Participate in Shabbat

There are so many ways to contribute to our shared unique experience at Shabbat Services. It takes the entire family of Bet Alef to create the sacred space that allows everyone – regular attendees – to be able to fully engage. You will normally be greeted at the door by a volunteer reminding you that “All Are Welcome.” Our musicians and Rabbi Olivier together create a musical and meditative journey that allows you to remember that Shabbat is truly an oasis from our busy lives. We honor yahrzeit and memories as a community – either by lighting a candle or simply witnessing the names read in memoriam. We are invited to participate in Tikkun Olam through our Tzedakah contributions each quarter.

Following the service, we gather together and celebrate Shabbat with delicious foods provided by volunteers and some of the best challah you’ll ever have.

Volunteer as a Greeter or Ambassador…

We want everyone to feel welcome and engaged from the moment they walk through our doors. If you are someone who loves offering smiles, handshakes, and warm hugs, being a greeter is for you! We typically need greeters for all of our Shabbat Services, as well as for our Events and Holiday Celebrations.

Newcomers sometimes feel a little disoriented their first time at Bet Alef. Ambassadors are members of our community willing to sit with them, guide them and answer their questions during our Shabbat service and the following Oneg.

Maybe you’re a bit introverted, but still want to provide hospitality in some way for our guests? Make sure to send us an e-mail and ask us how you can be involved in supporting Bet Alef’s commitment to ensure everyone feels welcome.

Light a Candle…

Every Shabbat and for most other Jewish holidays, it is customary to light candles. During our Shabbat services, members of our community are invited to light a candle in celebration of a special event in their lives, the marking of a birthday or anniversary, or in honoring the memory of a deceased loved one. As it is part of Jewish tradition, we encourage those wishing to participate in lighting a Shabbat candles to contribute a gift “L’Chayim” in multiples of $18—the numerical value of the Hebrew word “Chayim” meaning “life.” You are welcome to make such a donation on your own behalf, in memoriam of a loved one, or on behalf of someone else.

Tzedakah…

It is traditional on Shabbat to make a financial contribution to a charity. In most Jewish homes is a Tzedakah Box where family members drop a few coins or a few dollars earmarked for a charity of their choice. Tzedakah is often understood to mean charity, but it also means righteousness or justice. Performing such an act of giving is part of many Jewish mindfulness practices of both humility and generosity, what we call Gemilut Chasadim—Acts of Loving-Kindness. What we practice as individuals, we also practice as a community. Each quarter, the Board of Directors of Bet Alef designates a local charitable organization as the recipient for our community’s Tzedakah. Members and attendees of our Shabbat services are invited to participate in this millenia-old practice by sharing a few dollars split between Bet Alef and the designated organization. We currently share our Tzedakah with Plant for the Planet. Don’t wait for our next Shabbat, contribute to our Tzedakah right now.

Oneg…

Oneg in Hebrew means “delight,” and is the kavanah, the intention behind every Shabbat; that it be a delight for the body and the soul. As the soul is being fed by attending services, studying Torah and carving out time for meditating, the body is nourished by pleasurable foods and the presence of community. Bet Alef’s Onegs are the “after party” for our signature Shabbat Services. Lively conversation, meaningful connections, time to share, and a light nosh are the hallmarks of the event. Members, as part of their commitment to our community, rotate throughout the year to bring food contributions to, at least, one of our Onegs.

If you are a member, please sign up below to contribute to one of our upcoming Onegs. You can check the calendar to see what Shabbats still have openings for contributions. If you were scheduled for an upcoming Shabbat and have to cancel or are no longer available for the date you had signed-up for, please contact the chair of our Oneg Team, Susan Moss, so that we can hopefully find a replacement. Thank you for making our post-Shabbat Services a true delight, a true Oneg.

 

What is expected of an Oneg Volunteer

As a reminder to everyone, please find below the responsibilities of people who are oneg sponsors:

Please coordinate with our Oneg Committee to determine something to bring on your Friday night. These could include:

  • 3 Challot
  • Juice or wine
  • Vegetable and/or fruit platters
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Sheet cake
  • Cookies
  • Nuts

Please plan to come early (around 6:45 PM) to Friday night services to help set up with the other volunteers. We are all in this together, so once you’ve set up your own item, you’ll be expected to help others with the other Oneg tasks: pouring wine & juice, getting hot water ready, and more. Please also plan to stay through the Oneg and then help clean up. We very much depend on our Oneg sponsors to help with picking up cups and plates, wiping down tables, and so forth. Again, you will have help with this, so you know what to do.

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