Makom Shelanu Congregation held its first service on Nov. 5, and the excitement was palpable through the standing-room-only service. A fitting parasha, Lech L’cha, led the congregation to reflect on the importance of beginning journeys and the hope of a beautiful promised land for things to come. Cantor Sheri Allen’s voice soared through this music-filled service that featured guitar-accompanied music as well as traditional nusach alongside interpretative English readings. The congregation also joined in a participatory reflection in response to the Torah reading. This reflection will hopefully be the first step in a long and beautiful journey of ensuring that the Torah continues to be interpreted in a modern setting with respect for the context in which it was written. The beautiful and colorful siddurim, designed with inclusion in mind, allowed access for all to participate with Hebrew, transliteration and English throughout. Many voices resounded as one, creating a resonant response in the modest chapel.
The community present for the service was diverse in many ways, with longtime friends, new faces, interfaith supporters and family in all senses of the word creating a beautiful congregation. Makom Shelanu looks forward to a number of things that go along with creating a new synagogue: continuing to diversify and meet the needs of all people in search of an inclusive and affirming space; the new communal journey in the creation of a synagogue; and traveling alongside those who are, like Abraham, “going forth to find their authentic selves.”
Makom Shelanu hopes to continue to build a space where people from all stages and spaces of life will find they are celebrated. Services are planned for once a month as they begin this journey. Social justice and social events are already in the planning stages. The next service is Dec. 3. More information is available at makomshelanu.org.