Recently, Rachel and I attended BMH-BJ: The Denver Synagogue. We arrived a little before 9:00 a.m. because that’s when the service started. We found it a little odd that it was just a few others and us. A Layperson, someone that is like a deacon, came to us because he could tell we were not Jewish and informed us that most of the congregation doesn’t show up until 9:30-10:00, but he, Jay, was very willing to help us learn about what went on during the Shabbat service. He described the siddur, which is a book that contains the prayers that are recited during the service and the chumash, which contains the five books of Moses.
Jay had one of the synagogue’s teachers sit by us and explain what was happening during the service. She also gave us a tour of the synagogue and showed us where they have the traditional services with men and women seated on separate sides and the classrooms where the children spend their time during the services.
Jay invited us to read the nation’s prayer in front of the congregation, so Rachel went up and read it and did a great job. It was very nice of him to ask us to do that. He also let us look at the Torah when it was being read, which was very fascinating. He explained that they have to insure the Torah for thousands of dollars, because they are all handwritten with duck quills and it takes almost a year to finish one.
My favorite part of the service was when the Cantor sang the prayers. Jay informed us that he was a Holocaust survivor and that they had several in the congregation. Cantor Zach was actually retired, but the present Cantor was on vacation. The prayers were all sung in Hebrew and it was very beautiful. He was also the cutest old guy ever!
The Denver synagogue is the largest conservative synagogue, not the only one in Denver by far.