Published on: February 2020
'Shabbat Shalom' On Friday evening, 21st February, a dozen preachers from our Circuit made their way to Hull Reform Synagogue, also known as Ne've Shalom, to share worship and learn about the Jewish community in Willerby.
We were warmly greeted by the Chairman, Andy Harbert, and introduced to members of the community who gently explained that the chaps in our group should cover their heads with a 'kippah' or 'skull cap'. A selection of kippot (the plural of kippah) were available including a rather fetching blue satin model(!)
There were about eighty people there; around fifteen were regular Friday night worshippers, and then there were the guests and invited dignitaries including Councillor Tom Astell, the Deputy Mayor of Beverley, and his consort.
We began by learning the greeting 'Shabbat Shalom'. 'Shabbat' is Hebrew for Sabbath, and 'Shalom' means peace. This is a common greeting on Friday evening or throughout the day until the evening on Sabbath (Saturday).
What makes this particular service different from the normal Friday night service is the running commentary from Ian Sugerman, and his daughter Aimi, who explained the nature of the prayers being recited, their background, origin and the traditional rituals being observed.
The service books we used were cleverly designed with each page containing the words of the service in Hebrew script, the Hebrew transliteration, and English; so parts of the service were spoken in English, and when it came to the bits in Hebrew we could try our hand at speaking Hebrew using the transliteration.
The difficult bit was remembering that page 1 was at the back of the book and the last page was at the front! Stephen Byass and I helped each other when we got lost, although the leaders were very careful to tell us the page numbers.
The service was made up of prayers, Psalms, and chants — we recognised many of the Psalms, of course, and I was so impressed by the simple prayer structure that I copied the opening prayer which is at the bottom of this article. Of note — when I asked a lady if I could have a photocopy of the opening prayer she paused and explained that although they had a photocopier, she couldn't use it because it would be considered 'work' — and it was now the Sabbath. However, she kindly allowed this Gentile to take a photo of the prayer.
After the Service, we shared bread and wine following the Brachot (blessing) and then enjoyed sharing a wide range of 'Jewish-style' foods.
Many thanks to Hazel Adamson for organising this trip, and thanks to Audrey Ashcroft for introducing us to this annual event.
For Erev Shabbat
Our Creator, You have made us the masters of Your world, to tend it, to serve it, and to enjoy it.
For six days we measure and we build, we count and carry the real and the imagined burdens of our task, the success we earn and the price we pay.
On this, the Shabbat day, give us rest.
For six days, if we are weary or bruised by the world, if we think ourselves giants or cause others pain, there is never a moment to pause, and know what we should really be.
On this, the Shabbat day, give us time.
For six days we are torn between our private greed and the urgent needs of others, between the foolish noises in our ears and the silent prayer of our soul.
On this, the Shabbat day, give us understanding and peace.
Help us, God, to carry these lessons, of rest and time, of understanding and peace, into the six days that lie ahead, to bless us in the working days of our lives. Amen.
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