Beth Am combines elements of a rich Jewish heritage with the dynamic characteristics of Reform Judaism. This orientation is expressed in our liturgy, music, customs, educational philosophy, and approach to ritual expression.
Through meaningful, integrated prayer, we begin to realize that worship is not simply an outpouring of the self, it is rather a portal to that which is beyond our selves. Over the course of praying, many voices are heard which, ultimately, come together as one. Prayer provokes an awareness of and obligation to others rather than mere self-fulfilment. Thus, we learn that an “integrated theology” might inspire an integrated community of fellow worshippers all working for and working towards a common, lofty goal: the fulfilment of God’s promise for us and all the world.
We have many opportunities for spiritual connection. Erev Shabbat services are held in the Molish Sanctuary and the Temple Beth Torah Chapel; times vary, so please check our weekly calendar. Informal summer services begin at 6:00 p.m. and conclude with Kiddush and Motzi in the Saltzman Biblical Garden. From September through June, Erev Shabbat service options include monthly Family Shabbat with the Junior Choir, Anniversary blessings during service with adult choir participation, musical Shabbat featuring our T’filah Band, Young Family Shabbat especially for children first grade and younger and their families followed by “Tot Luck Dinner.”
Shabbat morning begins with Torah study at 9 a.m.; the portion of the week is discussed. Hebrew fluency is not required. A peer-led service follows at 10:15 a.m. Congregants and friends enjoy the casual and friendly atmosphere of these gatherings. When children of our congregation are called to the Torah as b’nai mitzvah, a formal service at 10 a.m. takes place in the Molish Sanctuary. Monthly services geared to children include
- Tots ‘n’ Torah for pre-school to first grade children and their families includes musical service, art activity and breakfast.
Here at Beth Am, the wearing of tallit and/or kipah is optional. Men and women participate equally in all religious services. We incorporate traditional prayer and creative readings, using both traditional and contemporary melodies. People who attend vary from those who were raised in traditional backgrounds to those who are Jewish by choice. We welcome interfaith families. Our Shabbat siddur - prayer book - is Mishkan T’filah that includes prayers written in Hebrew, their transliteration, translation, and alternate readings – contemporary/spiritual/rabbinic citations -- that explore the central theme of each prayer. This unique siddur provides an opportunity for everyone to participate in their own way.