Come join us for Shabbat services, Sunday morning adult education, Bar and Bat Mitzvah services, and holiday celebrations.
Friday Night Services
Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is an obligation that is also a blessing. It is, in fact, known as mekor habracha—the source of all blessings. If we allow Shabbat to set a rhythm to our week, if we make time to slow down, stop and reflect on the joys and challenges of the past six days, we can live a healthier, more modulated life.
But transitioning from work to rest is not as easy as it sounds. Most of us need help. This is the purpose of Kabbalat Shabbat, which literally means “receiving” or “welcoming” Shabbat. Through a blend of prayer, song, poetry, silent reflection, and Torah study, Rabbi Gerson and Cantor Barr lead our community as we shift from “doing” to “being.”
Services begin each Friday evening at 7:00 and are preceded by an oneg (a light snack) offered from 6:30-7:00 PM, which offers community members the opportunity to schmooze and nosh before services.
Once a month our service is especially geared towards families with children, but is open to everyone and includes a congregational dinner.
All are welcome. No Jewish knowledge or Hebrew required.
The Jewish year is filled with holidays – joyous and solemn, celebratory and contemplative. Click here for the dates of the upcoming holidays.
High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services are appropriately more formal than our Shabbat services. They include exceptionally beautiful music from our Cantor and the choir, enhanced by the spiritual guidance provided by the Rabbi and the beautiful of the new Machzor for the Days of Awe, Mishkan Hanefesh. Selichot marks the beginning of the High Holy Days with a moving late-night Saturday service.
Two morning services are offered on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – a shorter service for families with school-aged children at 8:30 followed by the full worship service at 11:00. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Gerson leads a contemplative walk in Pomerance Park open to the entire community. GRS membership includes tickets to all High Holy Day services. Please click here to download a membership application and dues schedule.
Rosh Chodesh: Join Rabbi Jordie and the women of GRS to welcome the new moon, check in with yourself and friends, and sing and study.
Rosh Chodesh is a holiday of and for Jewish women. It celebrates the monthly new moon, which, like women’s bodies, waxes and wanes in a monthly cycle. And though the holiday has existed for millennia, the dawn of the women’s movement led to the creation of Jewish women’s groups. Women began coming together to connect to their female ancestors — and to each other — with song, prayer, discussion and celebration. There is no one way to celebrate, and so, over the years, observance has shifted to reflect what is meaningful to each group of women who mark the holiday. Click here to check the calendar for the next celebration and call (203) 629-0018 to RSVP.
Life cycle events
Baby namings – Brit Milah (bris) and Brit ha Chayim
We look forward to the celebration of joyous events such as a Brit Milah (bris) or a Brit Shalom for a boy, or Brit Ha-Chayim, the covenantal baby naming for a girl. Jewish tradition creates a beautiful setting to bring boys and girls into the Covenant of Israel and give them Hebrew names. As the Midrash explains: “With each baby, the world begins anew.”
Brit Milah: From the time of Abraham and Sarah, Jews have been called to enter the covenant, as described in the Torah (Genesis, Chapter 17, Verse 12): “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations.” GRS will help you find a mohel to perform the ritual circumcision (Brit Milah or bris) of your son. We can assist in the naming ceremony for your family that welcomes your son into the Covenant of Israel. If you do not wish to have a traditional circumcision ceremony, a Brit Shalom is an alternative.
Brit Ha-Chayim: The egalitarian tradition of GRS is to welcome baby girls into the covenant of Israel with a naming ceremony. Whether you prefer to name your daughter at a Shabbat service or in a private ceremony, we are happy to help your family create a meaningful ceremony at a time and date of your mutual convenience.
Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation
The process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a sacred journey – one that prepares a child to embrace their responsibility for both the commandments of our tradition and the Jewish community. Throughout this journey, our clergy and Religious School guide and support each student to insure that they will ascend the bimah proudly and confidently.
Formal Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparations begin approximately six months prior to a child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. Students work individually with Rabbi Gerson once a week on either Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons. Bar/Bat Mitzvah candidates are also required to attend our Religious School’s Seventh Grade class and a B’nai Mitzvah workshop. In addition, all B’Nai Mitzvah candidates must complete a Tikkun Olam project by participating in a community service project to fulfill the obligation of g’milut chasadim (acts of loving kindness).
The Rabbi offers warm, contemporary, and personalized Jewish wedding ceremonies, and embraces those in interfaith and/or same sex relationships. Upon contacting GRS, you will come in for an initial meeting, providing the opportunity for the two of you to get to know us, ask any questions you may have, share your personal desires, and gain an understanding of the Jewish wedding ceremony. During subsequent meetings, we will work with you to craft a service that is special for each couple and meaningful and enjoyable for all guests. For more information, contact Rabbi Gerson at email@example.com or (203) 629-0018.
Illness and End-of-Life Concerns
The GRS congregational family helps its members during difficult periods. Our clergy and community are a source of comfort during times of illness and sorrow, providing the caring concern and religious services desired.