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.
On reflection, I think the announcements actually serve an important purpose. Read or listen to the announcements from any given week and you will learn a lot about life at our Shul. You will hear that we have regular services on Shabbat, both Friday night and Saturday morning. We often celebrate b’nai mitzvot at these services and when we do not have a bar or bat mitzvah, students from one of our Hebrew School classes frequently help lead the service.
You will also hear that we have weekday minyans – both morning and evening. We have a Rabbi’s Bible class that meets on Wednesdays, as it has for so many years. We have congregational trips to Israel in the works. On a particular Sunday, there is Hebrew School, a Men’s Club breakfast, a Rabbi’s book club discussion, a “Short Shots” Hebrew class for adults, and a Family Education program on Tzedakah.
The announcements also remind us that there are interesting events going on in the community – concerts, lectures, classes and the like. We are advised of ongoing social action projects both within and without Temple Beth Sholom. And we are reminded to support the shul’s longest ongoing ways and means project, by purchasing grocery store gift certificates.
The announcements are similar from week to week, evidencing the consistency of our religious and educational programming. But there also are subtle differences each week, reflecting the diversity and creativity of programming that so often is noted in the community as setting Temple Beth Sholom apart from other synagogues.
It turns out that the announcements are much more than a pause before the “Closing Prayer.” They are a 45 second sound byte, worthy of repetition. And to visitors to our congregation’s services, they also provide a clear window into our home, offering a quick but clear view into our very diverse and vibrant shul.
Thanks for listening.