Below is a letter sent to the congregation on August 18, 2021.
As you may know, we have been thinking about the start time for Friday night Shabbat services. Over the years, we have tried many approaches. Since 1997 we held services at 6:30 pm on the first Fridays and 7:30 pm the rest of the month. For a period, we added an 8:00 pm worship time. Over the past decade, we have held summer services at 6:00 pm. During the eighteen months of the pandemic, we have held services at 6:00 pm. This consistency has resonated with many. For years we have heard feedback desiring a consistent time for Shabbat evening services similar to our consistent 10 am as we have on Shabbat morning.
We asked for your input in a recent survey and 230 responded. In our diverse community, people had preferences for everything from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. A little under half said that they would attend regardless of timing. While the preference for online worship was 6:00 pm and then 6:30 pm (31%/27%) a plurality preferred 7:00 pm and then 6:30 pm for in person worship (30%/22%).
While there is no one time that will perfectly meet everyone’s needs, we determined that a 6:30 start time honors the feedback and could best accommodate commute time, young families’ schedules, Shabbat dinners before or after services, and our wonderful culture of community building through Oneg time together.
During the summers, we will continue our tradition of 6:00 pm Shabbat services.
As always, we will see how this works for our congregation and will be in touch if changes need to be made.
So please mark your calendars: Beginning September 10, we will hold all Friday night Shabbat services at 6:30 pm.
Sally Glick, Worship Committee Chair
Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi
Esther Adler, Rabbi
Jennifer Strauss-Klein, Cantor
Rachel Stock Spilker, Cantor