Holiday services are a vital part of our experience as a community
Congregants of all ages bedeck the synagogue’s Sukkah with traditional and seasonal decorations, creating a lovely, festive Sukkah for all to enjoy.
We fill our Sanctuary with dancing and joy as we usher in a new year of reading the Torah. Klezmer musicians enhance the festivities. Our children are given a beautiful group “aliyah” for the reading of the last verses of Deuteronomy, followed immediately by the first verses of Genesis.
Each year we celebrate Chanukah in various ways with something for everyone. We gather together with Rabbi Bronstein to light the Chanukah candles, sing Chanukah songs, watch our youth band perform, and learn about Chanukah in new ways. In our Jewish education program, different grades gather to play dreidel, eat latkes and edible dreidels, and hear Chanukah stories read by older students.
Each year we celebrate Chanukah in various ways with something for everyone. We gather together with Rabbi Bronstein to light the Chanukah candles, share stories and memories behind our Menorahs. sing Chanukah songs, watch our youth band perform, and learn about Chanukah in new ways. As music is an integral part of almost any Bet Am Shalom celebration, during Chanukah we are treated to concerts from BAS members as well as professional groups such as the world-famous Nefesh Mountain, a Bluegrass and Old-Time band “with a Jewish perspective”, who we heard in 2020.
In our Jewish education program, different grades gather to play dreidel, eat latkes and edible dreidels, and hear Chanukah stories read by older students.
Bet Am Shalom celebrates the Jewish New Year of Trees with a day of events for all ages: nature-oriented learning, gardening tips and seed planting, vegetarian lunch, speakers on the environment and a garden tour.
Here’s how we are caring for the environment.
Purim: Megillah Reading, Purim Spiel and Family Purim Fest
We prepare for Purim weeks in advance with a series of baking and community-bonding sessions in our BAS kitchen where congregant volunteers bake about 5,000 hamantashen for us all to later enjoy. On Purim, we hold an early evening, family-oriented Purim program and Megillah reading, followed by an adult Megillah reading which is punctuated by a bawdy (in the grand tradition of Purim) and funny adult Spiel, cleverly written and skillfully performed by talented congregants. Here we enjoy the congregant-made hamantashen. In addition, on the Sunday closest to Purim, we hold our annual Purim Fest for kids with carnival games created and run by our 3rd-6th graders, prizes, crafts, and more homemade hamantaschen.
We also celebrate Purim by having many congregants personally hand deliver “mishloach manot” bags with little treats including our hamantaschen, to all of our congregants.
In our Jewish education program, our classes get together to make matzah, teach each other the Four Questions, and create our own charoset inspired by recipes from around the world! Our youth look forward to our Chocolate Seder event. Students give back to the community by delivering Passover packages to elderly, homebound Bronx residents with the Bronx Jewish Community Council Project Hope initiative.
Congregants participate in an interactive family seder on the second night of Passover, led by Rabbi Bronstein and Cantor Shiller. Reading from the Haggadah, singing holiday tunes and engaging in discussion, this inter-generational celebration highlights Bet Am’s rich sense of community.
Tikkun Leyl Shavuot
Throughout the world, Jewish communities stay up all night on Shavuot to review the sacred literature we generically call “Torah.” We “reconstruct” this custom by studying a variety of ancient and contemporary sources in pursuit of the Torah of our own current day. We offer creative and engaging study sessions for all different ages and interests.
Click here for ways to enrich your Jewish holidays.