There are always opportunities to participate in a Shabbat Evening Service. Walking into the Social Hall, a member of the Worship Committee will greet you and ask, “Would you like to light candles? Would you like to be called to the Torah? Would you like the honor of Hagbah, lifting the Torah, or Gelilah, dressing the Torah?”
There are many members of our congregation who readily accept one of these honors. However, there are even more who do not.
At a recent meeting of the Worship Committee, we discussed the reasons why so many people do not accept an honor. The number one reason people give for refusing is that “I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it.”
It is understandable why people might feel this way. There are folks who simply do not like to get up in front of a group of people. For others, speaking in public is not his or her thing. Then there are those who worry that she or he may “do it wrong” by not saying the Hebrew correctly. Others may simply not know how to fulfill the honor, especially when it comes to lifting the Torah.
So it occurs to me that in order to lessen the barrier for accepting an honor, we should have a Shabbat service where we slow things down. In essence, the service should be an opportunity to teach how someone can participate more fully.
So at tonight’s Shabbat service, we’ll offer instructions about how to light candles; how to do an Aliyah; and how to lift and dress the Torah.
Hopefully, this evening’s service will increase the comfort level of congregants and encourage greater participation in the future. And if you’re not at tonight’s service but would still like to learn, just let me know. I would be happy to show you.