Ritual Reflections – A Collaborative Effort

Posted on September 5, 2016 by Mike Bloomstein and Ed Malberg, Co-Chairs

With the regular services about to begin and the High Holy Days just around the corner, the members of the Ritual Committee have been working with the temple’s clergy and professional staff, and with other committees, to prepare for the arrival of 5777. Ushers, greeters, parking, tickets, seating arrangements, security, sound system, silver polishing, special Torah covers, park permits (for tashlich), etc., these are the crucial nuts and bolts that, of course, are taken care of by the staff and by experienced members like Ed Tolman, Jim Lavranchuk, Jodi Siegal, and Caren Bateman. Rabbi Gluck and Cantor Pincus have brought fresh insights and ideas to their review of the worship services for the Yomim Norim.

This year, for example, Selichot Services will include clergy and members of Temple Sholom and the Flemington Jewish Community Center. The Ritual Committee has often discussed ways to broaden our worship to include other elements of the Jewish community; Rabbi Gluck offered us a great way to effect that enhanced sense of Jewish community in preparing for our Selichot worship. Further, the Committee had discussed ways to deepen the Yom Kippur worship by using new resources. Rabbi Gluck drew on our Committee’s deliberations to fashion a new Yom Kippur afternoon service using Mishkan HaNefesh, the CCAR’s new prayer book for the High Holy Days.

Ritual isn’t the only committee or organization actively involved in all this. The Brotherhood makes the parking arrangements, Sisterhood leads the break-the-fast and Social Action Committee handles the High Holy Day food drive. In fact, most of the accomplishments and fellowship experienced at Temple Beth-El come from work on the committees. The Ritual Committee, in particular, gives its members the opportunity to serve the temple by helping to shape our worship, by working closely with the rabbi, the cantor and Executive Director Amy Rubin, by gathering monthly to review the mechanics of the Ritual calendar and to consider the meaningfulness and relevance of our worship.

Many of our veteran members look forward to sharing experience and fulfillment with additional members in meeting their significant responsibilities: Jodi Siegal for our weekly Oneg Shabbat celebrations, Mike Bloomstein for Shabbat and festival ushers, Michele Holler in working with the B’nai Mitzvah, Marci Rosenfeld for the Congregational Second Seder, Ed Tolman for summer and minyan services and Jim Lavranchuk for liaison to the Confirmation Class and technology support.

Your leadership and interest in worship may find expres-sion as a member of the Ritual Committee. Please let Rabbi Gluck, President Robin Osman or either of the Ritual co-chairs, Mike Bloomstein or Ed Malberg, know if you are interested.

May you be inscribed for a good and fruitful year.

Mike Bloomstein and Ed Malberg

Originally published in the September-October 2016 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.