Pacific Jewish Center | Rabbi

The Rabbi on the Beach @ The Shul on the Beach

Great Shavuos Turnout Renders Previous Post Moot


Last week I blogged about my bond of kinship with a pastor in Ocean City Maryland.

We both are clergy working on beaches with fickle crowds. Sometimes we are packed and sometimes we are not…

The post generated a bit of a response from some of our Community Members as well as some other blog readers. We had one commenter wonder if anyone reads this blog. (Yes, a lot of people do read this blog.)

We had another commenter offer to walk from Youngstown PA. (It takes 33 days by foot according to Google, click if you need directions.)

So, how did our Shavuos go?

It was amazing.

Shavuos began with a very nicely attended Erev Shavuos Mincha. The rule is that we count 49 complete days from the second day of Pesach until Shavuos. Therefore we need to wait until nightfall is certain to commence Shavuos Services.

To pass the time we studied the Book of Ruth. I gave an in depth overview of the story as well as some of the deeper insights into why we study the Book of Ruth on Shavuos.

The overall theme that I wished to convey was that the Jewish line of Kings comes from David, who comes from Ruth, who was a convert. Further, the Jewish Messiah will be from the Davidic line as well. This is a powerful take-home lesson.

We followed evening services with a tasty community meal. Then the action began.

Together, we studied a section of Talmud in depth. The topic was “Expression of Ownership” and the marathon 2 hour session “flew by”. I was peppered by great questions and all 40 attendees participated and enjoyed the learning.

The next morning we reconvened for morning services and were blessed with a robust Minyan. I spoke about the “Chosen People” and mentioned the famous Charles Murray essay in Commentary Magazine about that topic. We were treated to a special dairy kiddush on the back patio. Mmmm cheesecake.

Friday night services were very well attended. We had a few guests in our shul, as is very common at PJC. One couple had been guests at one of our community member’s homes on Pesach for a Seder and they came to PJC for the first time for Friday night services. Of course, they were invited to a family for Friday night dinner and I heard that it went really well.

Another guest was a student of mine from a previous position I held at a different job. It was really cool that he came to our shul for services and we had a chance to catch up. He is now at Tufts in Boston and was part of their Maimonodies Scholars (MEOR) program with Rabbi Loketch, who grew up across the street from my wife in Monsey NY. (Small world.)

We had a guest speaker as well. Community member Erez Talmor spoke about what the Shema means to him. I introduced him by reminding the congregation that Torah study is not just for Rabbis and being a Torah scholar is something we all strive for. Erez is a great example of this and he did a great job.

Shabbos morning services were elongated due to several key additions. The congregation stuck it out and we concluded with a satisfying kiddush on the back patio.

Even Shabbos afternoon services were well attended. This is a trouble spot from time to time, but we had a wonderful minyan. Following services we had a small dinner. We were supposed to talk about the number 50 and why Shavuos has no set date in the Torah. Instead we had yet another discussion about clothes and dress codes. Riveting, as always.

Shavuos was a resounding success in Venice. The classes and services were well attended. We had our usual influx of strolling Jews who wandered into the shul off the boardwalk and the spiritual and physical warmth of our shul provided a wonderful Shavuos for everyone.

I guess I do not have so much in common with the Pastor in Ocean City MD after all.

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3 Responses

  1. Joanne says:

    As a new member of PJC, Yosef and I enjoyed being able to spend Shavout at PJC.
    To come to pray, that makes a Shul a Shul..To come for dinner and lectures and meet people and share common interests, makes the place a Community. PJC increased our enjoyment of the holiday of Shavout by mixing spirituality and physicality.

  2. leslie friedman says:

    Wish I could have been there 😦

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