Shabbat Services

זכור את יום השבת לקדשו
“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.”

We at Beth El honor the commandment to sanctify Shabbat with moving and uplifting services on both Friday night and Saturday morning.  We offer a variety of services, affording members meaningful choices designed to accommodate differing styles of worship, a range of knowledge of Hebrew and sacred texts and varying levels of congregant participation.  The common denominator is joyous celebration of Shabbat through song and prayer. For an introduction of the melodies that we use, visit our music page and learn how to participate and lift your voice in song.

Friday Night

Torah Cover 2 white background finalTraditional Friday Evening services are held in Swoff chapel, starting at 6:30pm. Kol Haneshama, our musical Friday night lay-led service, is held on the the second or third Friday of the month from September to June.

Saturday Morning

Join us each Shabbat at 9:30 am, in the Bender Sanctuary or Swoff Chapel for a service led by one or both of our rabbis and by our hazzan. The Torah reading follows the triennial cycle according to the Conservative movement.

This service is the home for life cycle events including aufrufs, namings, and b’nai mitzvah. The service generally ends around noon and is followed by a kiddush, which provides an opportunity to meet friends and, for the visitor, to meet our community.

Worship Booklet is also available, which can give you insight into the inner meaning of services at Beth El. We also have a Visitor’s Guide to the Shabbat Service available for those visiting Beth El for the first time.

Lay-led Shabbat Services

Two of Beth El’s guiding values include empowering our members and merging tradition with the creative spirit. Along with traditional Shabbat services, we are proud to provide multiple pathways to spirituality and bring both respect (kavod) and creativity to Jewish traditions, observance, and rituals. We are privileged to have a variety of lay-led minyanim that contribute to the diversity and empowerment of our synagogue community.

We are now using the Atz Chaim Chumash which provides expanded commentaries, historical maps and other items enhancing understanding and interest.  We provide devices to assist the hearing impaired in participating in the service.  We also offer those who cannot attend services in person to listen by calling a special telephone number or streaming over the Internet.  We also have just added siddurim containing transliteration of all key prayers, making our Shabbat service far more accessible to congregants who cannot read Hebrew.

Friday Night Kol Haneshama

The Friday Night Kol Haneshamah service is a lively and interactive service that blends tradition and creativity, and features the melodies of Shlomo Carlebach and contemporary Jewish artists, as well as melodies that are heard at innovative congregations in the United States and in Israel, such as Congregation B’nai Jeshurun and Romemu in New York, and Shira Chadasha and Nava Tehila in Jerusalem. The service includes musical instruments.

The creative team of Kol Haneshama also offers Selichot and High Holiday prayer experiences.

Early Minyan

This lay-run minyan has been meeting since 1984, and can be found at 7:30 am on Shabbat mornings in the Swoff Chapel. The service ends at about 9:00 am and is followed by a kiddush. For more information, contact Peter Novick at 301-493-8428.

Worship and Study Minyan

The Worship and Study Minyan (9:45 am on the first Shabbat of each month) is conducted by members of the congregation and combines evocative Torah study with ample singing and ruach. For more information, you can find us on Facebook.

Minyan Chaverim

Minyan Chaverim is one of Beth El’s lay led Shabbat morning services.  This traditional service is smaller, less formal, and more intimate.   It typically features opportunities to follow along, sing, and pray together.  We have an interactive Torah reading where brief discussions are common.  We encourage and facilitate meaningful participation at all levels.  The service is family friendly; welcoming tots, teens, and even adults.

A pot luck lunch hosted at a nearby home of congregants around 1:00 PM follows the service and congregational Shabbat kiddush.  The pot luck offers opportunities to schmooze with other attendees (and for kids and teens to play or hang out together).

If you are interested in having an honor/aliyah at the service, please contact us on Shabbat or in advance.  Any questions are welcome.  Contact Mitchell Solkowitz via phone or at minyanchaverim@bethelmc.org or click here to visit Minyan Chaverim’s Facebook page.