Friday, February 14, 2020

Kabbalat Shabbat experiment: Report on our Shabbat Shirah shindig at our home shul

Start here for the shindig details.

Start here to find out how we came up with this idea.

We had some help--another synagogue attendee actually came up with the idea to have a lay-led Friday-night service a couple of weeks before we did, so we teamed up.  And what a team it was!  My davvening (prayer-leading) partner for the Kabbalat Shabbat service was far more experienced in leading services than I, and far better organized--she jotted down ideas for which tunes to use in a little notebook, and had me make a copy once we'd made our final choices.  The toughest part was choosing two tunes for L'cha Dodi--both had to be reasonably easy to sing, and the second one had to be "danceable," so that my husband could lead folks in dancing while we were leading the singing.

Meanwhile, my husband was looking for a couple of tunes for the Friday Arvit/Maariv/Evening Service, which he led mostly by himself.  And both of us were looking for tunes for Shabbat morning--he led P'sukei D'Zimrah and Shacharit, I led Hotzaat HaTorah and Musaf.  I think we spent a good chunk of last week with our ears glued to YouTube.  :)

With much assistance from members and friends, we managed to get our service publicized on our new synagogue webpage and on other webpages and Facebook pages, as well as in e-mails sent by other local non-Orthodox communities.  Shabbat dinner was sponsored by two shul members and cooked by shul members and friends in the synagogue kitchen.  I got lots of help from friends in choosing activities for young kids and in setting up the sanctuary seating in concentric circles.  We were all quite pleasantly surprised by the turn-out for Friday night--I didn't count, but I was told that about 50 people showed up!  This, in a synagogue that probably hasn't gotten as much as a minyan for Friday-night services in about a decade! Wow!

Saturday morning was back to normal, except that my husband and I were leading the services and sponsoring the kiddush.  All told, I thought our Shabbat shindig went pretty well, though my husband and I did kinda make mincemeat of one or two new tunes.  The next time we try leading, it's back to YouTube for both of us.  :)

Many thanks to the shul's leaders and staff who ordered the food, set everything up, and cleaned up afterward, to the fine folks who sponsored and cooked Shabbat dinner, to those who helped me shop for kids' stuff and set up the room for Friday night services, to the shul member who spared my "acting-rabbi" husband by giving the d'var Torah (sermon), and to our cantor for leining (chanting the Torah reading).  And mazal tov to my husband for chanting his Bar Mitzvah haftarah for the umpteenth time!  :)  What a way to celebrate my recent retirement (Dec. 31, 2019), our birthdays (71st and 78th--we're both early-Feb. babies), and my husband's upcoming retirement!

Let's do this again!



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