Kabbalat Shabbat melodies

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

I’m excited about celebrating Shabbat on Friday nights at CBI again! And, I’m aware that we haven’t had regular Kabbalat Shabbat (“Receiving Shabbat” or “Welcoming Shabbat”) services in a few years, and that it would be nice to refresh everyone’s memory on some of the melodies we use.

Here are five of the melodies you’ll be hearing this coming Friday evening at the Kabbalat Shabbat service led by me and Rabbi David Markus:

Shalom Aleichem, the song which welcomes the angels of Shabbat:

(Melody: Shneyer; Recording: Jeff Klepper.)

Yedid Nefesh, the medieval love song to God (this recording is Hebrew only; we may sing some in English, too):

(Melody: Traditional; Recording: Danny Maseng)

We Are Loved, an English-language poem/song which we will use as our variation on Ahavat Olam:

(Melody and recording: Shir Yaakov)

Lach Amar Libi, “Seek My Face”, from Psalm 27, the special psalm for this month of the year (this recording is Hebrew-only; we will sing it in English, too):

(Melody and recording: Nava Tehila)

Kirtan Kaddish, a call-and-response setting of the kaddish:

(Melody and recording: Rabbi Andrew Hahn, “the Kirtan Rabbi“.)

Here is an online folder which contains the five mp3s – you are welcome to listen to them online or to save them to your own computer. And, of course, please support the artists by buying their music on iTunes or Amazon or via your favorite music-buying source!

I hope your Elul continues to be meaningful and sweet,

Rabbi Rachel

A Special Shabbat Weekend at CBI

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

As you may know, we’re bringing Friday night Shabbat experiences back to CBI! Starting this fall, we’ll be experimenting with different Friday evening celebrations (services, potlucks, and/or joint potlucks-and-services) on the first Friday of every month.

However, the first Friday of September is Labor Day weekend when a lot of people are out of town, so we’re kicking off our Friday night / Kabbalat Shabbat adventures a week early — this Friday, August 28, when I will welcome a special guest to the bimah.

9219803272_c141a5a867_zThis coming Shabbat we will be hosting Rabbi David Markus of Temple Beth El of City Island, who (with me) serves as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. On Friday night there will be a vegetarian potluck supper at 6pm (please RSVP for that – office@cbiweb.org) followed by a Kabbalat Shabbat / Welcoming Shabbat service at 7pm. The two of us will also partner in leading Shabbat morning services, where Rabbi David will offer the d’var Torah.

Rabbi David and I will be following the custom of wearing white on Friday night as we welcome the Shabbat Bride into our midst. Please join us in wearing white, in singing the songs of Kabbalat Shabbat, and in some joyous grapevine dancing around the sanctuary or patio as we sing Lecha Dodi! (We’ll also have hand drums and shakers for those who are so inclined.)

pnai-or-siddur-for-erev-shabbat-marcia-prager-256px-256pxWe’ll daven on Friday night using Rabbi Marcia Prager’s wonderful Siddur for Erev Shabbat, which features meaningful translations as well as beautiful poetry and images. On Friday night you will also be treated to a special story from our education director, Maggid (Storyteller) David Arfa, about the wonders of this month on the Jewish calendar, the lunar month of Elul.

Please join us for any and/or all of this coming weekend’s special Shabbat experiences: vegetarian / dairy potluck at 6pm on Friday (and please RSVP to the office so we know how many people to set up for!), Kabbalat Shabbat services at 7pm on Friday, and Shabbat morning services at 9:30am on Saturday.

Wishing you blessings as Elul continues to unfold,

Rabbi Rachel

 

Shavua tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Ki Tetzei… and a special guest this Shabbat!

Shavua tov – a  good week to you! This week we’re reading parashat Ki Tetzei from the book of Dvarim (Deuteronomy.)return-to-shabbat

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Ki Tetzei | URJ.

This coming Shabbat we will welcome a special guest — Rabbi David Markus of Temple Beth El of City Island, who with Rabbi Rachel serves as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. On Friday night there will be a vegetarian potluck supper at 6pm (please RSVP for that – office@cbiweb.org) followed by a Kabbalat Shabbat service at 7pm. Stay tuned for more information about that. (Shabbat morning services will also be led by Rabbi Rachel and Rabbi David.)

