Each Shabbat we have the opportunity to slow down, to count our blessings and join together with our community in fellowship and prayer. Temple Beth Israel offers varied soulful Shabbat experiences so that our intergenerational community, diverse in its spiritual needs, can share in Shabbat’s holiness. On Shabbat, our community celebrates life’s joys and comforts one another during life’s sorrows. Our services are led by our clergy team with support from our shlichei-tzibur (lay-musical prayer team).
Services can be accessed both in-person in the Lorge Sanctuary or via our livestream.
Erev Shabbat – Simply Shabbat
Simply Shabbat is an opportunity to welcome Shabbat together with worship which may include a Torah reading, a D’var Torah or a guest speaker. Music may include Cantor, our volunteer choir, Koleynu or our volunteer ensemble, Shiru l’Adonai T’filah Band. These evenings always include time for socializing and nosh, with either a Likrat Shabbat reception before our earlier services or an Oneg Shabbat reception after our later services.
Erev Shabbat – Shabbat B’Yachad (Intergenerational Shabbat)
Shabbat B’Yachad (Shabbat Together) is an opportunity to welcome Shabbat together in various settings of music, worship and social engagement, inclusive of all ages.
Shabbat B’Yachad has four components – choose one, some or all of them:
- Shabbat begins with an early childhood Shabbat experience full of music, dancing and a Shabbat story.
- This early childhood experience is followed by a congregational Shabbat dinner including a menu for all ages.
- Following dinner, we share in the joy of Shabbat services, led with the help of Shir TBI, our youth ensemble.
- We complete our Shabbat evening together with dessert and coffee at an Oneg Shabbat which includes a separate dedicated activity for children.
Erev Shabbat in the Park
During spring, summer and early fall, Shabbat in the Park brings our congregation together for an uplifting worship experience outdoors (weather permitting). Congregants of all ages enjoy a Shabbat in nature to heighten our sense of community. The evenings begin with an early childhood experience, followed by a congregational service. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own Shabbat picnic dinner and dessert to share.
Shabbat Morning Torah Study
On Shabbat morning join our Rabbi and fellow congregants in a lively discussion of the Torah before worship services, in person or via Zoom. This group welcomes newcomers and those who have been coming for decades.
Shabbat Morning Services
Our weekly Shabbat Morning Services offer a blend of traditional and contemporary prayer, nusach (musical themes), contemporary melodies and Torah reading. Often we celebrate simchas such as baby namings and auf-ruf wedding blessings. On a Shabbat when a student is called to Torah as a Bar/Bat/B’nai Mitzvah, our community rejoices as the child takes their place as an adult in our community. Services are followed by Kiddush, sometimes enhanced by a sponsored luncheon.
The High Holidays (Yamim Noraim – The Days of Awe) provide each of us an opportunity for personal reflection and introspection, as well as communal celebration and thanksgiving.
The Selichot service is held on the Saturday night preceding Rosh Hashanah. We begin with a study session and reception, then transition into a moving service. It includes the changing of the Torah covers, readings invoking the Thirteen Attributes of God and the sounding of the Shofar. Our Selichot liturgy awakens us to the dawning of a New Year and inspires us to enter intentionally into the 10 Days of Awe.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur mark the most sacred days of the Jewish year. On these days, we welcome the new year, refocusing our efforts on t’shuva (returning to the path of integrity), t’filah (communal prayer and contemplative introspection) and tzedakah (our obligation to make the world more just through sharing our resources with those in need).
Erev Rosh Hashanah
On Rosh Hashanah evening we gather as one congregation to welcome the New Year. Our service begins with words of inspiration from our Rabbi and our Cantor and the beautiful music of our High Holiday choir.
Rosh Hashanah Morning (1st Day)
The first day worship begins with a Children’s Family Service to engage children who are 10 years of age and younger (though everyone is welcome). We use our unique family prayer book created especially for families. Parents accompany their children to this service and then are invited to join congregational worship, as the children continue to holiday activities.
Our adult morning worship includes the reading of Torah, a special D’var Torah, the stirring sounds of the Shofar service and our High Holiday choir.
