Last Shabbat, North Shore Synagogue welcomed its new staff at a festive barbecue and service. Here, board member Elizabeth Bailenson reflects on the evening’s events. Please join Rabbi Bravo, Rabbi Shalhevet, and Cantor Fishman tonight for Shabbat services at 7:30 PM. Shabbat Shalom!
Community. Synergy. Electricity. Last Friday night, we came together as a community to enjoy a barbecue (toques off to you, Brotherhood) followed by a very special Shabbat service to welcome Cantor Magda Fishman, Cantor Rich Pilatsky and Sherry Gutes, our Director of Congregational Learning. Long tables were laid out in the halls of our Religious School to accommodate upwards of 150 adults and children, people from our congregation and staff. Cantor Magda Fishman came with her husband, Zarin, and their new baby, Yair. Cantor Pilatsky was there with his wife, Sandy, children and grandchildren. Rabbi Bravo brought her family, and Rabbi Shalhevet was there with little Sam. It was truly a family affair.
After dinner, we entered the sanctuary for a special Shabbat service. Notable was the way in which our clergy shared the bimah, truly sharing, then stepping back to allow Cantor Fishman and Cantor Pilatsky to lead us in song. Despite the fact that Cantor Pilatsky had a bout of bronchitis, he was able to sing with raspy gusto. Cantor Fishman’s voice took us to new places, stirring our souls and eliciting tears in some congregants. It was a jubilant service and there was an electric buzz of excitement in the sanctuary. People seem to sense a new, hopeful direction in which our synagogue is heading, one where the clergy and staff work with fluidity, accessibility, and humanity to foster a community of spiritual authenticity and connectivity.
After the service, I listened to the people around me, many of whom expressed joy, gratitude, awakening; they seemed to know that this was not the typical Friday Night Service. As the service came to a close, our Rabbis and Cantors led us down the center aisle out of the sanctuary to the ballroom for an Shabbat where we were greeted by all kinds of wonderful desserts, my favorite being the s’mores. We continued to enjoy each others’ company, talking to our fellow congregants, staff and clergy. It was a wonderful evening of festivity, foretelling the possibility of many more opportunities to worship and connect in meaningful ways here at North Shore Synagogue.