Thursday, May 18, 2006

Rabbi Dov's Listing of Jewish Innovative Organizations

Dear Friends,

From time to time I want to list for you Jewish organizations and communities that are doing exciting things. Mikol mlamdai hiskalti. I learn from all my teachers. We are living at a time of great fermentation in Jewish life. I invite you to check out some of these new experienments in Jewish community.

Ikar A new type of community in Los Angeles formed by Rabbi Sharon Brous

Aitz Hayim In Chicago. This is a shul without a building. Read the 10 principles.

Religion Outside a Box I just got in contact with the founder of this group.

Storahtelling This organization revitalized the ritual of reading the Torah.

If you want to keep follow interesting changes taking place in the American Jewish community, go to the Synagogue 3000 website and blog. LINK

Panim Hadashot is proud to be part of this flowering. Share with me your impressions.

Rabbi Dov Gartenberg

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A Voice Recording of Mah Yedidut-A Sabbath Table Song

This is a lovely Shabbat table song along with my 'geshrai' custom (a well place oy between the phrases). A text of this song is found in the many songsters and Sabbath prayerbooks. I recommend the Kol Echad Songster which also has a transliteration of the Hebrew text.

Download mah_yedidut.WMA

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Some Shabbat at Home Ideas

Dear Friends,

I like to pass on to you some of the new ideas and practices I am sharing at the Shabbat around Seattle experiences. I have found these practices to greatly enhance the joy-oneg of Shabbat. This past Shabbat I spend with a lovely family in Newcastle. I shared with them a couple of traditions.

Following the Talmud in Shabbat I brought a shofar which we blew 6 times prior to candlelighting. Here is a paraphrasing of the source by Francine Klagsburn from her book, The 4th Commandment. When the Second Temple stood, six blasts of the Shofar announced the approachof the Sabbath to the Jewish community. The first blast signaled the farmers to stop their plowing. Digging, or other work in the fields. The second directed the merchants in the towns to place the shutters on their windows and close their shops. The third meant that all the cooking must end and the time had come to light the Sabbath lamp. Soon after, three more blasts proclaimed the official beginning of the Sabbath.

Blowing the shofar is a dramatic 'havdalah', differentiation from the week of work and stress. It signifies renewal and links up Shabbat with Rosh Hashannah. I have also learned that Jews never tire of hearing the shofar and that it has very positive associations. One suggestion: Let a kid blow the shofar. It helps him or her feel that Shabbat is special.

Just after candlighting we read a passage from Naomi Levy's beautiful book of prayers. When we read this, everyone chimed in with a comment of how helpful it was to move into the Shabbat mood.

A Prayer for Embracing Lifes Mystery A Prayer at Candlelighting I want to know You, God. I want to see the world through Your eyes. To feel intimately involved in all of creation. I want to know why things happen the way they do.

Help me, God to accept what I cannot understand, to accept life without constantly trying to control it. Teach me how to bend with life, how to repair what I canrepair, how to live with my questions, how to rejoice in Your wonders.

When I am faced with events that baffle and astound me, help me to transform my frustration into humility and awe. Teach me to embrace the mystery, God. Remind me to enjoy the ride.Thank you, God for this spectacular life.

Amen Rabbi Naomi Levy

She has another beautiful blessing which augments the ritual of blessing the children. Here is a prayer for children blessing parents:

A Blessing for Children to Say to a Parent(s)

You gave me my life. You give me your wisdom, your guidance, your concern, your love. You are my mentor, my protector, my moral compass, my comfort. There are no words to express my gratitude for all the blessings you have given me. Still, Itell you thank you. May God bless you as you have blessed me, with life, with health, with joy, and with love.

Amen Rabbi Naomi Levy

I recommend her book, Talking to God to see her many other beautiful prayers that she has composed for various occasions and situations.

I tried another idea this past Shabbat which worked out very well. I chose to highlight one of the Zemirot-table songs- for the evening. I took Mah Yedidut, one of the most fun of the zemirot and broke it down so that we sang stanzas from it throughout the dinner. Since many at the dinner were unfamiliar with the melody, I was able to help everyone master this beautiful zemer by singing one stanza at different intervals throughout the evening. This also enabled me to give commentary on the language, share insights into Shabbat, and to teach the concept of oneg-Sabbath joy-which is the main theme of the medieval song.

I will post my version of it on the blog for people to enjoy it and learn it.

Hope these are helpful ideas.
Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Dov Gartenberg