Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So what's next?

We've been having a fantastic time studying the Haftarot at Borders on Concord Pike (rt. 202) in Wilmington on Saturday mornings, but we're fast coming to a close. August 29th will be our last session in Borders, we'll take a break for Labor Day weekend and then we move back into Beth Emeth the following week when services start back up.

In some ways, this kind of experience is very specific to a place; having the setting for our study OUT of the building makes a difference, and while I hope we'll continue to have study opportunities at coffee shops, bookstores and bars (yep, you read that right) throughout the year, I also believe there is the possibility of bringing elements of that experience back into the building.

The question is, what shall this study opportunity look like?

So, if you've come to one (or more) of the Borders study sessions, or you wanted to but couldn't make it, here's your chance to provide some feedback. What would you like to study (assuming we're sticking to Scripture and Torah here), and when? Where in the building (remembering that we're somewhat constrained by the use of space, especially when there's a bar/bat mitzvah in the sanctuary)?

Some options:

  • Parashat Hashavua: that is, looking at the weekly portion, either as a whole or a specific section (borrowing from the Conservative Movement's triennial cycle, where they chop the portion into 3 sections). This is certainly my preference, but I'm open to ideas.
  • Continuing with the model we currently have, which is looking at the Pentateuch a couple of verses at a time and doing a long, deep study of the text, taking about 7-ish years to complete the cycle.
  • Either, but don't just use Plaut (the Reform Movement's Torah: A Commentary) but other texts as well (Eitz Hayyim, A Women's Commentary, etc.).
when :
  • at 9:30-10:30am, as we currently are doing it.
  • from 9:00-10:30am, to allow for an additional half-hour and give Cantor Stanton a chance to teach from time to time
  • Have it attached or anchored by the morning service somehow.
I could list other options, but I want to hear from you--email me (or reply to this blog or on my facebook) what you'd like to see.


  1. I'm not exactly sure what you're doing on Saturday mornings, but we have a 9am-10:15am morning library minyan and Torah study each week. Our regular B'nai MItzvah services start at 10:30am. We are always there, never miss a Shabbat (but we won't meet on Rosh haShanah...) we do often meet on holidays like 4th of July, etc, when they fall on Shabbat. And when festivals fall on Shabbat (like first day Sukkot, we just incorporate the two together)

    We pray for about half an hour (maybe a little longer with the covnersations that ensue) and then study parashat hashavua for the rest of the time. we have coffee and bagels. it rocks. i also require all bar mitzvah students to attend once during their year prior, particularly suggesting that they attend on the shabbat one year prior when their parasha is studied...it works well and gets ppl to torah study. we also read the kaddish list at that service so that helps too.

  2. Phyllis: See previous blog entries (and today's); I think there's some description of what we've been doing over the summer.

    I like what you describe. Does this happen before/simultaneous to the BM service? I assume the 30 min. daven is so people don't want to attend the Bar/Bat mitzvah service?