As the pandemic continued into the winter, so did Congregation Beth Ahabah’s programming.
Education, for children as well at adults, continued uninterrupted. Religious school teachers and students grew accustomed to the new Google Classrooms platform and exploited it to enjoy such experiences as virtual tours of Israeli cities, videos about Torah portion, and even interactive Hebrew bingo.
Adults and teens met Monday nights, in slightly greater numbers virtually than in the past in-person. Adults explored the history and techniques of Jewish Cuisine, Holocaust studies, Psalms, Hebrew, Judaism and Prayer 101, among other topics.
The teens enjoyed weekly check-ins and discussing Jewish ethics and their application to current events. The Confirmation class reviewed the Union of Reform Judaism’s current Statement of Principles, which was most recently updated in 1999, and drafted their own 2020 Confirmation Class Statement on Reform Judaism: God, Torah, Israel which was shared with the Congregation.
As December arrived, the board and volunteers were busy making another round of phone calls checking in with all congregants and delivering Chanukah Bags to everyone as well.
The bags included items needed to celebrate and enjoy Chanukah: blessings, Dreidels, and even a build-your-own oil burning Chanukiah kit: Everything but the Latkes!
Congregants also gathered each night online for candle lighting, music from Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman and a teaching from Rabbi Scott Nagel.
For the Shabbat service during Chanukah, some members of the adult choir submitted individual recordings of themselves singing Maoz Tsur following a piano track prerecorded by Music Director Natan Berenshteyn.
Cantor Sarah Beck-Berman mixed the recordings to produce a 7-voice version played at the live-streamed service, leading many to report becoming a bit teary hearing multiple voices raised in song at Shabbat services for the first time since March.
As the dark days of winter begin to lengthen once again, virtual programming will continue. On Friday, Jan. 15th, the Shabbat service honoring Martin Luther King Day, will feature music performed by The Afro-Semitic Experience. This service will stream a usual on our YouTube channel.
On Sunday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. the Women of Beth Ahabah’s next Nosh & Knowledge event (co-sponsored by the Beth Ahabah Brotherhood) will feature a Zoom talk with Pulitzer Prize winning, New York Times investigative reporter Michael Schmidt.
For more information on Beth Ahabah, call (804) 358-6757 or visit www.bethahabah.org.