February 13, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Bim Bom, Bim Bim Bim Bom, Bim Bim Bim Bim Bim Bom…
Shabbat Shalom Hey! Shabbat Shalom Hey!
Shabbat Shabbat Shabbat Shabbat Shalom Hey!!....
In perhaps one of the most iconic Shabbat songs, Bim Bom captures what Friday night, to those who celebrate Shabbat, is all about. Joy.
Welcoming the Sabbath and experiencing that joy can be a special and unique experience, even for those who are not religious. Unfortunately, many families find that it is difficult to set aside the time for Shabbat due to competing distractions such as public school events, sports, and clubs that meet on Friday afternoon or night.
Shabbat Across America is one way that families with otherwise hectic schedules can, for one night, experience the joy that Shabbat has to offer. Shabbat Across America (SAA), a program run by the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP.org), evolved from the Turn Friday Night into Shabbat program developed at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in 1980. The goal of the original and current program is to give under-affiliated and unaffiliated Jews to experience Shabbat in a warm and welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere.
In Union County, Temple Beth El Mekor Chayim of Cranford and Westfield (TBEMC), has sponsored this program over the past 10+ years allowing Jews from Cranford, Westfield, Clark, Scotch Plains/Fanwood, Garwood, Springfield, Linden, and other surrounding towns to partake in this national event. In March of 2012, TBEMC held such a successful Shabbat Across America event, the NJOP used suggestions made by coordinator Adrienne Fitzer in their SAA Tip Sheet which was sent to coordinators internationally.
This year, on March 1st, TBEMC opens its doors once again to Shabbat Across America and to all Jewish families regardless of denomination. That includes families with and without children, those who do not belong to a synagogue, and those that are interfaith. Back for her second year, Adrienne Fitzer, with Chaya Krinsky of Pomp Caterers of Morristown (www.pompcaterers.com), has planned a delicious Moroccan themed meal which will follow a family friendly service. Rabbi Benjamin Goldstein, and a team of dedicated volunteers, are working on making the SAA Friday night service accessible to everyone, even those with minimal or no background in Hebrew, prayer, or Jewish tradition, culture, and laws. Mrs. Fitzer has been working with members of the community to ensure costs are reasonable for families with teens, and educational director Tamara Reuben is getting the TBEMC religious school students ready to perform songs during various parts of the evening.
Behind the scenes, the TBEMC community is gearing up to open their home by inviting friends and family, offering to help offset costs to make sure that families who can’t afford the event can still attend, and donating time. The members of the community who attended the event last year provided a safe and joyous Shabbat experience for every person who came, young and old, and everyone is looking forward to doing so again this year.
Shabbat Across America is not a fundraising event. “SAA is an outreach program designed for the unaffiliated, the new to the community, "I am not sure which community I belong in" interfaith families, young families with kids, couples without kids (or with kids who do not hang out with them anymore), singles, grandparents with their grand-kids...everyone!” says Mrs. Fitzer, “and we would love for all of you to join us.”
To find out more about Shabbat Across America at TBEMC or to register, call the office at 908-276-9231 or register online at www.tbemc.org
Adults $20 per person, Ages 11-17 $10, Age 3-10 $5, Under 3 Free.