Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Congregation Beth Israel, La Jolla

"I'm not Jewish," I said to a man near the basket of skullcaps just outside the sanctuary. "Should I wear one anyway?" "Either way. Don't worry about it," he shrugged, a little amused by my question. Inside, I saw why: about half the men's heads were bare. Apparently, the Jews at Beth Israel weren't terribly worried about it. Twelve exalted chairs filled the alcoves of the wall behind the stage, but only three or four were ever occupied during the service, a setup that lent a casual air to a space tending toward, well, if not solemnity, then perhaps a modern sort of majesty.

Congregation Beth Israel was hardly bereft of tradition -- this was, after all, the first night of Chanukah. But there was a sense of fluidity about the observance of that tradition. Rabbi Paul Citrin and Congregation president Barbara Howard lit the Chanukiah before lighting the Sabbath candles, because, as Citrin noted, "you're not supposed to kindle light after you welcome Shabbat ." (Tradition.) But the candles on the Chanukiah were mounted jars of oil, so that it was impossible to keep the tradition of lighting the side candles from the center candle. (Fluidity.)

Said Howard, "We light these lights on account of the miracles and wonders, the battles and victories that took place...over 21 centuries ago. Adonai, even as you gave strength to the Maccabees, bless us too with a portion of your strength. Help us be proud Jews who know the Torah.... May the lights we kindle remind us...to bring light to others."

Rabbi Glenn Ettman picked up the then/now theme in the lesson, reading a section from Rabbi Elazar: "Doing righteous deeds of charity is greater than offering all of the sacrifices." "Think about Chanukah not just being a commemoration of a great miracle," said Ettman, "but that miracles still do happen.... Perhaps what we can take away from the teaching is that we ourselves...can work together to partner with God to bring forth miracles in our day." The program included a handout: "Eight crazy sites for eight crazy nights," suggesting websites such as http://www.savedarfur.org that families might visit together over Chanukah. The reading from Rabbi Elazar was another nod to tradition; Ettman later offered a prayer with a more contemporary feel: "Teach me, my God, to bless and to praise, for the secret of a withered leaf, for the splendor of ripe fruit, for this freedom to see, to feel, to breathe, to know, to wait, to stumble.... Let not my day be routine."

But it was music that carried the service and the concert that followed. Song after song, almost always in Hebrew, led by cantor Arlene Bernstein's deep, feeling voice and backed by a sharp ensemble (piano, guitar, bass, flute, drums, violin, cello) that produced polished arrangements of traditional song structures. (The sound was artful, once removed, more like listening to Brahms's "Hungarian Dances" than to the Hungarian dances themselves.)

Songs blessed Adonai following the lighting of the Chanukah candles -- "Blessed are you...who made miracles possible for our ancestors"; recounted the wonders of the Maccabees' victory -- "At this time of year in days of yore/ Maccabees the Temple did restore"; praised the "Rock of Ages" -- "Furious, they assailed us/ But Your arm availed us/ And Your word/ Broke their sword/ When our own strength failed us."

Songs welcomed Shabbat , "the bride of Israel": "Enter in peace, O crown of your husband.... Come to the people that keeps its faith. Enter, O Bride!" Songs welcomed the Torah reflection, prayed for teachers, asked for healing, and sent us on our way in the peace of Shabbat .

The concert following the Oneg Shabbat (refreshment session) gave tradition its due, but also wandered into the simply whimsical and flat-out entertaining. Sang Ettman during one song: " The Syrians said it could not be/ That old Mattathias/ Whose years were more than ninety-three/ Would dare to defy us/ They did not know his secret you see/ Mattathias dined on latkes and tea..."

Singer Heidi Gantwerk went sultry for "Ocho Kandelikas," and the show ended with an unabashedly '60s era pop anthem, albeit one based on Chanukah. Everybody joined in on the chorus: "Don't let the lights go out/ It's lasted for so many years/ Don't let the lights go out/ Let it shine through our love and our tears."

What happens when we die?

"Judaism doesn't know what happens," said Ettman. "It's a big mystery. We do, however, believe that souls are transcendent. The only thing that we learn from the rabbis to explain death is something called Olam Habah -- the world to come. We believe that once the Messiah comes and the Messianic age is proclaimed, we will all be coming back together to live as a full community. It's a here and now religion.... The deeds that we do in this lifetime will affect us in this lifetime."

Place

Congregation Beth Israel

9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego




Denomination: Reform Jewish

Founded locally: 1861

Senior pastor: Paul Citrin

Congregation size: over 1300 families

Staff size: 9

Sunday school enrollment: over 90 in the nursery school, around 550 in religious school

Annual budget: n/a

Weekly giving: n/a

Singles program: no

Dress: fairly dressy -- lots of jackets, ties, and dresses

Diversity: 40 percent of congregation part of a mixed family (Jewish/non-Jewish)

Length of reviewed service: service, 45 minutes; concert, 45 minutes

Website: http://www.cbisd.org

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Matthew Stewart’s protest song earns heavy spins online

“Alternative Facts” uses the catchphrase coined by presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway
Next Article

What opera is closest to California redwoods?

