By Matthew Mallio, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – In celebration of “Girl Scout Week,” Temple Emmanuel hosted a special Girl Scout Shabbat March 17.
Several Girl Scouts, representing four area troops, were on hand as well as adult leaders, family and friends, for the Friday evening service.
“It’s a really nice evening,” said Sherri Greenstein, one of the temple’s two vice presidents and a Girl Scout volunteer, who was with her daughter Eliana, who recently earned the highest award in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award. For her project, Eliana set up a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program at the Marlborough Boys and Girls Club.
Sherri Greenstein explained that Temple Emmanuel is about 75 years old and has a somewhat small, but diverse group of members including about 40 families.
“Anybody’s welcome,” Greenstein said.
“I think it’s great,” said Linda Sohn, the temple’s cantor, adding that the Shabbat service is a special one, symbolizing the transition from the work week and its stresses and responsivities to reflection, renewal, and “a day of rest.”
Bonny Goldberg, the service unit coordinator for the Girl Scouts of America (GSA), spoke at the service. She talked about the accomplishments of the Girl Scouts, the significance of Girl Scout Week and that each year Girl Scout week had a theme. Last year’s theme was “Connect” and this year’s theme was “Grow.”
She said that the week began with Girl Scout Sunday, with a service at Marlborough’s First United Methodist Church, and that it was appropriate that the week close out with the Girl Scout Shabbat. She said this was something that the temple had been doing for several years now.
“Marlborough Girl Scouts is blessed to have two houses of worship to partner with this celebration,” Goldberg said. “Service is a large part of the Girl Scout mission and being able to honor those girls that serve God is important.”
Goldberg noted that GSA is a part of a larger group called “WAGGGS” – the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Girl Scout Week is celebrated every year in 144 countries.
“[Girl Scouts] are reminded of the international themes and they are encouraged to find a way to use these themes in what they do,” Goldberg said. “I challenged the girls at both services to find a way to fulfill that theme. Whether they grow a tree to make the world a better place…or find a way to grow from within.”
Another way of focusing on that theme would be to find something about a part of yourself that could be a weakness.
“Find a way to strengthen it, nurture it and allow it to grow so that you can reach out and help others and allow them to grow as well,” said Goldberg.
The service included many prayers, psalms and readings both in English and in Hebrew. This was done, according to Sohn, to make sure no one feels excluded.
In lieu of a homily, the congregation sang songs, two of which were traditional Girl Scout songs, “When E’re you Make a Promise” and “Make New Friends.”
Sohn led the songs and prayers and called the GSA an “extremely worthy organization” that helps young women learn about community service and doing good works.
Following the service was a reception for temple members and guests which included, among other things, Girl Scout cookies.