For quite some time, Oheb Shalom Congregation has been talking about finding ways to make the experience of praying together more meaningful. To help meet this important need we are introducing a new Shabbat morning service—the Kehillah Minyan—beginning this Saturday, September 26. The Kehillah Minyan will meet eight times during year from 10:30 AM-12:00 PM and will be held in addition to our regular Shabbat morning service.
Our primary goal is to increase the net attendance on Shabbat mornings. While the Tefillah Committee has worked hard over the past year to enhance the traditional Shabbat morning service, we have not seen a significant increase in attendance. My hope is that the Kehillah Minyan will bring in new people, especially those who wish to connect to the richness of Jewish worship but find it difficult to do so in a traditional setting.
The Kehillah Minyan will follow the framework of a traditional Shabbat morning service that I will lead, but will not be bound by the particular liturgical traditions we have come to observe at Oheb Shalom. The aim is to create a Shabbat morning service that feels authentic and is manageable in length. The prayers will be recited mostly in Hebrew from a Siddur that offers a significant amount of transliteration. We will read seven aliyot from the Torah, though not the entire triennial cycle that is followed in the traditional service. An abbreviated Haftarah will be recited if the theme is particularly engaging. The Kehillah Minyan will include a robust and relevant Torah discussion. Popular, singable melodies will be used, sometimes accompanied by guitar. Families with children and teens are of course welcome to attend the Kehillah Minyan. Everyone present at Oheb Shalom on Shabbat morning will gather for the Kiddush shortly after 12:00 PM.
Jewish prayer offers us spiritual expression and an understanding of our place in the world. I hope that the Kehillah Minyan will unlock the beauty of our prayers for even more people.