WORSHIP AT BETH AM
Reform Judaism seeks to both revive ancient rituals that have modern meaning, and create new ones to mark important moments in our lives, both individually and collectively. Beth Am attempts to combine tradition with creative experimentation by the dynamic participation of our students, congregants and Rabbi. The following are some of the ritual practices at Beth Am which we hope will better acquaint you with our temple.
* We encourage active participation by both men and women equally in all aspects of ritual. Our Children become Bar and Bat Mitzvah at Shabbat morning services. These services are identical for boys and girls.
* Shabbat services are held Friday evenings at 8:00 P.M. and Saturday mornings at 10:30. The first Friday of every month (except July and August) we have a Family Service which begins at 7:30 P.M. to enable younger children to attend. However, parents are encouraged to bring children to all services. The Torah is read at evening and morning services so that worshippers at both services may benefit from its teachings. Besides our regular High Holy Day services, a young children's service, led by the Rabbi and Cantor is held on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur.
* The traditional wearing of the kipah at all services and the tallit at morning services is welcomed at Beth Am.
* Our basic ritual follows that of SHARREI TEFILLAH: GATES OF PRAYER. The combination of modern readings, traditional prayers and responsive readings... in Hebrew and English... has provided a meaningful religious experience for those who do and for those who do not read Hebrew.
* Music at services is lead by the Cantor and is composed of both traditional and modern melodies, with active participation by the congregation encouraged.
* Our Temple follows the Israeli calendar of holiday observances: two days of Rosh Hashannah, one day of all other holidays. Yizkor services are held on Yom Kippur, Simchat Torah, the seventh day of Passover and Shavuot. Our High Holy Day liturgy is from SHAAREI TESHUVAH: GATES OF REPENTANCE.
* Each fall, a special service is dedicated to the consecration of new students in the Religious School, with each child receiving a Torah scroll and an appropriate memento of the event. Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates are scheduled well in advance, with the approval of the Rabbi, Ritual Committee and Education Committee, for those students who meet academic requirements. The Bar / Bat Mitzvah conducts the entire Shabbat morning service and leads the Kiddush on Erev Shabbat (Friday Night).
* We consider Bar / Bat Mitzvah to be a beginning of a new level of Jewish learning; it is not a conclusion of anything but childhood. As such, we expect our students to continue their studies through Confirmation (10th grade).
* Our Rabbi speaks out on all subjects without limitation or censure and encourages congregational feedback on all issues.
On Friday October 29 the Temple conducted a Union Prayer Book Sabbath. This year Reform Judaism is celebrating the 200th anniversary of our first service in Germany. All Jews understand that we cannot fully understand our present-day existence without a good grasp on where we came from; so we hosted a 'Retro Shabbat'. Rabbi Pernick led the service with the assistance of Cantor Marcy Kadin who sang classic shabbat songs and prayers. Originally published in 1940, Beth Am used the book until the late 1970's when it switched to Gates of Prayer.