Something Old and Something New!

It’s Friday evening and it’s been a long week: challenges at work, shuttling the kids around to their activities, managing crises big and small, and simply dealing with the every day balancing act of life. Sounds pretty normal, right? And then comes Shabbat; a beautiful, age-old Jewish gift of rest and renewal that comes prepackaged and ready to use right out of the box! Just add your own special spirit, time set aside for family and friends, and a dash of singing, prayers and good food and, voila!, you have an instant antidote to the crazy, hectic workaday week. A time to slow down, unwind, join with friends and community, and tap into the ancient wisdom of the Universe that understands the value of rest and refreshing the spirit. Like anything in life, there is an effort required to make Shabbat happen for you and your family, but there is also a big reward that will enrich your life as you make Shabbat a regular weekly habit.

So come give Shabbat a try among your Haverim. We have many different Shabbat celebrations for you to experience Whether you join us for F3, the First Friday Family Shabbat, or one (or all!) of the other Shabbats during the month, each week as you enter the sanctuary you will be greeted by friendly faces and warm embraces that help melt away the cares and stress of the week. It truly is a sanctuary; a refuge to reconnect with self and others, a place to remember what is most important in your life. And each week a different special musical leader—maybe it is Dan Tennenbaum or Cantor Shaydel Adler-Eldridge, or Bob Smith or our Shabbat Songleaders—helps to create a welcoming and engaging Shabbat atmosphere to uplift your spirit and renew your energy.

The siddur, our people’s prayerbook, resides at the heart of the synagogue Shabbat experience. The prayerbook is the treasury of the Jewish people’s hopes and dreams, of ancient days, but also for our own times. While the basic structure of the siddur has been fixed for hundreds of years, every generation continues to creatively explore how best to capture and express the spiritual needs and ideals of its day.

We want our synagogue prayerbook to be a beautiful gateway to creating more opportunities for loving Shabbat and holy prayer experiences. That is why our Ritual Committee is thrilled to announce that we are introducing a brand new prayerbook for use in our Friday night services. We feel that Mishkan T’filah (literally, A Holy Dwelling Place for Prayer), the latest siddur published by the Reform Movement, will add a new level of spiritual engagement to our Shabbat services. This beautiful siddur, which has been in use in many Reform congregations for quite a few years, will be a perfect fit for our congregation. It has a lovely lay out, inspiring English readings, clear English translations and Hebrew transliterations to encourage more active and meaningful participation in our Friday night services.

Thanks to the donations given by two extremely generous CBH families, we were able to purchase 36 siddurim immediately and they have just arrived! We hope that you will come and join us at an upcoming Shabbat service to experience the Mishkan T’filah siddur for yourself. We would love to hear your feedback. We will have our first service with our new siddur on Friday, December 13 at our 6 pm service. We hope that each CBH partner will be as enthusiastic about this new siddur as we on the Ritual Committee are. As we build our collection of these new siddurim, we would like to invite partners to consider donating funds to purchase a siddur for each adult in your family. A donation of $36 to the congregation per siddur (with a note that it is for Mishkan T’fillah) will allow us to purchase enough prayerbooks so that soon we will also have enough for use not only for Friday night services but at our b’nai mitzvah celebrations, as well. We will welcome you to donate the money for new siddurim in honor of a special celebration or in memory of a dear loved one. We will place book plates in each siddur noting the special dedication.

We look forward to celebrating many enriching and inspiring Shabbats with you that we hope will add meaning to your family’s Shabbat experiences now and in the future.


Rabbi Greg