More than 100 congregants and community members gathered at B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany on Saturday, November 3, for a Shabbaton focused on “Celebrating Ourselves” marking B’nai Sholom’s 40th anniversary.
The day featured workshops on a wide range of topics all taught by B’nai Sholom congregants, as well as Torah study, Shabbat morning worship, a pot-luck lunch, song session, a closing reception and Havdalah.
“We structured the Shabbaton to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. All day, throughout the building, you could really feel the sense of fellowship and community,” said Carol Smith, co-chair of the daylong program.
“By ‘celebrating ourselves,’ lots of congregants gave something of themselves to share with the community. In the process, we strengthened the ties that make B’nai Sholom such a special place,” added co-chair Libby Liebschutz.
The sanctuary was the site for inspired morning worship, with the service and the singing led by Rabbi Donald P. Cashman, Torah chanting by Grace Klein, and renowned Capital Region attorneys and B’nai Sholom congregants Terry Kindlon and Laurie Shanks with a brilliant and often hilarious portrayal of Abraham, in jail for the attempted murder of Isaac, consulting with his public defender.
The classrooms were packed for Torah study and for workshops on such diverse topics as disability etiquette, terrorism, beekeeping, marriage equality and Mah Jongg. There were serious discussions of Shabbat observance and the politics of food, extreme silliness in a drama workshop, some hands-on activity crafting a “Shabbat box,” dance lessons and an eye-opening talk about gardening in an era of climate change. A song session, reception and Havdalah drew the wonderful and fulfilling day to a close.