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We Welcome You! (Even if it's JFK)

05/01/2023 10:27:48 AM


Tami Raubvogel, President

I recently learned a new term. During Kiddush, I was chatting with someone and he said, “I am a JFK Jew today.” I had no idea what he was talking about until he told me that he was at synagogue, “Just For Kiddush.” 

At first, the term “JFK” made me think of another JFK: the airport. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is the main international airport serving New York City. It is one of the busiest passenger hubs in the world, with people from all over the globe connecting to start or end a journey. Millions of passengers use it as a way station or a gateway to other destinations. 

This made me curious about the CBJ culture surrounding Kiddush and whether it could be more of a hub for our community. 

I love the idea of Kiddush being a way station where people gather together before they get on with their day. Could it be a gateway for you to participate in other activities? Of course, we want everyone to engage in synagogue life on a broader scale by attending services, participating in adult-ed programs, joining the sisterhood, or studying Torah. But if coming for lunch on Shabbat is what gets you in the door, then consider staying Just For Kiddush.

Those of you who have been around for a while may have heard Rabbi Ezray talk about Kiddush. He highly encourages everyone to come to Kiddush, even if that is the only part of Shabbat they have time for. This idea of having Kiddush together is so important to our clergy, that every Shabbat when we were in the thick of COVID, people could drive by after the virtual service and pick up a box lunch. Every week, people would drive up and take a box to go or sit outside with others and eat.

Fast forward to last year, when we improved the Jr. Congregation Kiddush to offer a more substantial spread. This has dramatically increased the number of families who stay after services. Additionally, many of our mini-grant proposals requested funds to provide or supplement food at various events. I hear the message loud and clear. Our CBJ community believes that noshing together is key for building connections and relationships with others.

I have met many people who stay for Kiddush only if there is no B’nai Mitzvah that week. Their rationale is that they feel like they are sponging off the B’nai Mitzvah family. Others feel uncomfortable staying on any Shabbat because they might not have a friend and don’t know who to sit with. Whatever your reason for not staying, please reconsider. All Kiddush sponsors welcome the whole congregation, and those of us who attend Kiddush on a regular basis look out for new people. I promise if you sit down at any table, the people you meet will be friendly and interested in knowing you. There is value to breaking bread together. Making connections, staying engaged and being there for one another is a fundamental tenet of the CBJ community and one of the ways we do this is through food.

So if you can’t attend Shabbat services and find yourself on a bike ride or at your child’s baseball practice, make your way to the synagogue around 12:30 and join us, even if it’s JFK.

Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784