Torah by preparing readings from the Torah. At Beth El, each person called to Torah not only chants the beautiful blessings of our tradition but also takes on the wondrous responsibility of reading the words of the Torah portion for the whole community.

We conclude our morning of study and prayer with announcements, the powerful Kaddish, (Mourners prayer) where every individual is invited to share the name of a loved one remembered that week, and – food!

Completing our communal Shabbat experience with a congregant-prepared Kiddush luncheon adds to the true delight of our weekly festival together.

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Beth El has provided me with an opportunity to be both a teacher and a student; a chance to teach our children and to learn from them.
— Sheila G