"Devotion by the Ocean" drew some 300 congregants to Shabbat services in Ventnor, N.J., this past Friday.
Beach blanket bimah?
In a way, that described the "Devotion by the Ocean" held behind the Ventnor, N.J., library this past Shabbat.
An estimated joint congregation of 300 people from 11 area congregations and two organizations gathered by the beach for the special event.
The July 11 seashore service, ongoing for close to 10 years, is organized by Congregation Beth Judah of Ventnor, which spearheaded the concept originally.
Taking part in addition to Beth Judah were Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel, Philadelphia; Adath Israel, Merion Station; Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park; Congregation Beth El-Ner Tamid, Broomall; Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, Wynnewood; Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley; Temple Sinai, Dresher; Temple Beth Shalom, Brigantine, N.J.; Beth El Congregation, Margate, N.J.; Congregation Beth El, Voorhees, N.J.; American Jewish Committee of Philadelphia; and the Philadelphia chapter of the American Technion Society.
It was the biggest turnout yet, said Ethel Levinson, director of synagogue life for Beth Judah. She coordinates the service after Rabbi Aaron Gaber and Chazzan Jeffrey Myers extend invitations to congregations across the region.
“It was an enjoyable, moving and spiritual event,” Levinson said.
It is also especially popular with families because the library’s playground is available for tots and toddlers, she added.
Levinson noted that many strollers on the boardwalk stopped to observe, and some, she gauged from seeing their mouths moving, “finished their own davening with those on the beach.”
Two more “Devotions by the Ocean” are scheduled for Aug.1 and 29.