Tell us a story of a loved one’s life
I don’t get to do it very often, but when I can, I always enjoy visiting synagogues and worshiping on Shabbat with other congregations. While I enjoy the Sabbath experience and the chance to be a Jew in the pew, I must admit that I’m also on a bit of research assignment, in search of new ideas, new ways to be more welcoming and new melodies to share with the cantor. Usually, such experiences reassure me that here at B’nai Israel good things are taking place and the worship that we’ve created is working pretty well.
One summer I attended services at Temple Micah in Washington, D.C. My son Jonathan was interning with a colleague (and friend) of mine, Rabbi Daniel Zemel. Danny is one of the most creative rabbis I know, so not only was it a terrific opportunity for Jonathan, but it was a great chance for me to experience Temple Micah. The early Kabbalat Shabbat and “pre-Oneg” that we began several years ago and has enriched and increased participation was based on the Temple Micah model.
It was a lovely service, and there were a few easy takeaways and one nice new idea that I thought we’d try.
We like to hear stories of people’s lives. Each week at Yahrzeit time, we read a long list of names of people who some of us know, but who remain anonymous to most of us. I’d like to give one or two people each week the opportunity to share a memory of a loved one by speaking a few words about the person just before Kaddish is read. We will ask you to write out your remarks and limit them to 200-300 words (about two minutes). We’ll do this on a first-request basis on either Friday night or Saturday at 8:00 a.m. The hope, of course, is that by sharing a story and memory, the rest of the congregation will get to know both you and your loved one a little better.
I hope you’ll take advantage of this new idea. And by the way, if you visit other communities and have suggestions as to ways to enhance our worship services, we’d love to hear from you.
Rabbi James Prosnit