Tough competing with the English and Austrians

"I'm not Jewish," I said to a man near the basket of skullcaps just outside the sanctuary. "Should I wear one anyway?" "Either way. Don't worry about it," he shrugged, a little amused by my question. Inside, I saw why: about half the men's heads were bare. Apparently, the Jews at Beth Israel weren't terribly worried about it. Twelve exalted chairs filled the alcoves of the wall behind the stage, but only three or four were ever occupied during the service, a setup that lent a casual air to a space tending toward, well, if not solemnity, then perhaps a modern sort of majesty.

Congregation Beth Israel was hardly bereft of tradition -- this was, after all, the first night of Chanukah. But there was a sense of fluidity about the observance of that tradition. Rabbi Paul Citrin and Congregation president Barbara Howard lit the Chanukiah before lighting the Sabbath candles, because, as Citrin noted, "you're not supposed to kindle light after you welcome Shabbat ." (Tradition.) But the candles on the Chanukiah were mounted jars of oil, so that it was impossible to keep the tradition of lighting the side candles from the center candle. (Fluidity.)

Said Howard, "We light these lights on account of the miracles and wonders, the battles and victories that took place...over 21 centuries ago. Adonai, even as you gave strength to the Maccabees, bless us too with a portion of your strength. Help us be proud Jews who know the Torah.... May the lights we kindle remind us...to bring light to others."

Rabbi Glenn Ettman picked up the then/now theme in the lesson, reading a section from Rabbi Elazar: "Doing righteous deeds of charity is greater than offering all of the sacrifices." "Think about Chanukah not just being a commemoration of a great miracle," said Ettman, "but that miracles still do happen.... Perhaps what we can take away from the teaching is that we ourselves...can work together to partner with God to bring forth miracles in our day." The program included a handout: "Eight crazy sites for eight crazy nights," suggesting websites such as http://www.savedarfur.org that families might visit together over Chanukah. The reading from Rabbi Elazar was another nod to tradition; Ettman later offered a prayer with a more contemporary feel: "Teach me, my God, to bless and to praise, for the secret of a withered leaf, for the splendor of ripe fruit, for this freedom to see, to feel, to breathe, to know, to wait, to stumble.... Let not my day be routine."

But it was music that carried the service and the concert that followed. Song after song, almost always in Hebrew, led by cantor Arlene Bernstein's deep, feeling voice and backed by a sharp ensemble (piano, guitar, bass, flute, drums, violin, cello) that produced polished arrangements of traditional song structures. (The sound was artful, once removed, more like listening to Brahms's "Hungarian Dances" than to the Hungarian dances themselves.)

Songs blessed Adonai following the lighting of the Chanukah candles -- "Blessed are you...who made miracles possible for our ancestors"; recounted the wonders of the Maccabees' victory -- "At this time of year in days of yore/ Maccabees the Temple did restore"; praised the "Rock of Ages" -- "Furious, they assailed us/ But Your arm availed us/ And Your word/ Broke their sword/ When our own strength failed us."

Songs welcomed Shabbat , "the bride of Israel": "Enter in peace, O crown of your husband.... Come to the people that keeps its faith. Enter, O Bride!" Songs welcomed the Torah reflection, prayed for teachers, asked for healing, and sent us on our way in the peace of Shabbat .

The concert following the Oneg Shabbat (refreshment session) gave tradition its due, but also wandered into the simply whimsical and flat-out entertaining. Sang Ettman during one song: " The Syrians said it could not be/ That old Mattathias/ Whose years were more than ninety-three/ Would dare to defy us/ They did not know his secret you see/ Mattathias dined on latkes and tea..."

Singer Heidi Gantwerk went sultry for "Ocho Kandelikas," and the show ended with an unabashedly '60s era pop anthem, albeit one based on Chanukah. Everybody joined in on the chorus: "Don't let the lights go out/ It's lasted for so many years/ Don't let the lights go out/ Let it shine through our love and our tears."

What happens when we die?

"Judaism doesn't know what happens," said Ettman. "It's a big mystery. We do, however, believe that souls are transcendent. The only thing that we learn from the rabbis to explain death is something called Olam Habah -- the world to come. We believe that once the Messiah comes and the Messianic age is proclaimed, we will all be coming back together to live as a full community. It's a here and now religion.... The deeds that we do in this lifetime will affect us in this lifetime."

Place

Congregation Beth Israel

9001 Towne Centre Drive, San Diego




Denomination: Reform Jewish

Founded locally: 1861

Senior pastor: Paul Citrin

Congregation size: over 1300 families

Staff size: 9

Sunday school enrollment: over 90 in the nursery school, around 550 in religious school

Annual budget: n/a

Weekly giving: n/a

Singles program: no

Dress: fairly dressy -- lots of jackets, ties, and dresses

Diversity: 40 percent of congregation part of a mixed family (Jewish/non-Jewish)

Length of reviewed service: service, 45 minutes; concert, 45 minutes

Website: http://www.cbisd.org

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Football: a career low for Lucille Ball

A darker shade of twilight
Next Article

Corbin’s Q’s Scrumptiously SLO barbecue

Dee-Lish. I mean, an exceptional combo of tastes.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close