I realize that on the first day of the Omer I wrote about an impending Beth Sholom building inspection but never gave the results. As you probably can guess by my silence, there are still some things to get in order before we can move into our new home. But we are definitely only a couple of weeks away at the most. I know I'll have lots to say as we start to occupy our new space and make it our own. Until that time, I'll share an short essay I wrote for our synagogue newsletter, HaRuach. It will give you an idea of what we're in store for in our ritual spaces. And if you click on the photo, you'll be directed to an article written about the new building in the San Francisco Examiner.
Making Space for Traditions, Old and NewAs I write this, the stained glass windows from the sanctuary in the old building are being installed in the chapel of the new building. This is a reflection of how we are taking the traditions that we cherish—the traditions of Judaism and of Beth Sholom—and melding them into our new home.
While the ruach, the spirit, of our community will permeate every room in our building, there are three spaces specifically designed as centers for our Jewish ritual practice—the main sanctuary, the chapel, and the meditation room. Each of these places creates space for different forms of spiritual expression.
In the main sanctuary we will come together on Shabbat and the chagim, filling that bowl with the sound of voices singing in prayer. Picture Ne’eilah, the last service of Yom Kippur, with the room filled to the brim. Look up and see the night sky for the stars that will herald the culmination of that day; look around at all the faces sharing that sacred time.
The chapel will be infused with the prayers of our daily minyanim, supporting those who feel the loss of a loved one. It will contain voices of our children as they gather weekly to learn and practice tefillah, bringing new life to these ancient prayers.
In the meditation room we can sit in quiet contemplation. It will be open before all services for those who would like to use that time as a prelude to communal prayer.
Our community stands between the stained glass of the chapel and the skylights of the sanctuary, honoring the past and looking towards the future. Together we will create a place of vibrant Jewish life for all the generations to come