To be more inclusive, Temple Judea of Coral Gables has begun a bimonthly Shabbat en Español, offering Reform Jewish services in Spanish.
“Spanish is a beautiful and expressive language. When you grow up in Jewish synagogues throughout Latin America there’s a lot of commonality in the service. There’s a lot of things that remind you of when you’re growing up. I think that makes it very special,” said Diego Lowenstein, an Argentine guitarist who performed at the March 4 service.
Lowenstein, loves how the Spanish service reminds him of his childhood and has been involved for at Temple Judea more than 10 years.
Frank Cauce, vice president of Temple Judea’s executive board and a member for 17 years, says the synagogue is a warm and welcoming place.
“It’s a family. It’s a home away from home for all of us,” Cauce said.
Cauce converted to Judaism seven years ago and has seen the temple in different ways.
“My wife and kids grew up Jewish. So I have seen the temple from the outside and I have seen it from the inside,” he said. “It’s a really a great place to welcome all those who speak Spanish that are Jewish in the community who don’t really have a place to express themselves.”
Rabbi Judith Siegal and Gaby Enser Tangir, the temple’s B’nai Mitzvah coordinator, lead the service together. Enser Tangir, originally of Argentina, approached Siegal to start the service and it took off.
Enser Tangir calls Spanish-speaking congregants to personally invite them to every Shabbat en Español.
“There is a need among Latin Jews in our community to pray in Spanish, with their own customs, surrounded by family,” Siegal said. “People attend for the community, the music and the sentiment, and it enriches us all. Everyone is welcome.”
In addition to being musically oriented, the service is also very participatory.
“I choose about five or six congregants that speak Spanish to do the readings,” Enser Tangir said. I like to have different accents.”
Enser Tangir said the service is also very family oriented. “Its beautiful because I have a lot of families that they bring their grandma so we have at least three generations in a lot of people that come here.”
The service ends with a song dedicated to blessing the children.
“I ask all the generations to get together and cover their son or daughter’s head with their hands and say the blessing from parents to sons and daughters to protect them for the week to come,” Enser Tangir said. “In Argentina, every service ends like that. I look forward to that moment every Shabbat en Español.”
Enser Tangir plans to continue with Shabbat en Español.
“It’s nice living in Miami to offer something for Spanish speakers,” she said. “It’s a place where people can come, speak and pray in Spanish.”
If you go
Temple Judea offers a Shabbat en Español service every two months.
The next service will be 7:45 p.m. May 6 at Temple Judea, 5500 Granada Blvd. in Coral Gables.