Dear Baltimore Friends, Colleagues, Allies and Neighbors,
Our Beth Am community is reeling as we attempt to process the devastating attack against the Jewish community and grieve the murder of 11 people during Shabbat morning services in Pittsburgh. We are appreciative of so many of you who have reached to us or to your Jewish friends, neighbors and co-workers to offer solace and support. We also recognize that the vicious attack on a Jewish house of worship is symptomatic of the toxic xenophobia infecting American society. Our suffering exists in a broader context of too many individuals and identity groups who have been victims of hate (including two murdered at a Kroger and over a dozen critics of the administration who received pipe bombs last week).
Many have asked what you can do in this moment. In response, Beth Am would to invite you to join us for worship this coming Saturday morning. We will participate in a national effort to stand in solidarity with Pittsburgh and #ShowUpForShabbat. This is an opportunity for all peace-loving Baltimoreans, Jews and their fellow travelers, allies, neighbors from and beyond Reservoir Hill, to simply show up and be counted.
In response to terror and hate, we will love. In response to violence we will pray and serve. Instead of cowering in fear, our doors will be open wide to all who wish to stand with us. The best way to counter a hateful act on our day of shalom is to add peace to the world
(I almost certainly neglected to add people to this list. Please pass it along! This is NOT an invitation-only event. It’s for all who wish to make common cause and stand up for peace and justice. And if it’s convenient to go to another shul, go there! We’re all feeling equally the loss of our fellow Jews this week).
A few things to keep in mind:
·Beth Am, like Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, is a Conservative synagogue. Most of our prayers are chanted, sung or said in Hebrew. Our prayer book contains a fair amount of transliteration and the whole liturgy is translated and annotated, but even when you cannot participate (for linguistic or theological reasons) we invite you to hum along, find your own words, or simply be present in body and spirit.
·It is customary for gentlemen to wear a kippah (head covering) which we provide and for Jewish men to wear a tallit (prayer shawl). We are an egalitarian congregation and you will see women wearing ritual items as well.
·We will make a point of creating moments throughout the morning to mark the occasion, honor the dead and pray for a better America. Of course, I will address the shooting and the state of our society in my sermon.
·It is not uncommon for congregants to arrive later in the service. While you are most welcome to come at 9:30 when we begin, showing up at 10:15 or 10:30 is just fine.
· We are working with the BPD to make sure adequate security is in place. Our doors being open doesn’t mean they are open to bad-actors.
· Services typically conclude around 12:15, and we have a Kiddush Luncheon following services each week. We hope you will stay and join us in the spirit of fellowship and solidarity.
We look forward to worshipping with you this Shabbat at Beth Am, and we thank you for your ongoing love, support and presence in the life of our congregation and community.