“The purpose of words of prayer, tefillah, is toward recognition of the truth – not an emotional, fleeting devotion, a momentary ecstasy, a flood of tears, but a cleansing of the thoughts and of the heart. Life robs us of accurate discernment of God, the world, mankind and Yisrael, and of our own relationship to them. By transcending life, ascending toward God, we can retrieve this discernment in tefillah.” — The nineteen letters, Rabbi Samson R. Hirsh (Letter 14th)
Shabbat at Beth Israel is an incredible experience. We welcome Shabbat with happiness, singing the special melodies of Kabbalat Shabbat and celebrating together the incredible experience of a spiritual environment in our Synagogue.
On Shacharit (Saturday morning) our traditional service includes parts in Hebrew and in English as well. Every person who is called to the Torah, receives a blessing from the rabbi and we share a beautiful time of songs and prayers.
Our services conclude with a unique Oneg Shabbat. At Beth Israel we are proud of having the best challah in the world, Marci’s challah. If you’ve never tried it, we would like to invite you to come and try it!
Below, is Marci’s challah recipe:
(You can try to imitate hers, but there’s nothing is like the original…)
¾ cup lukewarm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 T sugar
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
3 T sugar
3 T oil
1 egg and 1 yolk
Mix first three ingredients and set aside until yeast activates.
Put bread, salt and sugar in processor and pulse for a couple of seconds.
Add oil, egg, egg yolk and activated yeast.
Mix. Mixture is ready when dough forms a ball in processor. Keep adding flour a little at a time until this occurs.
Turn oven on for a minute or less. It should barely feel warm. You just want to get off the chill.
Put about 2 teaspoons of oil in bottom of bowl. Rub dough in oil, turn over and cover with towel. Let rise in over for 1 ½ hours.
Remove dough and knead a little. Divide into strands for braiding. You can do a simple 3 braided hallah or a more elaborate six braid. Put on greased baking sheet, cover with towel and again let rise for 45 minutes.
Mix an egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush challah with mixture.
Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes.