WELCOME TO M KOR SHALOM!

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1 WELCOME TO M KOR SHALOM! Our Community Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you can take the next steps with us. Our welcoming and diverse community includes: Jews raised in Reform, Conservative, Orthodox & non-practicing homes Jews by choice Non-Jewish family members LGBT individuals, couples and families with children People of all ages Married people and single people Many interfaith couples belong to M kor Shalom. Non-Jewish family members are members of the congregation, entitled to participate in our committees and vote at the annual meeting. M kor Shalom provides all of us, at all stages of our lives, with numerous opportunities to challenge ourselves intellectually, to grow spiritually, to be uplifted by joyous music, to work with others to repair the world, to care for each other when someone is ill, and to create life-long bonds of friendship. Come experience M kor Shalom, and continue your journey with us! Our History We are delighted to have celebrated our 40th birthday in In 1973, eighteen Jewish families founded a new synagogue that would value and honor Jewish traditions, appreciate progressive thinking and embrace diversity. A house in Marlton was acquired to serve as the synagogue office and religious school, and the first M kor Shalom prayer book was compiled. By the time the first High Holy Day services were held, more than 150 families had joined. Upon outgrowing the quarters in Marlton, a larger building in Mount Laurel was purchased, providing M kor Shalom with a sanctuary, schoolrooms, meeting facilities and offices. In 1979 M kor Shalom joined the Reform movement. When M kor Shalom had grown to 500 member families, a newly constructed synagogue on the east side of Cherry Hill was purchased. In 1990 the congregation moved to this building, where it has grown to include more than 700 member households. While the congregation has grown substantially in size, it still strives to fulfill its original purpose of being a family of families, responsive to the needs and diversity of our congregants, the Jewish people and our community.

2 JOYFUL AND UPLIFTING WORSHIP Shabbat Our worship services often create those special moments of connection that we refer to as M kor Moments. Our Friday night services usually begin with congregants sharing the good things they have experienced that week, so we can all share in each other s happiness. On Shabbat, we relax together, and let the stresses of the week start to slip away. Saturday morning Torah study starts at 9:00 am (enjoy a nosh at 8:45 am), and the Shabbat morning service is at 10:30 am. We also have a variety of alternative services, including our Kabbalah-centered Awakening Service that is held once a month. For a complete schedule, please visit our website. Tot Shabbat Once a month toddlers and their families worship together in services geared to children ages 2-5. Grandparents are welcome to attend these joyful services. High Holy Days This intense period of introspection begins with Selichot. Two days of Rosh Hashanah are observed. Congregants may spend all of Yom Kippur at the synagogue, experiencing both services and additional programming. Various age-appropriate services and activities are provided for our youngest congregants throughout the High Holy Day season. Music Music is an integral part of every service at M kor Shalom. Our Cantor leads many talented volunteers in an outstanding Adult Choir and a spirited Chavurah Ensemble. Shabbat services, High Holy Days, and other services and events are enhanced by time-honored sacred music and contemporary Jewish prayer-settings. Highlight Services In addition to our warm and wonderful Shabbat services, there are annual services that are true highlights of life at M kor Shalom. On Erev Simchat Torah we dance with our Torah scrolls to the music of our in-house Klezmer band, Izzy, which is made up of musicians of all ages. On the Friday night of MLK weekend in January, a huge unity choir, made up of our M kor Shalom choir along with singers of different races and different religions, raises the roof in song. It is a joyous celebration in honor of Dr. King. And on Purim, our clergy dress in costume and lead a raucous service, followed by a shpiel put on by the teens of the congregation. Our Prayerbook Our prayerbook is Mishkan T filah, which was published by the Reform movement in This innovative prayerbook includes the traditional prayers in Hebrew, English translation, and English transliteration. It also includes interpretive English readings that relate to the themes of the prayers, and that reflect diverse theological points of view. With its modern commentaries and explanatory notes, Mishkan T filah allows our clergy to create services that are unique, thoughtprovoking, and spiritually uplifting. Accessibility Hearing Assist Units are available, and the sanctuary includes cutouts for wheelchairs and a ramp onto the bimah. We are also streaming many of our services live online.

