Panim Hadashot – New Faces

Above:  The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble of Panim Hadshot-New Faces

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Panim Hadashot-New Faces, An Introduction

New Faces-Panim Hadashot is a new community dedicated to revitalizing the practice of Jewish Hospitality.  The Hebrew term for hospitality is “Hachnasat Orchim-bringing in the guest”.  The Hebrew phrase “Panim Hadashot” is another part of the great tradition of Jewish hospitality. The Talmud describes the practice of inviting new faces beyond the family circle to share in the joyous celebrations on behalf of a newly married couple in the week after the wedding ceremony.  New Faces-Panim Hadashot revives and expands this old Jewish tradition of spreading the joy by supporting and facilitating Shabbat home hospitality practice with our music, group singing, Jewish teachings, and encouragement to share meal with new faces.

We understand Jewish Hospitality to mean.

  1. Following and conserving an important Jewish hospitality tradition going back to the to the Genesis story about Abraham welcoming guests (Genesis 18).
  2. Sharing our Shabbat/Festival meals with guests and new faces in our homes and common rooms.
  3. Cultivating hospitality through group singing with inspiring music, engaging Torah study, thoughtful conversation, and table fellowship.
  4. Experiencing the Sabbath and Festivals  as distinctive joyful experiences in which hospitality is one of the central elements.
  5. Sharing our meals and gatherings with Jews who are different than ourselves in practice and orientation.
  6. Sharing our meals with non-Jews of different faiths and predicaments to share in our common humanity and dialogue about common concerns.
  7. Mastering Jewish Hospitality practices, attitudes, and behaviors that can be practiced throughout one’s lifetime.
  8. Expressing a concrete commitment to pluralism, tolerance, diversity, and a generosity of spirt while living and sharing a Jewishly committed life through the practice of hospitality.

Our focus on Jewish Hospitality practices is expressed by our emphasis on community singing as a core feature of our Shabbat Hosting Partnerships and our community programs.  We approach Jewish music and singing as an authentic experience of prayer, gratitude, generosity, and solidarity.  We intentionally seek to revitalize Shabbat table singing which Jews have practiced for generations, but which has declined among many Jews in modern times.  We eschew performing in favor of soliciting soulful and enthusiastic participation.  We seek to revitalize this practice of table singing through the skillful use of live music and an approach to song leading that invites everyone to sing regardless of ability.  We have assembled a very talented and skilled ensemble called the Heart of Shabbat for this purpose.

Panim Hadashot is a pluralistic and purpose-driven Jewish community.  Through our Shabbat Hosting Partnership program, we recruit hosts throughout the Jewish community who host Shabbat gatherings in their homes and common rooms.  Our hosts invite their friendship circle and “new faces” while we bring our Heart of Shabbat Ensemble to their home for an evening of rich Jewish music, group singing, dynamic discussion and authentic Jewish hospitality.

New Faces-Panim Hadashot is unusual in that it is purpose driven and does not present itself as a full-service synagogue.  Our model is meant to be an attractive and affordable compliment to synagogue membership as well as an alternative to the synagogue model of community.  Our community is composed of young and old, singles and families, secular and religious.

We welcome newcomers to Seattle with Shabbat invitations to experience the Jewish Hospitality that is the central ideal of our community.  We offer many programs open to the community such as monthly Friday night services, Shabbat morning study and prayer programs, Tikun Olam activities, classes, special holiday programs, and in 2017 our first High Holiday services.  In all these we emphasize the importance of practicing Jewish hospitality and encourage all our participants to develop their own hospitality practices.

We are led by Rabbi, Dov Gartenberg, who is a convener, master teacher, and a passionate pluralist.  We are led musically by master musician, Ari Joshua, who incidentally was Rabbi Gartenberg’s Bar Mitzvah student.