I hope to see you tonight and throughout the weekend as we learn about Yiddish culture and language with Max Edwards. (If you didn’t see this last weekend, take a look to learn more: http://lancasteronline.com/features/faith_values/oy-vey-scholar-to-teach-yiddish-at-shaarai-shomayim/article_14832142-b8bd-11e7-ad94-4bfca47edfad.html.)
I want to invite and encourage you to join us next Friday night (11/3) as well. Here’s what’s on the agenda. It’s a First Friday. As we did for the First Friday in September, I would like to encourage all of you to bring your own candlesticks and candles. We’ll light our candles together to begin our evening. After the service (always only one hour on First Friday), we will gather for a Shabbat dinner in the social hall. (We do need a sign up in advance. See your Temple bulletins for details.) And even that’s not the end of the evening. After we’ve eaten, we’ll do a little study and engage in some conversation together. The invitation is for you to come to any or all of these pieces. Arrive at 6, 7, or 8, and stay for whatever pieces work for you and your families. I hope that throughout the evening and on Shabbat morning for our Themes from Genesisprogram, we will see many of you finding your sha’ar, your gateway, into Shabbat and into our congregation. As always, I hope you’ll invite your friends to join you and join us in this little sample of what the world-to-come can be.
Do you remember the “choose your own adventure” books? Basically, at the end of each page, you had to make a choice and in that way, you constructed your own story with multiple possible outcomes. I would love for you to choose your own Shabbatexperience in the same way. We are not Orthodox. There is little in terms of “you must.” There is, however, a lot of opportunity to grow, learn, rest, and connect each and every Friday night and Saturday. Since September, we have had a variety of experiences right here in our Temple. Here’s one for your home, though. We will be designating 2 Friday nights this spring, March 23 and April 6 when, instead of my being here leading services, I will be going to someone’s home to help create a meaningful Shabbat evening experience. You have to be prepared to host me and at least 10 congregants (not 10 families—that would be more than we could ask of anyone!). Of course, you can invite more, and include people from outside our congregation also. I won’t be dictating what the evening will be—we’ll construct that together. You can cook dinner, cater dinner, or do a potluck for dinner. You can make this for people you already know, or for a group that is connected only by being Jewish and being connected here. You can choose people from a single demographic, or create a more diverse experience. Reach out to me if you have more questions or if you would like to choose one of these dates.
I’m thrilled about this new possibility, and look forward to expanding our collective Shabbat repertoire.
Shabbat Shalom u’m’vorach. Have a Shabbat of peace and of blessing.
Jack P. Paskoff,