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A Guide to Ritual at Shaarei Shamayim
We are a ritually diverse community and offer many different opportunities for services and holiday celebrations. Read below to learn more!

Shabbat morning with Torah study and service
We have two models for Shabbat morning at Shaarei Shamayim. The first begins at 9:30 a.m. with Torah study. At 10:30 a.m. we gather for a two hour service. During the service, either Rabbi Laurie or a member of Shaarei Shamayim gives the dvar Torah and leads a short discussion. We conclude with Kiddush at 12:30 p.m.

Shabbat morning with service and speaker
The second model begins at 9:30 a.m. with a shorter Shabbat service and only one Torah reading. At 10:30 a.m. we have Kiddush, and at 11:00 a speaker presents and leads a discussion on a topic of interest to the community.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah services
Our young people work very hard to prepare for their bnei mitzvah, and these are joyous occasions that bring together the entire community. We begin at 9:30 a.m. and the service usually concludes around 11:45 a.m. The bar/bat mitzvah family provides lunch, and often members bring a side dish to share as well. All are welcome to the service and to stay for the luncheon.

Shabbat services with cantorial soloist Michele Rozansky
Michele Rozansky travels from Milwaukee to lead select Friday night and Saturday morning Shabbat services throughout the year. She provides strong musical leadership and introduces several new melodies at each service. Michele leads with a guitar and creates a meditative atmosphere. She is training to be a cantor through Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Our Friday night services are usually followed by a vegetarian potluck dinner and discussion.

Intergenerational Shabbat services led by Aviv Kammay
We specifically invite families in our children's education program, Bet Sefer, to these intergenerational services, but they are designed to engage people of all ages. These services begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 11:00 a.m. Aviv plays guitar more energetically in these services. He is the music teacher at Wingra School and the music director at Olin Sang Ruby, a Jewish summer camp in Oconomowoc.

Torah study havurah
Members of our community gather to study the weekly Torah portion twice a month. The group meets in a member’s home, reads the portion in English, and engages in lively discussion. The discussion is followed by bagels and coffee. All are welcome, regardless of familiarity with texts from the Torah.

Friday evening Shabbat potlucks
Once a month we gather in a member’s home for a Shabbat potluck (always vegetarian). These informal dinners provide an opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with community members. Sometimes we invite musicians to lead a loose Shabbat service before or after the meal. At other times a speaker on a social justice topic will give a presentation and lead a discussion.

High Holidays
Our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services are our largest. In addition to our own members, we open our doors to anyone else looking for a place to celebrate the High Holidays. Rabbi Laurie leads these services along with our Cantor, Shira Stanford-Asiyo, and members of High Holiday Song. We have children’s services, teen discussions, and more secular programming as well. Please visit our High Holidays page for more information.

Other Holiday Celebrations
We celebrate a variety of Jewish holidays throughout the year. On Sukkot we build a sukkah and Rabbi Laurie and Aviv lead an intergenerational Friday night service. On Simchat Torah they lead another service, we roll out our Torah, and do some dancing. On Chanukkah the congregation hosts a large party and we light the menorah. One of our members leads a mindfulness Tu B’shevat seder, and other members write a shpiel (play) for Purim. On Passover, our large lay-led community seder brings together a wide variety of people. Rabbi Laurie also leads a seder for toddlers as well as a Bet Sefer seder as part of our children's education program. We wrap up the year on Shavuot by partnering with Beth Israel for a festive service and all night study session.

Sat, November 16 2019 18 Cheshvan 5780