3 MEANINGFUL AND SPIRITUAL LIFE CYCLE EVENTS At M kor Shalom we celebrate life s joyful passages together, and support each other in times of grief. Brit Milah and Naming New babies are welcomed into our community through the Brit Milah ceremony (bris) and/or a naming ceremony. Naming ceremonies can be private family events, or take place at a Shabbat evening service. Conversion Following a period of introspection and an intense study of Judaism overseen by our clergy, an individual is warmly welcomed into the Jewish faith. His or her acceptance of Judaism may be completed in an intimate family setting or in front of the congregation. B nai Mitzvah A Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah welcomes a young person into the community of adult Jews, through the act of chanting from the Torah before the congregation, family and friends. Our students learn Hebrew language, prayers, blessings and different parts of the Shabbat service over a course of years leading up to their B nai Mitzvah, and also receive individualized attention from our clergy and a tutor in the year before the ceremony. The result is that every child feels a great sense of accomplishment on the day of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and feels a deep connection to their Jewish heritage. Confirmation Tenth grade students spend a year studying with our rabbis and other master teachers. Over spring break, the students travel to Israel for a life-changing experience with their peers, clergy and teachers. A Confirmation service is held on the morning of Shavuot. Confirmands participate in all aspects of this service, including reading original essays, chanting Torah and Haftarah, leading prayers, singing and playing instruments. B nai Mitzvah and Confirmation for Adults Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation classes are offered periodically to our adult congregants who did not experience these life-cycle events in their youth. The classes offer a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your Jewish knowledge and identity, and to strengthen your friendships with fellow congregants. Weddings Since our congregation is now 40 years old, our clergy have had the wonderful experience of officiating at the weddings of young people who grew up at M kor Shalom. Our clergy perform Jewish wedding ceremonies for intermarrying couples as long as the clergy member is comfortable with the couple s commitment to Judaism. Our clergy perform Jewish commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples, since New Jersey does not yet have Marriage Equality. Funerals & Shiva Observance At the most difficult times in people s lives, our clergy provide support, compassion and counsel. Our clergy officiate at funerals, and shiva services are led by the clergy or lay volunteers.

4 OUTSTANDING JEWISH EDUCATION FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES At M kor Shalom we seek to instill a love of Judaism and a love of learning in all of our congregants, from Preschool through adulthood. Early Childhood Center M kor Shalom s Early Childhood Center provides the loving foundation that enables our littlest learners to make a lasting connection to their Jewish heritage. We integrate Jewish tradition, culture and values into all aspects of our program. Parent/Child classes provide an opportunity for warm and supportive companionship with other families. Our Preschool classes for two- to five-year olds encourage the natural curiosity of our young learners. Full-Day Kindergarten features math and reading instruction and is enriched with Science, Art and Hebrew. All of our children love celebrating holidays as a community. Our preschoolers and kindergarteners celebrate Shabbat every Friday morning with a joyful, participatory service that is a highlight of the week for both our students and our clergy. Religious School M kor Shalom s Religious School has an ever-evolving, innovative and relevant curriculum, an excellent and dedicated teaching staff and a supportive congregation committed to life-long learning. We believe in a strong sense of community, and everything we do is based on this philosophy. Our goal for formal Jewish education is to provide a positive, caring learning environment that will serve as the foundation for a lasting commitment to Torah, Israel and the Jewish community. Our students feel comfortable here, and the result is they stay beyond B nai Mitzvah, beyond Confirmation and graduate at the end of 12th grade. Many Confirmation and Post-Confirmation teens serve as Madrikhim (teaching assistants) for our younger students, giving them an even stronger connection to our school and congregation. Children who learn differently are supported through our Special Needs program which finds the way for everyone to be successfully included in our school framework. Our informal Jewish education is achieved through Family Education events, Mitzvah/Tzedakah opportunities, Family Social programs, Holiday celebrations, Trips to Israel (both Confirmation and Congregational trips), Youth Groups and our ongoing link to our graduates through our College Connection program. From our 4-year-olds through our High School seniors, M kor Shalom students receive the very best in Jewish education. Youth Groups Club programs for first through sixth graders provide opportunities for students to participate in Jewish events on an informal basis. NFTY Youth Group is growing for our students in grades Adult Education We encourage life-long engagement with and learning about Judaism. Our weekly Shabbat morning Torah study is always a lively discussion. Our bi-annual Scholar-in-Residence program brings outstanding scholars, authors, rabbis and artists to M kor Shalom to spend a weekend delving into Jewish texts and spiritual practices. And throughout the year we have various programs led by clergy and lay people on many interesting topics.

