Rodef Sholom is a Reform congregation. We exist for our members and the greater community, respecting their diversity and wide range of beliefs, backgrounds, lifestyles, and needs. The congregation offers a variety of services and programs designed to meet Jewish spiritual, educational, and social needs. We strive to be supportive, reaching out to newcomers to the community and to the congregation, to our established members, interfaith families, and friends. Our goal is to foster togetherness, warmth, friendship and a strong sense of community. Congregation Rodef Sholom is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), made up of over 900 North American Reform congregations.
High Holy Day and other holiday services are offered throughout the year. Shabbat services are held on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings. Shabbat morning services are held twice monthly in conjunction with Torah study. Music for our worship services is led by the Rabbi, by our organist, Kathy Miller and soloist, William Ambert. Special services honoring individual members for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions can be arranged through consultation with the Rabbi.
The religious school's goals include instilling a strong Jewish identity, giving a solid background in Jewish holidays, history, celebrations and rituals, and teaching Jewish values and ideals. Rodef Sholom takes an active role in the Commission for Jewish Education. Each synagogue holds its own separate Consecration and Confirmation ceremonies.
Recognizing the importance of Bar and Bat Mitzvah, Rodef Sholom provides both classroom and individual training with the Rabbi and with our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor. To enrich the experience the Rabbi conducts a three-session Bar/Bat Mitzvah Family Education program.
A variety of adult educational opportunities include classes taught by the Rabbi and programs sponsored through the Temple Brotherhood and Sisterhood on contemporary topics of Jewish and general interest. Courses in Basic Judaism, intended primarily for those considering conversion to Judaism, are offered on a regular basis.
Rodef Sholom is proud of its commitment to provide service to the community, through numerous social action projects. The committee sponsors cooperative activities with neighboring churches. Our members participate in a local soup kitchen and donate goods to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Interfaith programs include our Annual Black-Jewish Seder, Martin Luther King Day celebration, clergy dialogues, and guest speakers at services.
The Sisterhood has played an integral role in the Temple since 1867. The Catering Committee prepares the meals for special events at the Temple, Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, weddings, and other affairs. The Sisterhood also provides support for the music programs and schedules Oneg Shabbat hostesses and candlelighters for Friday evening services. One of the most important functions of our Sisterhood is provided by the Mitzvah Committee. This group of women is called upon following the death of a member from the congregation and provides the Meal of Consolation for the bereaved family. The Sisterhood meets regularly and offers many well-attended programs throughout the year.
Brotherhood, established in 1924, invites participation by men in a variety of activities. Brotherhood sponsors Sunday morning brunch/discussions and social activities for families and adults. Brotherhood members serve as ushers for Shabbat and Holiday services, organize the Annual Temple Hanukkah party, participate in the community-wide Purim carnival, and volunteer for a variety of other Temple projects.
The congregation encourages our youth to meet other Jewish teenagers beyond the Youngstown area by offering financial assistance for trips to Israel and for URJ summer camps. We have a fully furnished playroom for children and provide baby sitting during special services and events.
Rodef Sholom is proud of its dedicated volunteers. Volunteer opportunities include membership on various committees as Youth, Congregational Life, Social Action/Interfaith, Education, Properties and Improvements, Ritual, Membership, Financial and Investment, and Cemetery Committees. Our regular and occasional volunteers also assist in the Temple office, the religious school, and for the various events throughout the year. We welcome all new and established members to become involved.
Recently relocated and completely refurbished, the gift shop is replete with enhanced offerings of anything and everything Jewish, including stationery, invitations, gift wrap, books, cards, videos, C.D.=s, menorahs, dreidels and other holiday items, jewelry, and silverware. Monies raised are used for Temple projects.
SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
There is something for everyone at Rodef Sholom. Some highlights include the Annual Family Picnic, Mitzvah Day, Supper in the Sukkah, New & Fifty Year Members Luncheon, Hanukkah Party, Purim Family Service, First Night Seder at the Temple, and our Annual Wine Tasting Raffle. In addition the Dr. Sidney M. Berkowitz Memorial Lecture offers nationally renowned speakers.
MEMBERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Our recently installed elevators and chair lift give the disabled full access to our facility. In the main Sanctuary there are sound enhancers for the hearing impaired as well as large print prayer books.
Basic membership fees entitle members to all regular and holiday services, use of the Temple for life cycle events (including burial rights in Rodef Sholom=s cemetery), educational programs, and social functions. Membership in Sisterhood and Brotherhood is free for the first year of Temple membership. Consideration for financial assistance is available. Associate and out-of-town memberships are also available. See Membership for details of membership fees.