During the month of Elul it’s customary to pray psalm 27 every day. We’ll be singing different excerpts from the psalm over the course of this month and the Days of Awe — the song “Achat Sha’alti,” which we’ve sung here for many years at this season, and also the verse “Lach Amar Libi” to a melody from Nava Tehila, the Jewish Renewal congregation of Jerusalem.

Here’s an embedded mp3 of that melody so you can listen to it at home:

And here’s sheet music, for those who find sheet music useful: Psalm 27,Lakh Amar Libi notes [pdf] The words translate to “You [God] called to my heart, saying ‘seek My face;’ Your face, Source of All, is what I seek!”

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

Bringing Friday Night Shabbat Back to CBI!

We’re bringing Friday nights back to CBI! Here’s the schedule for our first six months of Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services and/or Friday night potluck dinners. Save the dates and join us! Our first one will be next weekend (Aug 28); after that, we’ll meet on First Fridays.

Got Shabbat Logo

Join us as we greet Shabbat with joy.
(Starting in October, these are First Fridays.)

Friday Aug. 28 –  special service
co-led by Rabbi Rachel & Rabbi David Markus
6pm potluck, 7pm Kabbalat Shabbat
please rsvp for the potluck – office@cbiweb.org

Friday Oct. 2 – Potluck in the Sukkah, 5:30pm
please rsvp for the potluck – office@cbiweb.org

Friday November 6 – Kabbalat Shabbat service, 7pm

Friday December 4 – Shabbat Potluck, 5:30pm
please rsvp for the potluck – office@cbiweb.org

(No service on Friday January 1; New Year’s Day)

Friday Feb 5 – Kabbalat Shabbat service, 7pm

Shavua tov and chodesh tov! Looking forward to Shabbat Shoftim.

Shavua tov – a  good week to you! And also chodesh tov, wishing you a sweet new month, as we have entered into the lunar month of Elul.

This week we’re reading parashat Shoftim from the book of Dvarim (Deuteronomy.)return-to-shabbat

If you’d like to read some commentaries on this week’s Torah portion, some links follow:

And here’s the URJ’s compilation of commentaries on this week’s Torah portion: Shoftim | URJ.

This coming Shabbat morning, services will be led by Rabbi Pam Wax.

During the month of Elul it’s customary to pray psalm 27 every day. We’ll be singing different excerpts from the psalm over the course of this month and the Days of Awe — the song “Achat Sha’alti,” which we’ve sung here for many years at this season, and also the verse “Lach Amar Libi” to a melody from Nava Tehila, the Jewish Renewal congregation of Jerusalem.

Here’s an embedded mp3 of that melody so you can listen to it at home:

And here’s sheet music, for those who find sheet music useful: Psalm 27,Lakh Amar Libi notes [pdf] The words translate to “You [God] called to my heart, saying ‘seek My face;’ Your face, Source of All, is what I seek!”

Many thanks to our shamashim, the members who host our Shabbat services each week. If you would like to join that group, please contact Pattie Lipman.

We hope to see you soon at CBI!

On meteors, the night sky, and seeing ourselves in a new light – thoughts for Elul

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A few nights ago a friend reminded us that the Perseid meteors were going to be visible. So around 9pm we turned off all of our lights and went outside and lay on our backs on the deck and stared up at the sky. I knew it would take a while for my eyes to adjust.

From the moment I looked up at the heavens I was awestruck by the sheer number of stars. And I thought to myself: even if I don’t see any meteors, dayenu, it’s enough, because this is so beautiful. And then I saw one streak across the sky, and it was amazing.

I know that we are blessed to live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of “light pollution” — where we can turn off our lights and really see the night sky. And I know that the reason the stars were so visible is that there was almost no moon.

Because this weekend is Rosh Chodesh — new moon. Now the moon starts growing again. This is one of the things I love about being attuned to the Jewish calendar: it means I’m also always attuned to the phases of the moon as she waxes and wanes.

