Panim Hadashot-The Heart of Shabbat 2015 Update

Dear Friends of Panim Hadashot-The Heart of Shabbat

We wish you a Happy Hanukah filled with light.   We wanted to update you about Panim Hadashot-The Heart of Shabbat.

Our focus in this early stage is to create powerful Shabbat experiences by reconsidering the way we pray and the way we are shaped by Shabbat. We have worked to create musical services and gatherings that have contemplative, joyful, and participatory elements and that preserve a loving connection to the traditional Hebrew prayer and song traditions. Everything we do seeks to inspire our participants and build community. At this stage, we are gathering in smaller venues to refine our approach to services and to create the conditions for connecting people in a joyful and welcoming Shabbat setting. In a sense, we are a Shabbat laboratory, experimenting with ways to reinvigorate an ancient but timeless spiritual treasure of Judaism.

In late summer 2015, Panim Hadashot introduced a series of select Shabbat and High Holiday activities.  In October and November, we experimented with two Shabbatons in Ballard called Urban Shabbat Retreats.   Going forward, we will focus on two dimensions of the Shabbat experience which have had the most impact so far and will meet in various locations around Seattle.

First, we are working on a Kabbalat Shabbat musical service (with instrumentation) which taps into both Western and Eastern Jewish musical traditions along with a spirited Shabbat dinner experience.

Second, we aim to integrate two Hasidic traditions into one beautiful end-of-Shabbat experience.  These are the Tisch – a late Shabbat afternoon table accompanied with teaching, storytelling, and song – and the Melaveh Malkah – an extension of Shabbat that is filled with joyful song and which culminates in the beautiful ending ritual of Havdallah.  We have given this event the moniker, Hootenanny and Havdallah.

We have intended all along to fully integrate Tikkun Olam activity into our vision and programming.  Joanne and I have a personal commitment to mental health advocacy and support.  Mental illness can be one of the most devastating forms of illness, severely impacting many individuals and families.  As you can see on our website, we are working with the Jewish Family Service and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Washington and Greater Seattle to promote courses in the Jewish community for families affected by mental illness.  I am a trained NAMI peer educator who will anchor the award-winning Family-to-Family class that will be starting in March 2016.

As our community develops, we hope to add other Tikkun Olam activities and foci. We believe strongly that Shabbat is a time to cultivate and renew our engagement in the world.  Shabbat is not an escape from the world, but rather a spiritual regrouping, a time for reflection and the regeneration of a permanent commitment to Tikkun Olam.  We welcome people’s thoughts and wishes concerning how to shape a Shabbat experience that helps us renew and maintain our efforts of Tikkun Olam in the world, especially in these challenging times.

Panim Hadashot-The Heart of Shabbat is a work in progress – a fact we recognize and embrace. We hope you will help us shape and nourish our vision by connecting with us.  Please feel free to contact me with your questions and thoughts.  We are also grateful for your financial support, which is always easy to give through this link.

We hope to see you at a Panim Hadashot Shabbat program in the near future.

Hag Hanukah Same’ah,

Rabbi Dov Gartenberg