Summer Season Offers Special Shabbat Services
Outdoor Shabbat kicks off this weekend for some local Jewish congregations, despite rain in the forecast.
Summer nights are especially memorable for some West Bloomfield Jewish congregations, who sing, eat, and pray in outdoor Shabbat services which have proven popular.
Although a 30 percent chance of rain awaits for Friday night, the weekly services at Temple Israel are scheduled to take place in the garden at 7:30 p.m. A picnic is scheduled for 6 p.m. ($12, children under 12 are free) and a group of singers and musicians at the temple will lead in song.
Outdoor services also kick off tonight for:
- Adat Shalom Synagogue, 5:45 p.m. at Drake Sports Park
- Congregation B'nai Moshe, 6 p.m. at Heritage Park
Rabbi Paul Yedwab, whose Temple Israel opened in 1940, explained that rabbis normally take the summer to study in lieu of preparing for Shabbat due to a historical lack of interest. However, the popularity of the services has necessitated a small break from tradition.
"In the old days, most rabbis spent the summer researching to get ideas for the high holidays services. And now, if you have a good idea, and you have 1,600 people coming to hear you preach, you’re not going to save it for the high holidays," said Yedwab, who celebrated his 25th year with the Reform branch synagogue last year.
Yedwab continued that a lenient dress code, tasty food, and a deliberately short service are other draws for the congregation, the largest of its branch in North America.
Temple Israel is one which also incorporates live singers and musicians to perform, with a new theme ranging from klezmer to soul. At B'nai Moshe, Cantor Earl Barris performs a sing-a-long. In explaining why the event is popular, Yedwab said that outdoor music contributed to a sense of joyfulness, relaxation, and fun for the congregation.
If you go, know that the weather forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of showers.