The celebration of Shabbat is integral to Jewish tradition. Our Congregation usually gathers twice a month on Friday evenings, usually in a member’s home, to welcome Shabbat, to catch up with friends, and to enjoy an often enlightening and entertaining program.
At most such gatherings the evening begins with a Shabbat Welcome Ceremony. The CHJ Ritual and Education Committee has prepared a collection of tens Humanistic Shabbat Ceremonies from which the host family can choose. Each ceremony includes a candle-lighting, short readings and a few songs, and is conducted so that all present may participate. The service ends with an opportunity for everyone to share a life cycle event, such as a new grandchild, a wedding, a family illness.
However busy the work-week, taking time to welcome Shabbat provides a sense of community with Congregation members, a link to Jewish tradition, and a measure of inner peace.
The following collection of ceremonies for Shabbat has evolved in our Congregation over many years and many authors. The first ceremonies are, generally, shorter than the others and designed for families to use at home. The others are more appropriate for community gatherings. Some include readings for candle lighting, bread and wine; others for candle lighting only. All who read this are encouraged to use what they like and to contribute their ideas for change. As with much in our Congregational life, it is a work in progress.