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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Aft- Religious Practices Update

05/15/2015 10:33:54 AM




Dear Friends,


Recently we had another meeting of the religious practices committee under the leadership of Carolyn Kaplan.  A number of members of the committee came, some of the Shabbat morning regular worshippers attended, and I received some written comments and other feedback.


Our subject was the Shabbat morning worship service.  Based upon the recommendation of the religious practices committee, the board endorsed the suggestion that our Shabbat morning worship service be a two-hour spiritual experience.  (When there is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the time can be flexible since there are personal additions at these special occasions).


Our discussion was very interesting as we dealt with the issue of not only how to make the service shorter, but more importantly, how to make the service on Shabbat morning more meaningful.  This will be a work in progress but I hope that folks will join us now and throughout the summer.  We continue to be open to suggestions about ways to make our spiritual experiences more inspiring for members of our congregation.  It is clear that we bring many different spiritual needs to our worship services and "one size doesn't fit all."  However, it is clear that different suggestions were, are, and will be taken seriously.


So.... please DON'T NOT come because you think the services on Shabbat morning are long and even boring.  Please come, participate, and then give us your feedback.  Carolyn and I are eager to hear from you.


One suggestion that was made by Maurice Mizrahi, which we will be trying, is based upon a worship experience he had when he was younger.  When the Torah is returned to the Ark, we will not be processing around the congregation, but will be returning the Torah directly to the Ark.  We will invite anyone who wishes to join us by the Ark to come forward and have a private moment in front of the Ark to offer a personal prayer silently while we sing Aitz Chaim.


You will also notice that our d'var Torah will often be a discussion where we interact together about some aspect of the Torah reading and how it impacts in our modern world.


Another change, which we have already tried, is to only do the Kedusha and Yismechu during the Musaf Amidah since these are prayers we do not include in the morning or shacharit Amidah.


You will also notice that we are once again singing the prayer for Israel because a former member, George Henschel, composed the melody we use and there is a desire for the service to include special Adat Reyim minhagim or customs.


Finally, we will continue to travel throughout the world when we sing Adon Olam and include melodies from many different places in the world, courtesy of Maurice.


Once again, please join us and share your traditions!  We are a spiritual experience in progress!!!


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Bruce Aft

Congregation Adat Reyim


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Springfield, VA 22152


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