Dear Friends of CBI,
In a few days Hanukkah will be upon us. The word Hanukkah means dedication. A Hanukat Habayit is the ceremony of affixing a mezuzah when you move to a new home. Hanukkah can be translated as rededication because historically it was tied to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees (Hasmoneans) had reconquered the holy city in 162 BCE (for another view read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maccabean_Revolt). The Temple was rededicated as a place of Jewish worship. And we all know the Talmudic account of the cruse of oil that lasted 8 days.
Hannukah then has an element of rededication in its meaning. As CBI celebrates its centennial as a congregation, what better time to rededicate ourselves to our Beit Haknesset (Hebrew term for synagogue). I have now met with over 15 different gatherings of members as part of my Listening Tour. While I heard many points of view I can safely say there is a strong desire for the congregation to move forward, to rededicate itself to Jewish education (the word for education in Hebrew, Hinuch, has the same root as the word Hanukkah, Chet, Nun, Chaf), to act with kindness, Gemilut Hasadim, and to serve God through renewed worship, Avodat Halev-service of the heart. In today’s message I want to tell you about an opportunity for us to rededicate the worship dimension of congregational life: Specifically, I want to let you know about an upcoming Shabbat morning service that I believe will help to invigorate services at B’nai Israel.
CBI members and the Jewish community of Albuquerque are invited to come to CBI for a special Shabbat Morning Service on Parshat Vayehi, Saturday morning, January 11th at Congregation B’nai Israel. The members of Chavurat Hamidbar will join us for a joint Shabbat morning service.
But this will not be the regular Shabbat morning service we usually conduct. Following the example of Jerusalem’s synagogue, Yakar Yerushalyim, we will have a Kiddush Brunch and Learn after Shahrit (at the conclusion of the Shahrit Amidah at @10am). After a collective Kiddush and Motzi, everyone can choose to enjoy brunch at one of two Torah study sessions. Shlomo Karni from the Chavurah will illuminate the portion of the week. I will do a session on the Blessings of “Enjoyment”(Birchot Hanehenim). Following the brunch and learn, we gather in the sanctuary for the Torah service and a concluding Musaf.
This special format breaks up the long Shabbat morning service with food and rich Torah learning. It allows us to offer exciting learning at the center of the morning service and gives people choices about what they want to learn. We are calling this service Pray, Eat, Learn, Pray: Joint Shabbat Services with Congregation B’nai Israel and Chavurat Hamidbar. Folks with time limits on Shabbat morning can choose to come at any point of the adjusted schedule below. The services will be led by members of both communities. Here is how it breaks down:
- 9:00-9:15a Presukei Dezimra, Preliminary Service
- 9:15-10a Shahrit of Shabbat starting with Shochen Ad
- 10-11a Kiddush Brunch & Two Study Sessions in both social halls
- 11-12:15p Torah service, Torah reading & Musaf in the sanctuary
The end of services will be followed by light refreshments in the foyer for those who want to stay. Because of the brunch and learn, no full Kiddush lunch will follow services.
This format and cooperative venture are an opportunity and an experiment. We have several members who are joint members of CBI and the Chavurah. The Chavurah has many skilled service leaders and Torah readers who will greatly add to our services. We think the format, which is halachically permissible (acceptable according to Jewish law), will increase interest in Shabbat morning services.
We will solicit feedback from participants to see if there is interest in coming together again in this format or in another. For questions, contact Rabbi Gartenberg at [email protected] or Ruthie Maayan of Chavurat Hamidbar at [email protected].
Join us for this special prayer rededication at CBI and experience the joy and spirituality or prayer, study, and a sacred meal together in a new way. I hope you will join us for this special Shabbat.
Hag Urim Same’ach, (A Happy Festival of Lights)
P.S. I am posting a link for a new Shabbat dinner program of 5 Friday Shabbat dinners focused on singing and learning Shabbat melodies starting on Friday, January 10th. Click on the link to learn more and sign up. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050545AAAC2DA4F85-singing. We’ll add childcare if there is demand.