What programs do you have for families with young children?
We have a wide variety of programs:
- Tot Shabbat - a monthly Shabbat morning service geared to children ages 0-8, conducted by Julie DiOrio and Rabbi Abramson. The service includes basic prayers with special hand motions, and a Torah parade, a special story with puppets and props. A craft and healthy Oneg Shabbat follow the service.
- Temple Tots Playground Playgroup - for ages 0-5 with parents. Meets one afternoon a month in the temple playground. A great way to meet other families.
- Pre-Hebrew - a Sunday morning weekly class for 3 and 4 year olds, taught by Rhonda Rubin with the help of a number of high school aides.
- Monthly Shabbat Ruach Services - Beginning this fall, we will offer a monthly Shabbat evening service beginning at 6:30pm. The service will be conducted by Rabbi Abramson and Cantorial Soloist Ben Silver, along with members of the Temple Band. The service will last about 45 minutes, include a lot of music and be followed by an Oneg Shabbat.
Are interfaith couples/families welcome?
We are an extremely warm, welcoming community for those in interfaith marriages. We have a large number of interfaith families in our congregation. We support both partners in their life journey and in helping them to raise their children in the Jewish community.
What services and programs do you offer on the holidays?
We are a "full service" congregation. We celebrate two days of Rosh Hashanah and have a unique Tashlich Service on the Concord River. We have a community break fast following Yom Kippur services. We build our own sukkah and have a sukkah decorating party. We officially welcome new religious school students to our community with a Consecration ceremony during our Sukkot service. We dance with the Torahs to the accompaniment of the Temple Band on Simhat Torah. We have a temple-wide hanukkah party, featuring a "Creative Hanukkiah" Contest. There is a lively seder on Tu Bishvat, the New Year For the Trees. Rabbi Abramson writes a new musical each year for the outrageously funny Purim shpiel. Rabbi Abramson, along with the Temple Band, lead us in a rousing Second Seder for Passover.
When and where does your religious school meet?
Our outstanding religious school program, under the direction of Joan Perlman, is for children in Grades K-12. Grades K-7 meet Sunday mornings, 9-11am, at the Marshall Simonds Middle School on Winn St. in Burlington, near the intersection of Rte. 128. Grades 3-7 also meet Tuesdays, 4-6pm, at the temple. Grades 8-12 meet Monday evenings, 7-8pm at the temple.
Do you have a Sisterhood and Brotherhood?
We have an active Sisterhood and Brotherhood. Sisterhood programs include movie and dinner nights, spa nights, mah jongg, a knitting club, family pool party, comedy brunch and many new friendships! Brotherhood programs include Broadway Shows in Boston, a Mother's Day Brunch and Lowell Spinners Games to name a few, as well as great comraderie.
How involved is the rabbi with the children?
Rabbi Abramson prides herself in getting to know each child personally. Imbuing children with a positive Jewish identity are one of the main priorities of her rabbinate. To this end, she is at the religious school, actively involved in each classroom, every Monday and Tuesday. She has written a series of Jewish children's books to help children learn about Jewish holidays in a fun and humorous way. Learn about her Rabbi Rocketpower books at http://www.rabbirocketpower.com.
What about Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
Bar/Bat Mitzvah is one of the main goals of our religious school program. Each child is privately tutored six-seven months prior to their service. Each child has his/her own ceremony on Shabbat. Rabbi Abramson and Ben Silver conduct the service in a very personal and moving way. Our young men and women conduct this service themselves, leading the prayers as well as reading Torah, Haftarah and serving as the "rabbi" for the service. It is one of the highlights of every family's life!
What about youth groups?
We have very active youth groups. Our Junior youth group is for Grades 6-8. Our Senior Youth Group, SEFTY, is for Grades 9-12. They have monthly activities and provide a great way for our teenagers to bond and feel part of our Jewish community in a fun, relaxed way.
What programs do you have for adults?
This year we will offer a Beginners Adult Hebrew Class for those who would like to learn to read Hebrew, taught by Rabbi Abramson. There will be additional Adult Ed offerings, including a Parent Connection class Sunday mornings. Each grade in the religious school has a Family Education session taught by our Steve DiOrio, our amazing family educator. We have a very active Tikkun Olam, social action group. Each month we feature a charity during one of our Shabbat services. We sponsor a Christmas Dinner for the Seniors at the Billerica Council on Aging and provide cereal to the Jewish Family Table. We have a once-a-month "traditional" Friday evening service featuring a Torah service and a monthly Shabbat morning minyan.
When can we come and check out the temple?
Over the summer we will be having two Shabbat services, on July 15 and August 19. The July service is "lay-led." Rabbi Abramson and Ben Silver will conduct the August 19th "Open House" Shabbat service, which will be preceded by a barbecue. The Annual Open House, featuring a free pancake breakfast and lots of activities for the kids, will be held on Sunday, August 28, 10:30am-Noon. To make an appointment to visit the temple, contact Lisa DiOrio.