Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shul Shopping: Congregation Ner Tamid

We've still been Shul Shopping in the South Bay area.  It seems like just when we might have crossed a place off our list, they go and change something significant.  Like a cantor, or their building.  So, we're still criss-crossing around the South Bay, trying to find a spiritual home.

I'll be frank about it- as much as I love Growing Garden and the JCC we are not an Orthodox family.  We don't want to spend services split by a Mechitza.  That's not to say there's anything wrong with it, it's just not for us. 

This past Friday we went to Jammies and Jeans at Congregation Ner Tamid.  This wasn't our first time attending, and you can read more details about that service here, and here.

The first thing you notice about Ner Tamid isn't the beautiful building, or the gorgeous sanctuary, but it's the amazingly friendly people.  Within minutes of our arrival at least 5 people had welcomed us to the temple, to the service, to the community.  We'd been a few times before, and it was just do amazing to be welcomed so warmly.

The service with the kiddos is nice.  They bring out the torah, the rabbi tells a little story usually complete with some kids acting and a nice puppet (Rabbi Jr.).  Though I will say the story of Moses was a touch interesting for EG to listen to. The Rabbi started by saying that Pharoah doesn't like the Jewish people, and EG got all serious and concerned and asked my why he doesn't like us.  That was quite a moment for me....but back to the Congregation.

They serve a delicious dinner of pasta from their in house chef.  Yup- in house chef!  And it's quite delicious.  And free.  Which is wonderful because after racing home from work, getting everyone in the car, driving the 20 minutes (from North Redondo) the last thing I want to be thinking about is how to feed the brood before a 5:45pm service.

During the dinner for the kiddos there is a regular adult service, which I find wonderful as well.  Since my mom has passed I've been trying to say Mourner's Kaddish at least once a month.  This allows the kiddos to play, eat, enjoy.  Then I stay a bit later than them and attend the adult services.

I talked about the amazing people, and maybe you are thinking that it's just because of the toddler service.  But when I went to the full service later that night, I was basically just balling about my mom.  I was alone, since the girls and Working Dad had gone home for bed.  And the woman in front of me turned around and comforted me. Then when we sang Adon Olam she insisted that I join her and her husband 'We've adopted you!"

So there's our review.  I wish I had more pictures, but as a conservative synagogue it didn't seem right to take them when Shabbat had already started.

Conservative Congregation
Established in 1961
Current Rabbi: Brian Schuldenfrei
Cantor: Marla Barugel
Affiliation: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

They have a 'new members/young members' membership fee of about $1000, and their regular full membership is about $3000 for a family.  Of course, they stress that membership dues are flexible if you have need.  They have a sisterhood, men's club, young mens club (AMEN), young womens group (z'havah), Hebrew School (CLAL), Daycare for kiddos 2-5, and lots of other activities.

Ways to check them out:
Shabbat in the AM on Saturdays has free childcare for ages 2-10 on the 1st and 3rd Saturday morning from 10am-12:30pm

Shabbat in the PM on Friday night has Jeans & Jammies with dinner on the 2nd Friday of the month.

Wednesday morning playgroup for cargivers and babies, 9:30am ages 3months to 2 years.

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