Rabbinic Reflection: Rabbi Eliza McCarroll
Our Shabbat liturgy is filled with the language of welcome.
During Lecha Dodi, we stand and face the entrance, and bow as we sing:
Boi b’shalom, ateret ba’alah, gam b’simcha u’v’tzahola, toch emunei am segulah, boi kala, boi kalah.
“Come O bride, crown of her betrothed, enter in joy and in peace, into the people that keeps its faith, enter, O bride!”
It is perhaps no surprise then that this Shabbat was full of special moments of welcoming. On Friday night, it was members of our YAD (Young Adult Division), who joined for Kabbalat Shabbat before enjoying their first proper dinner back at HBT since the pandemic. Then, on Shabbat morning, new members attended either the Mishkan or the Family Service and were hosted at a reception in the Garson/Baskin Gallery.
The scene was palpable, as both our sacred spaces and our communal areas became animated with life, with prayer, music, children happily running around, glasses clinking l’chayim, and the sounds of laughter and conversation as members of our congregation took the opportunity to get to know one another. Shabbat itself became a simcha as we welcomed these newcomers into our midst. We hope that those who joined this past Shabbat felt truly embraced by their Holy Blossom family, our holy congregation that they have now chosen to call their spiritual home. With approximately 160 new member households in our community, we stand at a transformative moment in our rich history.
On that note, one more newcomer we are to shortly welcome into our midst is Yoel Sykes, co-founder of the infamous Jewish Music group, Nava Tehila. A student rabbi, he also travels around the U.S. and the world to lead transformative and healing prayer experiences. We are blessed that he will be joining us for Shabbat Shira, on February 3 and 4.
Details for our Shabbat Shira services, at which he will be our spiritual facilitator, as well as the registration for the Friday night dinner, can be found HERE.
The wooden doors to our beautiful building have carved into them the words of another well-known piece of Shabbat liturgy, from the Shalom Aleichem: Boachem L’shalom – “Come in Peace”.
May all who walk through our doors – whether this Shabbat or into the future – come in joy and in peace, with that warm HBT welcome being a sign of our own faith brought to life, in all its transformative power.
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