A few months ago, I wrote about the Etz Chaim synagogue in Bentonville, Arkansas.  More recently, I corresponded with Etz Chaim’s president, Betsy Rosen, because I was curious about how the synagogue has fared after receiving the publicity that accompanies a New York Times feature article.  I also asked Betsy to identify for me some of the biggest challenges facing this young synagogue, located in a much different part of the country.
A few weeks ago, I arrived late to a Shabbat morning service, to discover a full house. I knew there wasn’t a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, so I was a bit surprised.
I read the announcements at the end of services most Friday nights and Saturday mornings.  People generally like hearing the announcements, because they know the end of the service is near.  I am often told that I read the announcements too quickly – perhaps my unconscious response to the congregation silently begging me to keep it short.
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