In past years when the Sefer Haftorah arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, New Jersey, a member of the Men’s Club was given the honor of reading the haftorah from the Sefer Haftorah on Shabbat. But this year, we tried something new.
At the suggestion of our spiritual leader Rabbi Geoffrey Spector, and coordinated by Men’s Club Officer Paul Brownstein, the Beth Shalom Men’s Club did something very different: We recruited a full dozen members of Men’s Club to share the reading of the haftorah. Despite the fact that most had not read a haftorah since their Bar Mitzvah, each man agreed to learn and read two verses of the 24-verse haftorah. Rabbi Spector believed this was the perfect opportunity to have a large number of Men’s Club members, who might not otherwise have ever read a haftorah again, to experience this special mitzvah together with their fellow Men’s Club members.
At Shabbat services on August 30, 2014, everything came together exactly as planned. All twelve men ascended the bima and received the maftir aliyah together. As a group, they recited the blessing before the haftorah, after which they formed a line and passed the yad from one man to the next as each read his verses from the beautiful FJMC Sefer Haftorah scroll. When the reading was complete, they then recited the concluding blessings together.
Everyone in the congregation could feel and share in the accomplishment of these men, and a great feeling of warmth and ruach filled the sanctuary. Rabbi Spector delivered a sermon based on the day’s haftorah and the Sefer Haftorah, and explained how the twelve men of Men’s Club furthered the purposes of the Sefer Haftorah: to create a sense of pride and accomplishment among the FJMC member clubs and create opportunities for club members to experience, first-hand, such a rich part of our tradition.
We are already looking forward to the next time the Sefer Haftorah returns to Livingston so that we can continue what is sure to become a cherished part of our Men’s Club calendar.
President, Temple Beth Shalom Men’s Club