DAY 755: Open Air, Open “Doors,” Open Shabbat

July 25, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 755: Open Air, Open “Doors,” Open Shabbat

Dear Hevreh,

There is nothing like Shabbat by the Sea. The view, the atmosphere, the singing and dancing. It’s a very special time for our community, and though our first Shabbat was rained out I am looking forward to a wonderful season of making memories in the open air by the Raritan Bay.

Being in the open air (i.e. outside of the walls of our building) means that while the experience of Shabbat by the Sea is meant for our community’s benefit, we are exposing the elements of our ritual to onlookers and passerby in the local Perth amboy community. Dog-walkers, runners, children at play, even couples taking pictures before their wedding (according to a story shared by Rabbi Melinda Zalma during Homecoming weekend) have bore witness to the uniqueness of Shabbat by the Sea. In other words, whether we mean to or not, the special open-air atmosphere of Shabbat by the Sea opens our ritual to be seen and explored by our neighbors.

Next Friday (August 1st), as a way of both engaging young families for Family Shabbat and being intentional in how we take advantage of the exposure of our ritual to the local Perth Amboy community, we will have a very unique Shabbat by the Sea experience.

It will start at 6:15 pm with a picnic dinner of pizza, pasta, and salads from a new kosher pizza place — Giddy’s Pizzeria — that opened recently in New Brunswick. Then we will move to a child and family friendly service from 7-7:30, highlighting some important elements and themes from the Friday night service. Then, to truly make this a special event, at 7:30 we will “open our doors” to the local Perth Amboy community for ice cream provided by Bayside Creamery, a local ice cream shop a few blocks away. (In observance of Shabbat, two scoops of ice cream will be given in exchange for a ticket which can be purchased for $2 each from the synagogue prior to the event). The fun will continue with games provided by and supported by volunteers from the YMCA, while we also enjoy some music with musicians from¬†God’s Army Ministries. The music will be appropriate for people of all faith backgrounds in addition to highlighting some special tunes in honor of Shabbat.

May the open-air atmosphere help us openly welcome our friends, family, and neighbors to experience a special Shabbat together…by the Sea.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ari Saks

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