5 M KOR CARES At M kor Shalom, we care about other people in our congregation and in our larger community. We put our love, compassion, empathy and understanding of the mitzvot into action in many ways. We work to help those in need, wherever they may be. And we work to ensure the health and wellness of our members, that members in acute need are supported, that children with special needs get a great Jewish education and meaningful life-cycle events, and that our congregation is accessible to those with physical disabilities. Social Action Ongoing activities include cooking for the hungry, Monthly Mitzvah, High Holy Day food drive, Homeless Hospitality, and a Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend of service. The program for the homeless involves having up to a dozen homeless men live at M kor Shalom for two weeks in the winter, as part of a consortium of congregations that ensures these individuals can sleep indoors during the coldest months. Our Green Council provides education and action steps to encourage wiser use of our ecological resources. Health and Wellness Our Health and Wellness initiative deals with issues that touch all of our lives, at all stages of life. Discussions have been held on topics such as: Judaism and Mental Health, The Art of Care-Giving, Making Sacred Decisions at the End of Life, and Building Your Spiritual Toolbox. Caring Community The Caring Community of volunteers provides meals and transportation to those who are ill, injured or otherwise in crisis. We also have a group that makes warm blankets for members who have to undergo various treatments in cold hospitals. Special Needs Education Our Religious School creates individualized programs that are carefully designed for our students who learn differently or who experience academic, behavioral or emotional challenges. The support extends through the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process and beyond. Jane Abesh is our dedicated Special Needs Coordinator. Accessibility Our building is wheelchair accessible, and our sanctuary has cutouts for wheelchairs and a ramp onto the bimah. We stream many of our services online so that people who are hospitalized or homebound can attend services, and Hearing Assist Units are available as well.

6 GETTING INVOLVED At M kor Shalom you can join a social group, continue your Jewish education, work to repair the world, or use your professional skills to help our congregation run smoothly. All of these activities provide the opportunity to get to know your fellow congregants, and to form the friendships that will truly make M kor Shalom your second home. Your options include: Achim (The Men s Group) social and educational events, including softball! Adult Education organizes classes, speakers and programs. Budget creates the budget and deals with fiscal matters and financial planning. Caring Community supports congregants in acute need with transportation and food. Chavurah Ensemble singers and instrumentalists enhance our participatory Shabbat worship. Choir our accomplished choir is led by Cantor Hochman. College Connection sends care packages from M kor Shalom to our college students. Communications coordinates the newsletter, website, publicity and advertising. Education and Youth sets policy for the Preschool, Religious School and Youth Groups. Family Programming plans social and educational events for families with children. Fundraising organizes FUNdraising programs for the synagogue. Gift Shop runs the gift shop. Green Council works on environmental issues locally and globally. Health and Wellness runs programs on personal challenges from a Jewish values approach. House maintains the building and sets policy regarding its use. Library runs the synagogue library. Membership and Outreach works to recruit, welcome and retain members. Music coordinates the many musical activities enjoyed at M kor Shalom. NextGen plans social events and community involvement for young adult members. Ritual focuses on religious services, holiday celebrations and other rituals. Scholar-in-Residence organizes the bi-annual Scholar-in-Residence weekend. Social Action raises our social consciousness and provides opportunities to do mitzvot. Theater Group be a part of M kor Shalom s annual Cabaret; Performers, Musicians & Crew welcome! Tot Programming sponsors monthly Tot Shabbat services and social events. Women and Spirituality connecting personal spirituality and Jewish heritage. Women s Connection social and educational programming for women.

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