News, Articles, and Sermons

from the July, 2016 issue of the PTS Bulletin

Shabbat Morning @ Sholom

One of the wonderful parts of a community like Peninsula Temple Sholom is that we can offer our members multiple points of entry. No one way of doing anything works for everybody. Recognizing that no one type of service will meet all needs, we are trying something new this summer.

Two Shabbat mornings per month, for one hour beginning at 10:30 a.m., we will feature creative prayer experiences in the Lent Chapel: Klein Spiritual Center. We call it Shabbat Morning @ Sholom.

In June Rabbi Molly Plotnik debuted Genius Bima Workshop, an experimental learner’s minyan introducing new melodies, as well as Tiny T’filah, a fun way for families with children five years old and younger to experience singing, dancing, and a story.

In July, two other new offerings will give our community a chance to explore both yoga and meditation-themed Shabbat services. On the 9th, musical accompanist Angela Gold joins me in leading a meditative service invoking the technique called hitbodedut, a spontaneous and personal form of prayer and meditation taught by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The Hasidic rabbi taught his students to pray to God as if talking to a dear friend. This service will focus on freeing ourselves of the constraints of the written words in the prayer book and will encourage us to pray informally and find our own words with which to connect with God.

On July 16, Rabbi Lisa Delson will lead a Yoga Shabbat, focusing on connecting our mind and body through Jewish prayer. Judaism has evolved, as we know, throughout the ages and across the lands, finding influences from Babylonian, Zoroastrianism, and Greek cultures, to name just a few. Yoga is a spiritual practice that combines the body, the spirit, and the mind. This prayer service will make this combination in a Jewish context. Both July offerings will focus on kavanah, the sense of intentionality, or the mindset that we bring to the Shabbat experience.

In the month of August, one service will combine Kabbalah and a drum circle, and the other will focus on the power of healing prayers. On August 13, Cantor Barry Reich will put together a drum circle Shabbat service, using Kabbalah to help us break old vessels and see new light. Kabbalah is not a separate form of Judaism, rather it is a longstanding strand within Judaism that finds its early forms in 12th to 13th-century Southern France and which then blossomed in 16th- century northern Israel, particularly in the city of Tzfat. Now it is part of the colorful fabric of modern Judaism, and we get to experience it here at PTS.

I will have the privilege of leading a healing service with musical accompanist Emily Pelc on August 27. This service will try to create of vision of wellness for us, both individually and communally, through the power of prayer, both spoken and sung. So many of us have felt deeply moved by the singing of the Mi Shebeirach prayer at a Shabbat service. The prayer, with its touching words and soaring melody, can be extraordinarily affecting. This service will draw on music, prayer, texts, and guided meditation to move our spirits.

We are fortunate to live at a time when the broad menu of Jewish spiritual offerings are ours for the taking. This is a remarkable period in which to experience liberal Judaism, and we want to know what works for you. If you have a creative service idea that you would like to see offered here, please let us know. We are always looking for ways to grow our community and to grow in spirit. I encourage you to come to some or all of our Shabbat Morning @ Sholom services, and to bring a friend. May our Shabbat experiences be a blessing!