The moon will grow for two weeks, and shrink for two weeks, and the next new moon is Rosh Chodesh Tishrei, also known as Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah is four weeks from this Sunday. Maybe for some of you that doesn’t sound like a big deal. So what? You’re not writing sermons or preparing services, so does it really make a difference to you? I want to say today that it can make a difference — and I hope that it will.

Our tradition teaches that this is a month during which we should deepen our spiritual practices, whatever they may be. This is a month during which we look back on the year now ending. Who have you been, since last Rosh Hashanah?

What are you proud of, and what do you feel ashamed of? When were you the best self you know how to be, and when did you fall short? How’s your relationship with God these days — whatever that word or idea means to you?

If we spend these next four weeks in introspection, discerning where we may have mis-stepped and where we forged a wise path, then when we get to Rosh Hashanah we’ll experience those two days of prayer and song and story in a different way.

If we spend these next four weeks rekindling our spiritual practices — be they yoga, or meditation, or prayer, or walking in the woods — then when we metaphorically call up God on Rosh Hashanah we won’t be afraid of hearing, “it’s been a whole year — nu, you don’t write, you don’t call…!”

One Hasidic teaching holds that Elul is the time when “the King is in the fields” — when God leaves the divine palace on high and enters creation to walk with us in the meadows and listen to the deepest yearnings of our hearts. God is extra-available to us this month. What do we most need to say?

Another Hasidic teaching points out that the name of this month, Elul, can be read as an acronym for Ani l’dodi v’dodi li — “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” The Beloved, in this context, is God. We belong to God, and God belongs to us, and what connects us is love.

The stars are there every night, but we can only see them when there are no clouds and when the moon has dwindled. The opportunity to do the work of teshuvah, repentance / return, is there all year long — but some seasons of the year offer us special opportunities to see ourselves in a new light.

This is a time of month when the night sky is filled with tiny lights. And this is a time of year when we can open our hearts and souls to the light of God’s presence as we do the work of discernment and transformation. Imagine what we might see in ourselves if we take the time to let our eyes adjust.

Here’s to a meaningful Elul.

This is the d’var Torah (really more of a d’var zman, a word about the season) which I offered at CBI yesterday. (Cross-posted to Velveteen Rabbi.)

Days of Awe at CBI 2015 / 5776

There are no high holiday tickets at CBI; no one has to “pay to pray.”
All are welcome.

 

entering the season

Havdalah & Selichot (“Pardons”) service, Sat. Sept. 5, 8-9pm
(potluck dessert reception to follow)
Cemetary Service, Walker Street, Sun. Sept. 6, 2-2:30pm

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah First Evening service, Sun. Sept. 13, 7:30-9pm
Rosh Hashanah First Day morning service, Mon. Sept. 14, 9:30am-12:30pm
Children’s service, 10am (childcare all morning)
Tashlich (casting bread upon the waters) to follow
Rosh Hashanah Lunch at a local restaurant to follow that; please RSVP!
Rosh Hashanah Second Day  morning service, Tues. Sept. 15, 9:30am-12pm

Yom Kippur

Kol Nidre (with childcare) Tues. Sept. 22, 6-8pm
(arrive at 5:30 for music to open the heart)
Yom Kippur Morning service, Weds. Sept. 23, 9:30am-12:30pm
Children’s service, 10am (childcare all morning)
Yizkor /Memorial Service – during the end of the morning service
Introduction to Jewish Contemplative Practice, 3-4pm
Yom Kippur Mincha and Avodah service, 4-5:30pm
Yom Kippur Ne’ilah service, 6-7pm (sundown: 6:42)
Yom Kippur Break-The-Fast: after services. Please RSVP!

Sukkot

All are welcome to use our sukkah any time during Sukkot (9/27 – 10/4)

Sukkot / Shabbat Potluck, Fri. Oct. 2, 5:30pm until whenever
sleepover in the sukkah for older kids & anyone who wants to join!
Shemini Atzeret services, with Yizkor, Mon. Oct 5, 10am-12pm

 

 

http://www.cbiweb.org, http://www.facebook.com/CBINorthAdams, 413-663-5830
Congregation Beth Israel: 53 Lois Street, North Adams MA 01247