Shabbat Evening Service
From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
Every morning for the past month, I’ve made it my routine to visit the sanctuary. Every day during the week, skilled workmen have been fulfilling plans to renovate our sacred space after devastating floods. This week, I entered the sanctuary to see some very special improvements and changes that will be revealed next week on Shabbat, January 20th. Here’s a list of highlights:
One of my goals has always been to transform our sanctuary, which welcomes hundreds each week, into a warmly welcoming worship experience. Standing closer and speaking with, rather than preaching to, the congregation will continue to be our benchmark; and, now we can do it in a space that responds to our congregation’s spiritual needs.
Nearly two years ago, I stood in the sanctuary and said to those with me, “I wish we could do something about the carpeting.” Some weeks later, the first flood overwhelmed the neighborhood and inundated our sanctuary. “Be careful what you wish for” might be the lesson, but the results left us with a challenge we overcame by assembling experts who love Beth Israel and participated in the transformation.
Though she wouldn’t like the recognition, there are few words that adequately express my appreciation for Shirley Toomim’s role in the transformation. Her eye for texture, color, style and efficiency enabled us to trust her choices to enrich such a grand space. Her attention to detail and to the schedule has brought us to our completion on time and on budget. It’s not a miracle; it’s Shirley.
On Friday, January 20th, at 6:30pm, we’ll reveal the sanctuary, sing joyfully with Cantor Mutlu on Down Home Shabbat, honor Anna Rosenbaum and her family on her bat mitzvah weekend, express gratitude to Houston Jewish Federation for their support and generosity, recognize Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen for the role of the City of Houston, and welcome New Members to the bimah for a blessing. It’s an inauguration that you won’t want to miss and an occasion at Congregation Beth Israel that will forever be recorded as part of its rich and enduring history.
On behalf of Cantor Mutlu, Rabbi Scott, Rabbi Herman, David Scott, Michael Jenkins, Joan Gelfond, Patrick Colbert, and Bruce Levy, I thank you for being present to witness another sacred step on our sacred journey at Congregation Beth Israel. May God bless you and your family; may God bless Beth Israel.