Family and Community Gatherings
On various occasions during the year, whole families have the opportunities to learn together, celebrate holidays, and participate in Shabbat services with other families and the TCS community.
See below for descriptions of a few of those opportunities:
Sundays Community Gatherings:
In an effort to build community and to give our students a trajectory of the Torah narrative, we begin each Sunday SULAM session together in the cafetorium at the Center School with “Taste of Torah” – a closer look at the weekly Torah portion. On non-Havdalah days, this gathering concludes by 9:15 am. Parents are encouraged to join the students for this weekly gathering.
Havdalah literally means ‘separation’. It is also the name of a ceremony that separates Shabbat from the rest of the week. Although traditionally Havdalah takes place on Saturday night it can be performed as late as Tuesday. The blessings recited during Havdalah are intended to use all five senses – tasting the wine, smelling the spices, seeing the flame of the candle and feeling its warmth, and hearing the blessings.
At the first Sunday session of every month our entire school community gathers together in the cafetorium at the Center School for Havdalah, to sing songs and to celebrate the birthdays of the month. Each grade level has the chance to lead Havdalah at least once during the year.
Parents are invited and encouraged to attend this special community gathering with their children.
Tefillah (Prayer) / Shira (Music)
On an alternating schedule on non-Havdalah Sundays, students gather for a dynamic morning (shacharit) prayer experience with Rabbi Ken or a festive Shirah (music) session with David Rothberg, our Cantorial Soloist. Both of these offer opportunities to practice prayers learned in the Hebrew Madorim as well as delve deeper into personal and meaningful prayer and familiarity with Jewish music.
Jewish holidays are celebrated as a community with experiential programs. Some holidays have a student only component while others are community wide.
Here are some examples of our holiday programs:
- On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we offer children’s programming during the adult services. These programs include a children’s service as well as interactive and educational activities. For more information about these, check your High Holy Day materials which are mailed in late summer.
- “SULAM in the Sukkah” is a program on the Sukkot eve which incorporates the traditional practices of Sukkot (such as Lulav shaking, Sukkot blessings and Ushpizin inviting) with a community pot-luck dinner and Sukkot service.
- Simchat Torah is celebrated as a community with full student participation.
- Chanukah is an opportunity for celebrating not only the blessings of light and miracles, but also the Consecration of our 2nd graders. We enjoy a community dinner, light our Chanukkiot (Chanukah menorahs) together and perform a moving consecration ceremony to welcome our 2nd graders into “Limmud Torah” – the study of Jewish traditions.
- Tu Bishvat is celebrated as a school to mark the traditional “Jewish Arbor Day”.
- Purim is the festive celebration of Jewish life saved from an evil plot. We mark it with a joyous community celebration complete with a Purim schpiel and carnival.
On two Sundays during the year, the SULAM community gathers together to volunteer for local area charities and organizations. Sorting or making food for a local pantry or homeless shelter, no-sew blankets, birthday boxes, pet toys and more – we have an activity that you’ll enjoy participating while helping a cause that appreciates our efforts! Check the temple calendar for specific dates and more information.