Welcome to Congregation Beth Israel! We enjoy having guests visit us.
Our normal office hours are:
Monday – Thursday, 9am to 5pm
Friday, 9am to 3pm
Our office is closed on some holidays, so be sure to check our CBI Calendar for the latest information. which you can find on our homepage.
If you wish, call or email us to let us know you want to come visit: 860-233-8215, email@example.com.
All of our Shabbat services are open to the public.
Below are some guidelines on what to expect when you join us for services.
Our services are usually held in our sanctuary or our chapel, although in the nice weather we often meet outdoors in our Silver Courtyard.
When you first come in, a greeter should be there to welcome you and to give you a Shabbat Bulletin, a handout that gives more information about upcoming events at Beth Israel. Please introduce yourself to the greeter as a newcomer, and ask any questions that you may have. Our greeter can seat you with other congregants, if you wish, or can introduce you at our Oneg Shabbat.
Tallit (prayer shawls) and kippot (head coverings) are available to both men and women to wear during the service, but they are not required.
You may sit anywhere, although we encourage people to sit together, close to the front.
Length of services
Our services range in length between 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the type of service. Tot Shabbats are about 30 minutes; our Early Service on the first Friday of the month is about 45 minutes; our Late Service on the first Friday of the month is about 45 minutes; other Shabbat Services are about one to one and 1/2 hours; services with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah are about 2 hours. Please contact our office, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-233-8215, if you need to have an estimate of the length of a specific service.
Children are welcome at all of our services. Children who need a break during our longer services are welcome to visit our PJ Library stand, a collection of beautiful children’s books that you can read while you are here. The stand is located in the back of the sanctuary or in the lobby, depending on where our service is held.
The key word in dress is “respectful”. Many men wear suits and ties, while others dress down with a simple jacket and pants. Some women prefer to dress up on Shabbat with nice dresses; others wear business casual. In the summer months, we dress very casually. Our focus is more on having you here, rather than what you are wearing. We just ask that you be respectful in what you wear, and to remember that this is a place of worship.
Our services are very participatory. Our B’nai Mitzvah, especially, are not putting on a “show”, they are there to lead us in worship. We ask that guests say the prayers and sing along with us, as much as you are comfortable. Our clergy will guide you as we move through the service. Our prayer book, Mishkan T’Filah, has the readings in both English, Hebrew, and and transliterated Hebrew, so most people can follow along easily, even those unfamiliar with Hebrew. Our Cantor or Song Leaders will help you with our melodies. Even if you “don’t sing”, you will find our service music contagious, and we hope you will at least hum along!
Oneg Shabbat/Community Dinners/Kiddush
Following our Friday night services, we hold an Oneg Shabbat (joy of Sabbath), a time for us to mingle with some coffee and tea and a little something sweet. You are most welcome to join us! We do love visitors, and if we know you are new to Beth Israel, we will greet you, introduce you to everyone, and take some time to get to know you better. We try to be on the lookout for new people, but on occasion we not spot the newcomer among us. If you have introduced yourself to our greeter before services, our greeter will be responsible to introduce you at the Oneg Shabbat, so please don’t be shy when you first come in! Or contact us ahead of time, and we can arrange to have some congregants sit with you during services and introduce you to everyone at our Oneg Shabbat.
On the last Friday of every month, we hold a Kabbalat Shabbat, followed by a community dinner. Our dinner is open to everyone, and is catered. There is a small fee for dinner, and we do ask for advance reservations. Please see our event listings for the next community dinner.
After our Saturday morning services at 11 am, we hold a brief kiddush with grape juice and challah. This is usually a small and intimate group, and everyone is welcome!
Please join us
Shabbat and our social gatherings afterwards are most joyous times of the week for us at Beth Israel.
We hope you can take part, as we will all be enriched by your presence.
Contact: Laurie Leader, Executive Director, 860-233-8215 x2250, email@example.com
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