With clear skies, a nice breeze and temperatures topping off in the low 80s on Tampa’s Lake Lipsey, the new Conservative synagogue in North Tampa marked a milestone: membership that now exceeds 100 families.
It’s quite an achievement for Congregation Mekor Shalom, since less than two years ago, the Tampa synagogue didn’t exist.
“We have the best Shul [synagogue] anywhere,” said Jodi Sered-Lever, the Hazzan and spiritual leader of the Tampa synagogue located in the heart of Carrollwood. “We have built something beautiful at Mekor Shalom and I couldn’t be prouder to be here. It’s a blessing all the way around.”
More than 60 people attended the Havdallah event on Lake Lipsey held Saturday at the home of Mekor Shalom members Charyn and Glenn Selig.
As for food, it was traditional Seudah Shlisheet or Shalosh Seudos (third meal) fair: bagels, lox, cream cheese, herring, tuna and desserts eaten at sundown. According to Jewish law, it is actually a mitzvah (an important deed) to eat three meals on the Sabbath.
With the moon overhead, lights shimmering over the lake and everyone locked in arms, the event culminated with a moving Havdallah service led by Hazzan Sered-Lever. Everyone in attendance gathered around and joining in song.
“Great weather and good company to celebrate Mekor’s first major milestone,” said Susan Marlow on Facebook. “Hoping there will be many, many more. This is only the beginning!”
“It was a wonderful evening,” said Wendy Koppelman.
This year alone, the Tampa synagogue has celebrated several Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and one wedding.
The newly formed Tampa synagogue Mekor Shalom aimed to bring congregants sense of belonging. The synagogue welcomes the participation of men and women in services.
If you are one of the estimated 70% of Jews in Tampa who is unaffiliated with a synagogue because of the cost, listen to this: Mekor Shalom is the first and only Tampa area synagogue to offer a Voluntary Financial Commitment.
SOURCE: Mekor Shalom
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