Beth El is a traditional, egalitarian congregation, and we take our responsibility for daily prayer very seriously. We pride ourselves on being one of the only Conservative congregations that offers the traditional three prayer services (Shacharit, Mincha and Ma’ariv) every day of the year. As such, our Mincha and Ma’ariv services begin close to Shki’a (sunset), and our Friday night services begin a moment or two after the candle-lighting time. Like our daily minyan, these services are usually held in our Chapel. Our daily minyan uses the Sim Sholom Siddur because our members appreciate its commentaries and guidance in service choreography.
Our largest service of the week, by far, is on Shabbat morning. We offer a wide variety of services on Shabbat morning, including Pray and Play, MY Service and Teen Shabbat. At the end of the various services, all participants are encouraged to join the conclusion of service in the Sanctuary. On a “typical” Shabbat we can expect nearly 400 people to join us.
The service in the Sanctuary is highly participatory. At Beth El we love to sing. We use the Conservative Movement’s Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals as well as the Etz Hayim Chumash.
Our Torah reading (we read the full portion) is done by volunteers from the congregation, and our Hazzan is always eager to train new students. We encourage our b’nai mitzvah students to return to read Torah again, not just on the anniversary of the bar/bat mitzvah but at other times of the year as well. The Hazzan has a “Frequent Chanter” program, where students of all ages work toward receiving a brand new Tikkun, courtesy of our Men’s Club.
At the close of our Shabbat morning service, our Bimah is flooded with children who lead us in the concluding prayers. Our Shabbat Kiddush is a special time as well. That chance to socialize is also an important part of our overall mission in creating a meaningful Shabbat experience for everyone.