Under a moon-lit sky and against a backdrop of stained glass windows, Temple Or Elohim conducted Friday night services in the temple’s parking lot Sept. 4. The event was the eighth annual “Shabbat Under the Stars,” featuring a barbecue, a performance by the temple’s band, and an interactive and rousing service, led by Rabbi Harvey Abramowitz and Cantor David Katz.
The rabbi welcomed the informal congregation of more than 250 local residents, with some coming from nearby Cold Spring Harbor, Plainview and as far south as Wantagh, in addition to Jericho, Syosset and Woodbury.
“This event is an expression of community and celebration,” he said.
The barbecue offered turkey burgers, veggie burgers and beef burgers, hot dogs, chicken and salads and beverages. Temple members, often with the assistance of their children, prepared more than a dozen platters of cookies and pastries.
Katz roused the audience with lively renditions of the Hebrew Sabbath prayers and concluded the service with an inspiring communal singing of the classic song, “Lean on Me.”
Laurel Fried, who helped organize the event, said the annual “Shabbat Under the Stars” reminds the community of the innovative activities of Temple Or Elohim and helps make them aware of the events the temple sponsors throughout the year.
“Our hope is that whatever background or religious affiliation people have who came here, they found a sense of comfort, familiarity and fulfillment,” she said.
Visiting the temple and its Shabbat service for the first time, Dr. Alice Deutsch of Melville, a dentist with a practice in Garden City, said the event couldn’t have been more inviting and enjoyable.
“This is a wonderful way to introduce the temple and its leaders to the entire community,” she said. “Fortunately, the weather cooperated and helped make for an enjoyable evening.”