About 20 Scouts and their Scout leaders from around Cobb County were in attendance on Feb. 24 for the service celebrating Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts and other Scouts. All Scouts attending the service in uniform received a special religion patch.
Shabbat, observed on Friday, is primarily a day of rest from everyday life and spiritual enrichment.
Ner Tamid of West Cobb incorporated its weekly Shabbat service with a ceremony recognizing the Scouts. The service was led by Rabbi Thomas Liebshutz at Christ Lutheran Church on West Sandtown Road in Marietta.
“We decided we wanted to do a Scout Shabbat, which is in answer to Scout Sunday,” said Matt Berenson, congregation president.
“This was a regular Friday night service, however, we incorporated elements of Scouting into the service itself.”
The Scout ceremony included a candle lighting, flag ceremony, Scout Promise recitations and award presentations. But most special was the awarding of the Maccabee Awards presented to Cub Scouts Gabriel Berris, Jimmy Cyganek and David Hall.
Berenson said the group of Cub Scouts approached leaders of the congregation about assisting them in obtaining their religion emblems.
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting, which promotes Boy Scouting among Jewish youths, developed the Maccabee emblem to help Scouts who are Jewish learn more about Judaism.
Named after the heroic figure, Judah Maccabee who successfully led a revolt against a Syrian king who attempted to suppress Judaism, the emblem requires Scouts to learn Jewish terms, holidays and heroes, among other requirements.
Berenson, an Eagle Scout and former Scout master, said the award appropriately ties into the Scout Law of being reverent. Following the ceremony, a torah scroll was shared with those in attendance, he said.
“The appreciation of religion and understanding the respect for a variety of different religions is something that is certainly taught in Scouting,” Berenson said.
Ceremony coordinator Amy Berris, mother of recipient Gabriel Berris, said the ceremony will likely continue for years to come.
“We just wanted a chance for the boys to earn their emblems like the boys of other faiths,” she said. “It’s very common for there to be Scout Sundays, so this was pretty much the equivalent of the Scout Sundays.”
Congregation Ner Tamid was formed in May 2006 to service the needs of north Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, Acworth, Vinings and surrounding areas. There are about 55 families who are members of the congregation.