"Completed now were heaven and earth and all their host. On the seventh day, God had completed the work that had been done, ceasing then on the seventh day from all the work that [God] had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, and ceased from all the creative work that God [had chosen] to do." Genesis 2:1-3
Every Saturday, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m., in the Beit Midrash
The capstone of life-long learning at CBJ is this lively and sometimes intense weekly journey deep into the Torah landscape. Here, a growing group of Torah-explorers comes together every Saturday to travel the twists and turns verse by verse, guided by Rabbi Ezray and Bill Futornick. You’ll never look at Torah quite the same way again. Speaking is encouraged but not required!
Every Saturday, 10:00 - 12:30 p.m. (approximately), in the Beit K'nesset
In the sanctuary, the service is traditional, egalitarian and stresses learning and lay participation. We use the Sim Shalom prayer book and our Torah reading follow a triennial cycle. SiddurAudio.com is a good resource for learning to chant the prayers. We offer many adult education classes at CBJ to engage with the text and deepen your understanding of the service and prayers. If you are interested in learning more about Shabbat, click here.
See Calendar, 10:45 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., in the Beit T'fillah
Join kids of all ages for our Junior Congregation, led by our talented congregant Dan Leemon. This service features guitar-accompanied prayer and a very lively Torah discussion (watch out for flying candy!) Junior Congregation, which is part of our religious school curriculum, is where our students learn to be comfortable on the bimah while leading services, and creative and thoughtful in understanding prayers and Torah.
The service is geared to grades 3-7, but all are welcome, and Junior Congregation is a great setting for families who want to learn and worship together in an informal setting. This is the rare service that children look forward to attending -- give it a try, and so will you!
For Beth Jacob Religious School Families
Regular attendance at Junior Congregation is essential to the Beth Jacob Religious School children’s learning of the service, to building community, and to
developing Jewish friendships. They learn the Shabbat morning prayers
and the order of the service, and become comfortable leading services.
Students who attend regularly find that this helps enormously with
their preparation for Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Grades 3 through 7 take turns
in leading the service, but we encourage families with children in all
grades to join us for Junior Congregation.
These are the minimum annual requirements for attendance of Beth Jacob Religious School children at Junior Congregation:
- Gimel (3rd grade) must attend at least 10 services
- Daled (4th grade) must attend at least 12 services
- Hey (5th grade) must attend at least 14 services
- Vav (6th grade) must attend at least 14 services
- Zayin (7th grade) must attend at least 18 services (either at Junior Congregation or at the CBJ main service)
SPONSOR JUNIOR CONGREGATION KIDDUSH
Thank you for your interest in sponsoring a simple kiddush for Junior Congregation. It's easy, not expensive, and a mitzvah!
Second Saturday of the month, 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Room Alef (CBJ Preschool)
For children ages 1 to 4 years, with their parents, grandparents, etc. Cost is free, CBJ members and non-members are welcome, and no pre-registration is required.
The program includes:
Snack of challah and grape juice
If you have any questions, please contact Natalya Martyushova.
Every Saturday, 9:00 a.m. thru the end of services, in the preschool wing
The Tot Shabbat program includes childcare, child-friendly activities and a Shabbat service geared for ages 2-5. There is no charge, and no prior registration required.
Despite the importance of Shabbat in Jewish life, the Torah provides few details as to its observance. Apart from the oft-repeated injunction to "do no work" on Shabbat (see Exodus 20:10, 35:2, and Deuteronomy 5:14, among others), the only other specifics mentioned are a few prohibitions such as those against kindling a fire, gathering wood, and plowing.
After 70 CE, when the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the ancient rabbis worked intensively to adapt biblical traditions and teachings to the reality: of Jewish religious life in the absence of a sacred center. In the process, they created the foundation of rabbinic Judaism, which serves as the basis of modern Jewish life. One of the major thrusts of the rabbinic enterprise was establishing rules for observance of the Shabbat, putting their own stamp on existing popular tradition.
