To stand at the Torah and read its ancient text out of the scroll is something that we all hope our children and grandchildren will accomplish on the day they celebrate becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. But reading Torah is not only for our children. Our tradition teaches that it is a great mitzvah to read Torah from a scroll publicly, on behalf of our congregation, and this mitzvah ensures the continuation of the chain of Jewish tradition within our community from generation to generation.
Membership in Congregation Beth Shalom’s corps of Torah readers, dubbed the “Yad Squad,” is open to all members of our community over the age of Bar or Bat Mitzvah who have some level of proficiency in decoding Hebrew. Members of the Yad Squad perform this valuable mitzvah of reading Torah at Beth Shalom on Shabbat mornings and mincha, as well as weekday mornings and holidays, while strengthening their own connection with their synagogue, the Hebrew language, its ancient chants, and our Jewish heritage. We invite you to become a part of this growing circle of Torah readers. We have several parent-child, grandparent-grandchild and family Torah reading teams, and that is a wonderful way to inspire and be inspired by the next generation of your family.
As a way to recognize those members of our community who help with the obligation of reading Torah at CBS, we will be affixing a wall with plaques honoring our most frequent and prolific Torah readers. We hope that this program will not only honor those who step up and help us with the responsibility of reading Torah on a regular basis, but will also encourage members of our community who are able to read Torah to read more often. We hope we can renew/revitalize interest in our congregation to fulfill this very rewarding mitzvah. We have equal hope that this program will encourage our young members to continue their involvement in synagogue life at the age that synagogue participation typically drops off by giving them an incentive to read Torah often after they celebrate becoming the age of bar or bat mitzvah.
We will honor those who reach certain benchmark goals with a name plaque, to be engraved during the year that they reach that goal. Once a reader reaches a new goal/level, their plaque will be replaced with a new plaque in the color of that level, or will be engraved with a symbol of the new level, but remain under the same year their original honor was recognized.
Levels will be recognized for readers who read the following numbers of p’sukim, cumulatively:
Bronze: 180 psukim
Silver: 360 psukim
Gold: 720 psukim
Platinum/Titanium: 1800 psukim
All Torah reading will count, including Shabbat, weekdays, holidays, and fast days. Accounting for all reading began on Rosh HaShanah 5775.
Torah reading classes and workshops are offered at different times throughout the year, as well as one-on-one coaching.
For more information, please contact CBS Ritual Director Raquel Gershon