Kabbalat Shabbat begins at 7:30 PM each week. Depending upon the time of year, we begin with the lighting of candles and the singing of the traditional “Shalom Aleichem.” Led by our rabbi, we participate in lively singing with old and new melodies. Some of the service is conducted in English and the Rabbi delivers a short D’var Torah (with a joke or two to keep it lively). Our trademark Oneg Shabbat features home baked cakes and cookies with tea and coffee.
Our Shabbat Schacharit service begins at 9:45 AM with traditional prayers and a modified Torah reading following the triennial cycle of the Conservative movement. The rabbi gives a derasha (sermon) following the Musaf Service, mixing personal insights with discussion and/or text study. Services end approximately 12:15 PM, followed by Kiddush and the occasional luncheon.
Our celebration of the annual holiday cycle begins with a two day Rosh Hashanah celebration beginning in the first evening (7:30 PM) and continuing with services both mornings (8:45 AM to 1:00 PM). Yom Kippur is observed traditionally the following week with Kol Nidre, Shacharit, Musaf, Mincha, and Neilah services. On Sukkot we process in a circle holding the lulav and etrog around the synagogue and have refeshments on the second day in the Sukkah! On Simchat Torah, we join with other Conservative synagogues in our neighborhood. &
Our annual Hanukkah and Purim dinners are fun family occasions especially Purim where our members dress up, wear silly hats, and make noise during a dramatic reading of the Megillah. A shpiel is usually performed. Next comes Pesach where our members extend their hospitality to all for seats at the seder table. “Let all who are hungry come and eat!” We observe Yom Hashaoh with the lighting of candles from the Men’s Club and Yom Zikaron/Haatzmaut with special Israeli foods. Our rabbi participates in the annual JCC Tikkun Leil Shavuot which brings rabbis from all over the city for late night Torah study. We combine with other Conservative synagogues for the reading of Lamentations at Tisha B’av.
We hold annual memorial services for loved ones buried in our cemetery in the month of Elul. Yizkor Services are also conducted during holiday services and the names of yarzheiten are ready weekly on Shabbat.
Religious Services & Study
New Light Congregation defines its communal practice as religious Conservative following traditional practices and historic changes brought by the Rabbinical Assembly and United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism such as mixed seating, egalitarianism in worship, triennial Torah reading, and modification of Shabbat and Holiday customs. We continue the traditions of our Romanian founders with services conducted mostly in Hebrew and the use of traditional nusach in worship.
- We do acknowledge that many in our congregation read and understand Hebrew differently. For this reason, we seek an infusion of English readings and explanations and interpretations of prayers within worship. We also seek to experiment with congregational melodies to increase participation. We seek to cultivate leadership in our services in training baalei tefillah, gabbaim, Torah readers, and those who can give derashot.
- We pride ourselves in that New Light is a place to recapture tradition. We like our rabbi’s derashot to be spiritually uplifting, relevant and as well as to include teachings about Judaism. Longer sermons (derashot) are given on Shabbat and Holidays while shorter d’vrai torah are given at Kabbalat Shabbat services.
- We are intimate (haimish) community who support one another through gathering minyanim at all service times. We are especially sensitive to those who come to say “kaddish” at Sunday schacharit services and minyanim scheduled at the time of shiva and yarzheit. In lieu of declining interest in joining for minyanim, we expect members of the board to attend all services as part of a monthly rotation to be coordinated by the religious committee chair.
- We will also seek to join with other neighborhood Conservative synagogues to strengthen attendance at services that are short on numbers such as Tisha B’av, Second Day of Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Seventh Day of Pesach. In coordination with Tree of Life or Beth Shalom, we will host services at New Light or be guests at their synagogues.
- Finally, we seek to show hospitality to all visitors and guests, whether they are strangers or new to our synagogue. Members will serve as greeters helping persons access prayer books, yarmulkes, tallisim, seats, and being attentive to their honors within the service. Every effort will be made to make new people comfortable with our synagogue service including inviting them for refreshments at oneg or kiddushes. To the extent that we have the resources, we seek to have weekly onegs on Fridays and monthly Kiddush lunches to increase connections within the community.
Requests & Services
The Rabbi is available most Sundays after minyan and breakfast for private tutoring in Hebrew, Synagogue Skills, adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Conversion to Judaism. Please contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org let him know what you are interested in. Couples are welcomed to sign up for short term sessions with the rabbi designed according to your interest.
Every week when we take the Torah scrolls from the ark, we read aloud the prayer Mi Sheberach for healing followed by a congregation response “Please God, provide perfect healing” (refuah shleimah). We believe that all prayers go to heaven. Please complete form and we will gladly add your friend or loved one to the list:
Calculate Yahrzeit Date
A yahrzeit calculator can be used to determine the correct date of yahrzeit observance for a loved one. Calculating the correct date is an essential first step to ensuring that the proper observance can take place each year.