Based on a seemingly random interpolation of the law to cease working on Shabbat in the midst of a description of how the Israelites were to build the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary (Exodus 31:13), the rabbis of antiquity deduced that all labors necessary for constructing such a sanctuary and its appurtenances should serve as the blueprint for Shabbat prohibitions. Identifying 39 basic categories of labor, the rabbis determined that these activities, and any that were similar or related to them formed the basis of future Shabbat restrictions. Their choices thus focused Shabbat prohibitions on activities involving creating and destroying, and they added to this list other activities not specifically banned, in their view, but nevertheless inappropriate to the Sabbath.
The rabbis also translated into concrete liturgical acts the Torah's positive admonitions to "remember" and "keep" the Sabbath "[in order] to sanctify it." Thus the Rabbis created the ritual of kiddush or "sanctification" (a special blessing usually said over wine) and an elaborate Shabbat liturgy as the required active content of Shabbat observance to go along with the prohibition of labor.
Some scholars have suggested, on the basis of references to Sabbath observance in the works of non-Jewish authors in Greek and Latin, that the talmudic rabbis were deliberately reforming an earlier, more somber Sabbath observance among Jews in the Hellenistic world, reinterpreting Torah in new ways in order to shape a joyous, active Shabbat experience.
Among Jews in the Middle Ages, authorities in Jewish law adapted (and often extended) Shabbat prohibitions to meet changing social realities and technologies, while the poets among their contemporaries created elaborate, decorative additions to the liturgy of Shabbat and table-songs (zemirot) to be sung at Shabbat meals. The mystics of those centuries offered a new understanding of Shabbat, portrayed as queen and as bride to be welcomed, feted, and escorted away at her departure.
Shabbat observance, then, has taken on different forms according to evolving customs and varied ideological outlooks. From ancient to modern times, observance of the Shabbat has served as a touchstone for individual Jews to identify with a particular community within the Jewish people. Today, for example, traditional Jews refrain from lighting or tending to a fire of any sort. Some abstain, then, not only from driving a car to synagogue on Shabbat but even from operating electric lights. However, Jews whose approach to tradition is more liberal will use electricity on Shabbat, eschewing the interpretation of electricity as fire.
Undoubtedly, some of the specifics of Shabbat observance have long served as a bone of internal contention for the Jewish community precisely because of the essential role that Shabbat plays in the life of the Jewish people. As Ahad Ha-Am, one of the most important early Jewish writers of the last century, wrote, "More than the Jewish people has preserved the Shabbat, the Shabbat has preserved the Jewish people."
Reprinted with permission from MyJewishLearning.com
Despite the fact that the Torah mentions the word "Shabbat" more than 80 times, only a few of these references actually deal specifically with how one is to observe the Sabbath day, and only two of them tell us why. However, these two reasons for observing the Shabbat are intriguing and significant.
The first reason the Torah gives begins in the book of Genesis: "On
the seventh day, God finished that work that He had been doing.... And
God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God
ceased from all the work of creation that He had done." (Genesis
2:2-3). Although there is no mention here that human beings should also
observe a Sabbath, in the book of Exodus (in the first articulation of
the Ten Commandments), God declares that the Israelites should
"remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy…for in six days the Lord
made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested
on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and
hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8, 11).
Together, these passages give us the profound concept of imitatio dei--the imitation of God--in association with Shabbat. We should rest because God rested--and we should "remember" Shabbat and keep it holy. We also implicitly learn that even God, as it were, needs a break. And if God, the creator of the universe, needed to rest (and sanctified that rest), how much the more so do we human beings need a weekly opportunity to cease from all productive activities, from "creating."