Rosh Hashanah Morning (2nd Day)
Our holiday observance on the 2nd Day continues with special participation by members of our congregation’s Sisterhood.
Erev Yom Kippur – Kol Nidre
We join together as one congregation to observe this most solemn day of the year. The haunting melody of Kol Nidre ushers in this time of repentance and fasting, as we resolve to do better in the year ahead.
The morning worship begins with a Children’s Family Service to engage children who are 10 years of age and younger (though everyone is welcome). We use our unique family prayer book created especially for families. Parents accompany their children to this service and then are invited to join congregational worship, as the children continue to holiday activities.
Our adult Yom Kippur morning service includes the reading of Torah, a special D’var Torah and our High Holy Day choir. After our morning Yom Kippur worship, we take time for reflection and meditation accompanied by cello music followed by a study session. We continue with a liturgy of healing titled Avodat haLeiv: Service of the Heart. Our worship concludes with the Torah service, Yizkor memorial service and N’eilah the concluding service of Yom Kippur.
Festivals and Holidays
The calendar is made more meaningful and festive by Jewish holidays and observances that create sacred times and memories in our lives. We gather together in joyous celebration to commemorate significant events of our collective history, and to give expression to the important ideas of our tradition.
The three Pilgrimage holidays, (Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot) as described in Torah are special times at Temple Beth Israel:
As we prepare for Sukkot, we decorate a beautiful Sukkah in our sanctuary and a communal Sukkah outside of our building. On Erev Sukkot and Sukkot morning we celebrate the holiday with worship including the Hallel (special Psalms) and an opportunity for everyone to shake the lulav and take in the fragrance of the etrog. We encourage our congregation to bring non-perishable food items to services to be donated to the Ark Chicago Holiday Food Drive.
Sh’mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah
The 8th night of Sukkot we observe Sh’mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah beginning with an early childhood experience, followed by a festive congregational dinner. During the service that follows, we consecrate our youngest learners, finish readying D’Varim (Deuteronomy) and begin reading the first words of Bereshit (Genesis).
To conclude the celebration of the Torahs, we gather for a parade and dance with our Torahs and enjoy taffy apples, symbolizing the sweetness of the Torah. Our morning worship service includes festive singing, Hallel (special Psalms), the reading of special Torah portions and Yizkor.
We observe Pesach (Passover) in worship and with a congregational Seder. On the morning of the 1st day of Pesach and the morning of the 7th day of Pesach we gather to worship together including Yizkor on the 7th day. Our congregational Seder is observed on the 2nd night of the holiday and is led by our Rabbi as an interactive experience for all ages. During Pesach, our school participates in a Passover Food Drive and our members volunteer with Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago.
Shavuot marks the third of the three Pilgrimage holidays. On Erev Shavuot, we study Torah, and on Shavuot morning, our services include festive singing, Hallel (special Psalms), reading the Ten Commandments from the Torah and Yizkor, followed by a Kiddush luncheon. As part of this holiday, we also hold Kabbalat Torah – Confirmation services, where our tenth grade students affirm their Jewish identities by leading the congregation in worship.
We mark Chanukah with a celebratory Chanukah Shabbat. Together, we share a holiday dinner, and then fill the Lorge Sanctuary with light, bringing our own Chanukiot from home to light together. Our multigenerational service is led by our clergy, Koleynu (volunteer choir) and Shir TBI Youth Ensemble. The special Chanukah Oneg is complete with activities for children, dreidel and sufganiot, (jelly donuts). At this time, our congregation participates in a toy drive, benefiting the Herzl School of Excellence in Lawndale.
Purim is a holiday filled with fun and we offer something for everyone; a festive meal, Megillah reading, carnival, costumes, hamantaschen and a Purim play. We also fulfill the mitzvah of Mishloah Manot, sending gifts of food to friends.
Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Hostile Acts) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) are modern holidays that link the Jewish People across the world. Temple Beth Israel takes pride in marking these days, as a show of our commitment to the ideals of Jewish Peoplehood and Zionism.
Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av is the day on which the Jewish people remember the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and again in 70 CE and we commemorate other tragedies in our history. On Erev Tisha B’Av we gather for an evening of learning and discussion and read Eicha (the Book of Lamentations).