Your Shabbat Guest​


     It has been a while since I recorded any Notes From The Road.  Much has been happening. The musings below reflect the many challenges of Jewish life in “small town” California.

                       As shared in an earlier post, making a Minyan throughout Shabbat is an ongoing effort.  Calls are made to each and every household on our congregational mailing list.  These calls are followed up by a weekly e-bulletin that announces the start time for services – and any special happenings over the coming weekend.

     Recently, when we made a Minyan for both Friday night and Shabbat morning services, the energy of those assembled was palpable.  Singing, chanting, and learning are so greatly enhanced with a Minyan.

     What stands in the way of making a Minyan each and every weekend?  First, there are many “competing” events – high school mock trials and football games, Academic Decathlon practice, study groups for AP classes, and of course adults being “on call” for medically-related jobs.  These are the items that top the list of Minyan obstacles.

     Second on our list is the sheer numbers - or lack thereof.  Counting on the same people week - in and week - out leads to some feeling "Shul fatigue."

     Another hurdle for our congregation is Hebrew and Bima Literacy.  We have many members who are new, or recently returned to any form of Jewish life and practice.  Members are participating in a multi-Sunday series of Hebrew Reading classes … and it’s making a difference.

     These sessions are specifically focused on bringing correct pronunciation to the Hebrew for Torah blessings before and after Aliyot - an appreciation on the part of congregants for the awe and majesty of standing before the congregation with an open Torah Scroll, lifting and dressing the Torah, and more!

     The first of our Bima Choreography Workshops was held last Shabbat (12/6) and was a great success.  As a congregation, we look forward to standing before God and Torah with grace, dignity, and precision.

     Over the past few months, we have engaged in passionate Torah discussions.  The early chapters of Genesis have provided a backdrop for rich discussions on Faith, Family, Sibling Rivalry and Competition, and a host of other topics.

     As mentioned in earlier posts, ours is a congregation that LOVES to spend time together.  For some in the Kehillah, Oneg Shabbat time is as important as the actual service itself.  It is during this post-worship time that friendships are forged, weeknight dinner plans are made, and a sense of weekly continuity is established. 

     Our next Shabbat together is Shabbat Hanukah.  I am planning a series of sessions with our group focusing on Jewish Life Challenges and the quest to dedicate (and re-dedicate) ourselves to a stronger Jewish community. 

     Stay tuned for more Notes From The Road! 

     And should you be in Bakersfield for Shabbat any time soon, please come and visit.  Kabbalat Shabbat begins at 7:30pm on Friday evenings.  Shabbat morning services begin at 10:00am.

Notes from the Road