Thursday, January 24, 2008

YIOP Bulletin for February 2008 - Mussaf Mishpachah: You Asked – And we’re Answering

YIOP has always prided itself as a shul that focuses on our families, especially on Shabbos. We invest our time, energy and space to create childcare for children every Shabbos and Yom Tov. Our youth groups meet every Shabbos to provide programming for elementary school children. But, despite these efforts, we still struggle as a congregation to find a good way to include our older children in Shabbos morning davening. While Steve Katz’s incredible efforts with the Teen Minyan brought great results, ultimately an entire minyan each week became to difficult to maintain.

Aliza Sosne, our new family education coordinator, has been working hard speaking to parents throughout our community to try and address this and other problems. She’s working on programming and events to make our shul an even more inviting place for families to grow. To that end, it’s a great pleasure to introduce our first exciting new program: Mussaf Mishpachah.

Mussaf Mishpachah will be a parent-child Mussaf service that will meet once a month in the small shul, beginning on Parshat Tetzaveh, February 16th. It will be a separate Mussaf service that will begin after the rabbi’s speech on Shabbos morning, and will be open to any parents with their children who wish to attend – but no parent will be admitted without a child. We will encourage Bar Mitzvah boys to lead the Mussaf, and any younger children can lead Anim Zemirot and Adon Olam. The davening will include a short D’var Torah either by an adult, or preferably a child, and will conclude with a fun cholent Kiddush. This davening will include a little more singing and ruach, and hopefully create a meaningful davening experience.

But this program will only succeed with your help: we need parents to make the effort to come with your pre-teen children, and expend the energy to make the minyan an enjoyable and spiritual experience.