Kol Shalom is a small congregation by most standards. We are approximately 135 membership units consisting of at least a few hundred people. Nevertheless, on any given weekend an impartial observer could easily ascertain that there are many different recognizable groups within our one congregation.
On Friday nights there are usually between 15 - 25 people in attendance. Most of those people do not return for the Sabbath service held the next morning. Consequently, the 40 (approximately) worshipers on Shabbat morning represent a different group of Kol Shalom members.
Show up on Sunday morning at 9:30 and you will discover an entirely different group of people who make up the students, teachers and parents of the Daniel Rothman Religious School. The entire weekend is filled with services or activities sponsored by Kol Shalom. Yet, each segment of the weekend serves the needs of a different population group.
So yes, while we are a small congregation, we nevertheless serve many different needs. We understand that people come to Judaism and live Judaism in different ways. Most people are aware that the overall rubric of Kol Shalom is Conservative Judaism which helps our congregation to be flexible since by definition, Conservative Judaism welcomes both Tradition and Change.
While we can't be all things to everyone, given the nature of the Annapolis Jewish community, we must strive to be open and flexible to programs and services which can meet the needs of many different types of Jews. That is why we hold "Family Services," "Class Services," "Shabbat Yachad," "Shabbat Shir,' and "Shabbat Club." Admittedly, some of these services have been more successful than others.
And so, now we are excited to present an additional different opportunity for Shabbat morning worship. On Saturday morning, June 1, we will hold what we are now simply calling a "Contemplative Shabbat Service." There are people in the synagogue who wish to contemplate the meaning of our prayers in a more deliberate manner. Less is more! Reciting fewer prayers and spending more time contemplating those prayers can provide for a different and perhaps more uplifting Shabbat morning spiritual experience.
On June 1, the service will begin as usual at 9:30 AM. The first half of the service will proceed according to the common format. After the Torah Reading, the service will turn to a more contemplative format. This should give us approximately one hour for meditative and, we hope, transformative prayer.
If this sounds appealing to you, please mark June 1 on your calendar as a time to visit Kol Shalom. If you have an offering you would like to share with the congregation on June 1, or you would like to make a suggestion as to how this service might proceed, please call me at the synagogue office, 410-266-6006, or e-mail me at RabbiKolShalom@Verizon.net.
Rabbi Philip Pohl