Throughout the ages the Jewish people have reached out to God. In the days of our patriarchs and matriarchs we called to God by offering sacrifices. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E., animal sacrifice gave way to placing our “broken hearts” on God’s altar through prayer. Today we continue to seek God through prayer, but our worship experiences have evolved in a variety of ways.
Temple Beth-El provides a variety of worship environments so that every individual and family can find a prayer experience to respond to their needs. Our monthly calendar contains Shabbat Yeladim services for families with toddlers (and their siblings) which introduce children to worship and create a positive relationship with our clergy and temple. Family Services are geared towards those with grade school children. They are an hour in length and utilize contemporary music and song. A “Traditional” service is a rich combination of Hebrew and English, readings and songs. This beautiful, musical service provides an opportunity for reflection and creates a sense of peace for worshippers. For those desiring less formal environments, Alternative Minyan services are held on many Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and during the week on Wednesday mornings.
Through worship our community is strengthened. We draw strength when we share in life-cycle moments, celebrating B’nai Mitzvah, Baby Namings, Weddings and Funerals. We build community by coming together for special programs and guest speakers. We create friendships by partaking in delightful Oneg Shabbats. And we find comfort when our voices are raised together in song.
Music is a vital element of worship. We find peace in the beautiful voice of our Cantor who lifts our spirit to connect with a world beyond our own. We create community when we add our voice to hers. We feel harmony when we listen to our Adult Choir (which is always seeking new members). We become engaged by the melody of the keyboard and guitar. More than anything else, it is music which reaches into our soul and lifts our spirit towards the heavens.
Worship is a central element in the mission of our congregation. It is the way we speak to God, reach out to each other and order our days. It is how we bring peace and serenity into our week. It is the way we build community. It is how we maintain our heritage and carry on our tradition. It is a part of our Jewish lives. And we hope that it will become an integral part of your life with us as well.
Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun