You CAN take it with you.
All around the country, people are going on vacation and leaving their synagogues behind with empty seats and high air conditioning bills. Not here at The Conservative Synagogue! Here we are looking forward to a vibrant summer of services and learning.
I find the summertime to be a particularly uplifting season spiritually and Jewish-ly. The days are long, and invite quiet moments of contemplation along with frolicking times of family fun. In these warm days we often feel the blessings of God all around us. What an opportunity.
One of my favorite activities in the summertime is to be “out there” in nature. I love hiking, camping, biking, boating – you name it. Anywhere with a view or a sunset, and I am happy. And I always leave room in my backpack for my siddur (Prayer Book), Tallit (Prayer Shawl), Shabbat Candles, Havdalah set and tefillin!
You see, you can take it with you. And what’s more, you should. In Siddur Sim Shalom, you will find a wonderful section entitled Berakhot (Blessings) for Various Occasions on pages 708-713. Smelling the fragrance of various plants, flowers or fruit can be an opportunity to “sense” God’s presence, and we have a blessing for that! When you find yourself in a July thunder and lightning storm, we have a blessing for that! When you see the ocean, we have a blessing for that! Or even when you see a particularly beautiful scenery or person, we have a blessing for that too!
So many of us – too many – only come to synagogue or Judaism at sad or somber moments: A funeral, or Yom Kippur. Here we have the chance to express our Judaism at a barbeque, at the beach and in community at synagogue when nothing is happening except for a normal and uplifting Shabbat service.
And the summer is a great time for learning. Some of us read books that have waited all year. Let’s put Judaism on that list as well.
In July, I will teach on three shabbatot in a row on the themes of Creation, Revelation, and Divine Actions. We’ll enjoy the longer days of summer by lingering as a community after lunch.
And most importantly, we have a blessing for striking out on a journey. “…Guide us in peace, sustain us in peace, lead us to our desired destination in health and joy and peace, and bring us home in peace… for You listen to prayer and supplication. Praised are You, Adonai, who hears prayer.”
With these blessings on your lips, I wish you a sweet, healthy and meaningful summer.
Rabbi Robert L. Tobin
This Shabbat, the Torah portion is Parashat Balak.
Service times are as follows:
Friday, July 6
Candlelighting is 8:13 p.m.
Friday Evening Service at 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 7
Shabbat morning services: 9 a.m.
Mincha, study with Rabbi Tobin, Maariv and Havdallah 8:10 p.m.
Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
Mornings Monday – Friday: 7 a.m.
Evenings Sunday – Thursday: 8 p.m.
Upcoming Programs at B’nai Shalom
A three- part Lunch n Learn series on Rational Judaism with Rabbi Tobin
Saturday, July 7 – Creation
Saturday, July 14 - Revelation
Saturday, July 21 – Personal Providence
All discussions will take place during Kiddush, following Shabbat morning services. All are welcome.
Tisha B’Av - Saturday evening, July 28- 9 p.m.
Read the Book of Lamentations and observe the beginning of this day of mourning with a moving presentation
Sunday, July 29- Observance of Tisha B’Av with reading of Eicha at morning minyan at 9 a.m.
Evening service and end of Fast
Thursday, August 2
Trip to Lower Manhattan with Rabbi Tobin as the guide. Visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Fraunces Tavern Museum and much more. Discover a slice of Jewish History and American Colonial History in one day. Bus will leave B’nai Shalom at 9 a.m. and return by 3 p.m. Kosher box lunch available for purchase in advance.
$36 members, $50 nonmembers
Call to reserve a spot on the bus – (973) 731-0160 ext. 207.