Tampa Conservative synagogue Mekor Shalom just finished celebrating five Jewish holidays in three weeks, and now it’s “Thanksgiving” for the two year old Carrollwood congregation.
The synagogue is saying thanks to the Tampa Tribune and the Lutz Laker newspapers for publishing stories that feature the North Tampa Conservative Jewish congregation.
“It’s wonderful to see Mekor Shalom in the newspaper,” says Hazzan Jodi Sered-Lever, the Conservative congregation‘s spiritual leader. “This was a dream a little over two years ago. It’s so exciting to see how far it’s come.”
Conservative Judaism is a middle-of-the-road approach to the religion that preserves Jewish tradition but is more flexible with Jewish law than Orthodox Judaism.
“Even within Conservative Judaism in Tampa, which has several synagogues across the area, Mekor Shalom brings something new and different to the table and that, I believe, is what caught the papers’ attention,” says Chris Shulman, Mekor Shalom’s president.
The first story, titled Jewish community reflects, atones on Yom Kippur, ran on Sept. 23 in the Lutz Laker and focused on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.
“I call it tax season for clergy,” Sered-Lever told the Lutz, Fla. newspaper. She says whether people come just once a year or every week, it’s about making them feel welcome.
“I don’t use guilt in any of my religious practices. I meet people where they’re at,” she said. “I’m glad to see you when you’re here. I’m glad to have your involvement; I’m glad to have your gifts. Because each person’s gifts are appreciated, and they’re not just monetary, and they’re not just numbers showing up.”
The second, titled Carrollwood synagogue seeks the unaffiliated, reported on how Mekor Shalom is attracting people from across Tampa Bay who have never been affiliated with a synagogue, or haven’t for some time.
Even though Tampa Bay is filled with many Jews, most have historically chosen to stay away from synagogues–until Mekor Shalom.
An estimated 75% of Tampa Bay Jewish community is unaffiliated with a congregation. One of the many big attractions at Mekor Shalom: The Conservative Tampa synagogue wants no part of transactional Judaism. Though there’s a suggested amount, how much you pay is up to you.
“You don’t buy your way through the door, your comfort brings you in,” Charyn Selig, whose daughter will celebrate a bat mitzvah this month, told the Tampa Tribune.
To read the article in the Lutz Laker: http://lakerlutznews.com/lln/?p=29589
To read the article in the Tampa Tribune: http://www.tbo.com/carrollwood/carrollwood-synagogue-seeks-the-unaffiliated-20150930/
Mekor Shalom, the Tampa Conservative congregation, is located at 14005A N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618. Phone: 813-963-1818813-963-1818. Website: www.mekorshalom.org.
SOURCE: Mekor Shalom
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