Beth Israel Congregation - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Our approach to tefilla (prayer) is guided by tradition and based on the full participation of our members as service leaders and Torah readers. If you want to lead services or read Torah, just let us know, and we will be glad to make use of your talents or help you develop them. We are committed to offering Shabbat and holiday programs that engage children of all ages. Preschoolers can attend Tot Shabbat that combines storytelling, singing, and hands-on activities. Older children can participate in and lead Junior Congregation. You will see children of all ages in the sanctuary as families enjoy Shabbat and holidays together.
We begin Shabbat with a peaceful Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming the Sabbath) service at 6:00 p.m. every Friday. Our monthly Friday Night Lights evenings include a family oriented service followed by a Shabbat meal. A Shlomo Carlebach style Friday night service is also offered periodically. The Shabbat morning service begins at 9:30 a.m. and has been carefully crafted to convey a wonderful sense of fellowship and community. Our services are traditional, with an air of informality and “haimishness.” For children in 3rd- 5th grades Kehillat Shabbat, on select Saturdays, offers a comfortable alternative. A Tot Shabbat is offered for children and their parents twice each month, and programs for K – 3rd graders are offered once a month.
Following our Shabbat service each week, either the Congregation or a family celebrating a simcha sponsors a kiddush which is a weekly opportunity for the community to gather and get to know each other better.
A daily minyan in an intimate setting, organized by congregants, meets Sunday – Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for a half-hour Mincha and Ma’ariv service in the chapel. A shiva minyan may be held offsite and at a alter time in lieu of the regular daily service. (Winter Sunday Minyan meets at 5:00 p.m.) We encourage all of our congregants to attend in order to help make a minyan. Those who do find these few minutes to be an invaluable source of quiet calm and spiritual meaning in their busy days.
From Rosh Hashanah to Tisha B’av, we join together to mark the memorable holidays of the Jewish year. Times of the services and festive events vary. There are special Sukkot lunches in the congregational Sukkah, as well as a “Pizza in the Hut” dinner. Our annual Simchat Torah Dinner precedes the Torah Processionals. A tasty “International Shul of Pancakes” breakfast is offered as part of the Simchat Torah celebration. A Hanukah Party highlights the Hanukkah season. Purim is a particularly fun time when both adults and children dress in costume to listen to the megilla reading filled with some very special surprises. A wonderful evening of Jewish study culminating in a delicious snack at 12:00 midnight caps the first evening a Shavuot.