B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany is excited to announce that it will continue its monthly “Tot Shabbat” through 2019.
Held the second Friday of each month, each Tot Shabbat features songs, dancing, a story from a “PJ Library” book and basic prayers focused on children age 5 and under. The half-hour service at 5:30 p.m. is preceded by an informal reception at 5 p.m. with food and drink to appeal to both small children and their parents and an opportunity for all to socialize. Rabbi Donald P. Cashman will continue to lead most of the services, with assistance from congregants and lay leaders.
B’nai Sholom is located at 420 Whitehall Road, Albany.
The congregation began Tot Shabbat in summer 2018 on a pilot basis at the suggestion of a congregant who was eager for a program that would benefit her twin daughters. Now it will become a permanent offering.
“B’nai Sholom has always been a kid-friendly congregation, which is what attracted many of us to the synagogue in the first place,” said then-President Libby Liebschutz, who worked to promote Tot Shabbat both within the congregation and to the broader community. “We’re always excited about having more young children in our synagogue and our role in exposing them to the joy and richness of Jewish life.”
The next Tot Shabbat service is Friday, December 14. Dates for 2019 are:
January 11 February 8 March 8
April 12 May 10 June 14
July 12 August 19 September 13
October 11 November 8 December 13
Each service features a story read from a PJ Library book. A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends thousands of books free to Jewish children in the U.S. and Canada each month. Interested Jewish families simply sign up to receive an age-appropriate book every month for each child between 6 months and 8 years of age. In the Capital Region, PJ Library partners with and is run by the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.
A new dues structure put in place by B’nai Sholom earlier this year is helping draw more young families to the congregation. The congregation has reduced its dues significantly for younger and first-time members. Families and individuals age 35 and under may join for free. Beginning at age 36, a member’s dues obligation will increase 20 percent each year until the congregant owes the full dues amount at age 40. Membership for new congregants of any age is free for the first year.
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