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October 8, 2015 | 25th Tishrei 5776
Giving Honors


  1. March 2007 Digest 033

                Our congregation has been finding it increasingly difficult to recruit participants for our Shabbat services.

                In the past, our participants included:

    1)  Shabbat Candle Lighter

    2)  Torah Aliyah

    3)  Prayer After the Adoration/Aleinu

    4)  Kiddush

                The way we used to handle filling these roles was to have our Ritual Committee periodically make phone calls during their meeting, lining up participants for three months in advance. However, the members of our committee felt that is was too time consuming, taking away from their opportunity to discuss substantive ritual matters.

                So the system was changed, as each member of the committee agreed to make phone calls from home, to fill the honors for a month. However, this system was flawed in that some committee members would make phone calls while others failed to do so. Also, it was difficult to coordinate so that different committee members did not attempt to recruit the same congregants.

                This was accompanied by the periodic publishing of a sign up sheet in our newsletter. However, it was a rare instance indeed when congregants would fill out and return this sheet. After a certain amount of discussion and anguish, our Ritual Committee reduced the number of service "honors" to two--candle lighting and Torah aliyah…But still, it has been a struggle to fill even these spots.

                In recent months, our Ritual Committee has taken to recruiting these honors via email. At first this proved a bit more effective. However, these days such recruitment emails need to go out at least once every week…


    165 members
  2. March 2007 Digest 033

                In the mid to late nineties we had a member of the [Religious Services Committee] who (single-handedly) made recruitment calls. If she had been a less secure person, she certainly would have ended up with an inferiority complex from being rejected so often! (Sometimes rabbi's secretary stepped in and was able to get some cooperation)

                More recently, we have tried the whole committee calling to fill different month's aliyot. It didn't work well for all the reasons [another poster] mentions. We have experienced a similar reaction to the perception of "honors."

                We now put the offer out in the weekly e-mail and there may be a few responses. We have recently had a few special occasions (repeat of Parsha by Adult B'not Mitzvah, sponsorship of flowers or Oneg) where members of the family or the donors have accepted an aliyah.

                Otherwise, I, as the [Religious Services Committee] Co-chair and unofficial "Gabbai" ask people before services to participate.

                These "parts" are typically Candles and Kiddush on Friday night. Anyone under Bar Mitzvah age is invited to participate in Motzi (end of the service, before the Oneg) Saturday morning typically (non-Bar Mitzvah) includes Torah Blessings, taking the Torah from the Aron, Hakafah, Reading the Haftarah in English. Kiddush and Motzi are done at the Kiddush.


    400 member units
  3. March 2007 Digest 033

                I am the chair of the Religious Practices Committee at our synagogue. Our Torah Service is usually held on Friday night due to lack of participation on Sat am. Each member of the committee takes a night to pass out the honors. This "schedule" is pre-assigned at our monthly meetings. The typical honors we have are: open/closing the Ark, Torah carrier, prayer for peace, three aliyot, lifter, and dresser.

                On our website we have a detailed description of each honor. There is also a hard copy available in the sanctuary. Handing out the honors that evening works the best for us as we never know who will show on any particular night.


    170 families

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