The second reason the Torah gives for observing Shabbat appears in the version of the Ten Commandments presented in the Book of Deuteronomy. God says, "Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe Shabbat" (Deuteronomy 5:15). This explanation touches on two momentous motivations for observing Shabbat. The first is the covenant between God and the Jewish people: God redeemed the Israelites from slavery, and the Israelites must observe God's commandments. The second motivation suggested by these phrases is one of deep empathy with our enslaved ancestors. Because our forebears who were slaves were unable to enjoy a day of rest, we should observe Shabbat as a demonstration of our own redeemed status--and perhaps, with a consciousness about those who are still enslaved.
Jewish tradition continued to expand and embellish these theological themes of Shabbat. In late antiquity, according to the Talmud, the rabbis used to dress in white garments, as a bridegroom, and walk out among the hills calling, "Come my Beloved, let us greet the Shabbat bride!" This is the basis for the liturgical poem Lecha Dodi ("come my beloved") sung as part of Friday night services, a composition that emerged out of the kabbalistic or Jewish mystical tradition. In Jewish mysticism, the theme of Shabbat as the "Sabbath bride" further developed, and Shabbat is also associated with the feminine tangible presence of God, called the Shekhinah, or "in-dwelling" of God. Shabbat was thought of as a day of mystical union between the Jewish people and God. Reflecting the intimacy of this spiritual union, some medieval Jewish mystical texts speak of Shabbat as an especially propitious day for a husband and wife to be intimate with each other, as a symbolic union of God and the Jewish people.
The great 20th-century Jewish theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his influential work The Sabbath, poetically articulates the notion of Shabbat as "a cathedral in time"--a "place" in time rather than space in which we develop the practices of sacred rest, and focus on being in the world rather than transforming it.
Reprinted with permission from MyJewishLearning.com
Lighting Shabbat candles on Friday as evening approaches delineates the beginning of Shabbat. Tradition teaches us that we are partners with God. Candle lighting is a sacred deed which allows us to symbolically participate in the act of creation: "Let there be light." Traditionally, two candles are lit, representing the two times that the fourth Commandment is cited in the Torah: "Remember - Zachor" (Ex. 20:8)/Observe - Shamor" (Dt. 5:12) the Sabbath Day."
Shabbat candles serve at least two purposes: (shalom bayit -- harmony in the home), for they provide light and a "candle light" atmosphere for the Friday night meal, and (oneg Shabbat -- the joy of Shabbat), as they symbolize the light and gladness that Shabbat provides for us. In order to fulfill both purposes, the candles should be lit at the place where the meal will be eaten.
To prepare for candle lighting, find out from your synagogue bulletin the correct candle-lighting time or obtain a calendar with Jewish information from a local organization. Candles are lit between a half hour and 15 minutes before sunset with many authorities holding that the proper time is at least 18 minutes before. Choose a place for the candles to stay throughout Shabbat. Set your candles in the candlesticks and have a match and matchbook set beside them. Finally, at candle-lighting time, assemble the family.
The order for lighting candles at the beginning of Shabbat is unique. Normally a brakhah is said immediately before doing a mitzvah, fulfilling a commandment, and the mitzvah follows without interruption after the brakhah. Since Shabbat starts once we say the brakhah, we cannot light the candles after saying the brakhah. We solve this problem by performing this mitzvah in the following order:
Light the Shabbat candles. Every Jew is obligated to light candles; when both man and woman are present, traditionally the woman has lit them for all who are present because this is one of the mitzvot traditionally assigned to women.
Many follow the custom of drawing their hands to their faces three times in a circular motion, beckoning Shabbat to enter.
After the third circle, the person saying the brakhah closes her/his eyes and/or shields the eyes with the bands and says the brakhah.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Praised are You, Adonai our God, Who rules the universe, instilling in us the holiness of mitzvot by commanding us to kindle the light of Shabbat.
After the brakhah, the eyes are uncovered, and the person who has made the brakhah then looks at what are now the lit Shabbat candles for the first time. Personal prayers of thanks may be silently added after the brakhah. It is customary for everyone to wish each other "Shabbat Shalom."
Reprinted from USCJ.