BLOOMFIELD — Two Connecticut congregations, Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh of Bloomfield and Congregation B’nai Sholom of Newington, celebrated their merger on Sunday, July 10 with a “wedding” attended by more than 300 guests. Standing under a chuppah adorned with flowers in the Tikvoh Chadoshoh sanctuary, the congregation’s new spiritual leader Rabbi Debra Cantor, read the ketubah. Then, the traditional breaking of a glass was followed by a chorus of “mazel tovs”…and B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom’s (BTS) was officially welcomed as Connecticut’s newest Conservative congregation. The new congregation will be housed in the Tikvoh Chadoshoh building on Still Road in Bloomfield.
Ceremonies began with a Torah procession in which board members from Tikvoh and B’nai Sholom marched the sacred scrolls down the center aisle. From under the chuppah, Cantor mused over difficulties in finding a Hebrew translation of the word merger for use in the ketubah: “And then it came to me. I realized that it didn’t matter what the precise term is for merger. This was more than a merger of funds and property. This document was meant to mark and celebrate the beginning of a new kehilah, a new community with separate histories, but with a shared commitment to Torah, God, and Israel. And such a moment is no mere merger; it is no less than a covenantal occasion.”
“We’re looking forward to a flourishing congregation,” said Deb Polun, co-president of BTS. “We believe that in this circumstance 1+1 = 3. Our two synagogues are coming together to form something greater and something unique in this area. Today’s wedding was not just a celebration of the official merger, but of the special community we are creating together.”
Cantor read from the concluding portion of the ketubah text she had written: “We have joined together to share joy and sorrow, to create bonds of friendship, and to build a holy community.” She lingered a moment over the meaning of a “kehilah kedoshah” – a holy community. “A kehillah is not simply a circle of friends; it has a sacred mission; it encourages its members to grow in wisdom and to live in ways that make a difference in our lives and in the world around us. More than just developing friendships, a Jewish community exists to mobilize Jews to do God’s work.”