Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue is to pilot a service on Shabbat for young parents with children.
Rabbi Dov Kaplan explained that the idea was a response to parents who brought their offspring to children’s services but felt they themselves got little out of the experience.
He will be leading tomorrow’s one-hour alternative service and intends “to get everyone singing and dancing. At its conclusion, I’ll be explaining the significance of the cholent and kugel at a special kiddush.”
In another innovation, a batmitzah girl gave her dvar Torah (Torah address) recently during the synagogue’s Shabbat morning service rather than after it. Rabbi Kaplan said the girl had been invited to give a synopsis of the Torah portion at the end of the shacharit service before the reading of the Torah.
“People have asked for a synopsis in the past and we’re planning on doing it every Shabbat. We felt it appropriate for the kehillah [community] to publicly recognise the batmitzvah through this act.
“In shul, I explained that at that point it is actually a break in the service, between shacharit and the Torah reading, and therefore there wasn’t a problem of permitting her speaking. The reactions from congregants and colleagues were very favourable,” Rabbi Kaplan added.