Welcome to Congregation Sha’aray Shalom
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is a Jewish synagogue that serves as the lighthouse for Reform Judaism on Boston’s South Shore.
Our community consists of 282 families living in thirty towns along the south coast of Massachusetts Bay — from Boston to Plymouth. Our congregation’s home is on historic and beautiful Main Street in Hingham.
We have a tradition of an “open door” which welcomes every family member — Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and non-Jewish family members — and strives to integrate them into our community. Our strength draws on our commitment to honor and respect the diversity of our backgrounds.
We are led by a dynamic clergy team of Rabbi Shira Joseph and Cantor Steven Weiss, offering weekly Shabbat services as well as a full calendar of festival celebrations, a full-program religious school with nearly 200 students, a JCC Early Learning Center, and active adult learning and social programs.
We are affiliated with the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ).
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom is a Reform Jewish community on the South Shore of Boston that provides Beit T’Fillah (worship),Beit Midrash (study), and Beit Knesset (assembly), for the celebration and preservation of our Jewish heritage and our founders’ vision.
We offer traditional and innovative forms of worship, both communal and personally meaningful, to draw us spiritually closer to God, Torah, and each other, Am Yisrael (the Jewish people).
We promote lifelong learning and spiritual enrichment for all through abundant and varied opportunities for Jewish study.
Our diversity is our strength. We welcome congregants of all backgrounds and attributes. We encourage family members from other faith traditions to join our community and participate on a level that is consistent with Jewish values and comfortable for them.
We participate in Tikkun Olam (repairing our world) by responding to the varied needs of our own Jewish community, to K’lal Yisrael(the world-wide Jewish community), to Eretz Yisrael (the State of Israel), and to our greater civic community.
Like my fellow travelers, I wrote a reflection which I tossed aside as I asked the same question posed at the end of Susan’s photo montage we just saw. Like David, I didn’t know, I did not know, but now that I do, what can we do?
I was reminded of a piece that we learned from my teacher and friend, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, at a prayer and study retreat I attended last September, that may be appropriate for this evening’s service theme to raise consciousness and hopefully inspire. It was composed with Jewish singer songwriter, Dan Nichols. Here is how it came about:
Over the years, Ellen had noticed discomfort among many with the wording in Aleinu L’shabei’ach (it’s on us, to praise), the prayer at the end of communal worship. We bow in acknowledgement that we have a unique obligation, that we are not the same as others, that we are special; many have seen this as chutzpa-dik…a holier than thou kind of statement. Perhaps this is not about privilege, says Ellen, but about responsibility.
In Ellen’s words, “ I hear Aleinu as an expression of appreciation for my community’s assumed responsibility for the betterment of the world. I am obligated L’shabei’ach/to sing praise. In reality, the attempt to live in that way IS the praise. We say Aleinu at the end of the service, with one foot out the door, to gather communal strength for the journey and be reminded of that responsibility. This may be my favorite prayer of all,” she says. “Especially in these troubled times, there is great work to be done.”
Dan shares the following:
“Ellen and I got together for a couple of days of creative work focused on what’s going on with Aleinu L’shabei’ach. Here’s what we came up with:
If Bar’chu at the beginning of the service can be thought of as “the call to worship,” then it might be reasonable to think of Aleinu at the end of the service as a “call to action.” We have shared our communal redemption story through moments such as Mi Chamocha; we have remembered the deeds and faith of our ancestors in the Amidah, and we have re energized our spirits in communal expression of our dreams and visions. Hopefully, it has had some impact and changes us for the good. With that in mind, we crafted an English setting for Aleinu L’shabei’ach that intends to unpack the core themes of our responsibility and the world’s need for action.”
I hope these new words and melody may help to give us new meaning as we follow this with our traditional chanting of Aleinu. The words are in your handout.
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom
1112 Main Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Telephone: (781) 749-8103
Fax: (781) 740-1480
You can donate online here or mail your donation to:
Congregation Sha’aray Shalom Attention: Recording Secretary – Lillie Seeger, 1112 Main Street, Hingham, MA 02043.
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