Reinvigorating Friday Night Services

In my very first D’var article, one year ago, I shared one of my favorite liturgical passages.  It is the one I use as both a reminder and a guide that every day, we are granted a new beginning.  Each morning before the Shema, we say “u’v’tuvo m’chadesh b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh v’reisheet – Day after day in God’s goodness God renews creation.”  If we believe that we are created in God’s image, and if God renews creation every day, it follows that we also have the ability to renew and to create.

I have been reflecting on this passage quite often over the last year, both personally, as Danny and I have begun to create our lives on the West Coast, and professionally.  Over the last year, I have had the pleasure of beginning to get to know many of you.  We have started to have conversations about where we see Beth David heading in the future, and I am looking forward to continuing those discussions. 

This past January, I was heartened by how many people gathered in the Beit Tefillah on a cold and rainy night to talk about possibilities for reinvigorating, renewing, and recreating our Friday night services.  I am excited that beginning in September, we will have a calendar of varied Friday night programs and services that speak to many of the needs raised in that meeting.

While the calendar is not fully set yet, here is what we plan to offer on a rotating basis:

Shabba-tot – a mini-service geared toward young children and their families, filled with Shabbat songs and stories.

Family Shabbat – an abridged service with plenty of singing aimed at school-aged children and their families, and often followed by a potluck dinner.

Cocktails and Kabbalat Shabbat – happy hour followed by services for young adults.

Neshama l’Shabbat – a combination of prayer, exercise, and meditation to welcome in Shabbat, using both body and soul.

Musical Kabbalat Shabbat – a participatory service accompanied by live music.

Speaker Shabbat – services followed by dinner and a speaker geared toward adults.

Traditional Shabbat – our traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Shabbat at Home – on these nights, the focus will be on celebrating Shabbat in one another’s home, and there will not be a service at Beth David.  We will be happy to provide resources for how to make Shabbat accessible and meaningful.  When we have Shabbat at Home, you will have the opportunity to host or to be hosted.  We hope that Shabbat at Home will help people connect to the spirit of Shabbat and to one another.

Even the services targeted at specific demographics will be open to everyone, and there will be the opportunity to say Mourner’s Kaddish for those who wish.  The services will be offered at different times, so please make sure to consult our weekly bulletin and the calendar.  In an effort to relaunch our Friday nights, we will not be holding Friday night services during July and much of August. 

In the meantime, please join us for the following Friday night services:

· May 31 at 5:30 – Shabba-tot

· June 7 at 6:00 – Pride Shabbat with the local synagogues.  Please note that this service will be held at Congregation Shir Hadash (20 Cherry Blossom Lane, Los Gatos)

· June 14 at 6:30 – Traditional Shabbat

· June 21 at 6:30 – Traditional Shabbat

· June 28 – Neshama l’Shabbat

· And please mark your calendar for BBQ and Barchu on August 23

As we pilot these exciting programs next year, we will be looking for feedback so that we can provide meaningful ways for you to welcome in Shabbat.

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