The New Faces Jewish Singing Circle

Our goal is to foster great Jewish community singing. We have a wide and deep repertoire of liturgical, cultural, Israeli, and music from various Jewish lands and communities. We also have a growing repertoire of niggunim (wordless melodies new and old).    

The New Faces Jewish Singing Circle (fka, Tribal Hebrew Singing Circle)

The New Faces Jewish Singing Circle meets twice a month to introduce and to sing Jewish music. We are singing new music that is being introduced at Panim Hadashot-New Faces events by the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble led by master guitarist, Ari Joshua and Rabbi Dov Gartenberg. We also sing your favorites and requests from participants. Our goal is to foster great Jewish community singing. We have a wide and deep repertoire of liturgical, cultural, Israeli, and music from various Jewish lands and communities. We also have a growing repertoire of niggunim (wordless melodies new and old).


The circle is open to all who love to sing regardless of faith and cultural background. Folks are welcome to drop in for single sessions, but we do recommend ongoing attendance to get the most from the singing circle.   No auditions are required.

Send a note that you are coming with your name and date to


The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble of Panim Hadashot-New Faces is unique in that we share our music and song in homes as part of our emphasis on Shabbat home hospitality. Participants from the New Faces Jewish Singing Circle participants are welcome to join the ensemble at future Shabbat gatherings on Friday or Saturday evenings   Singers are also welcome to join us for our community Shabbat gatherings. Please contact us to get plugged into our schedule.


Future Dates: :   We will generally meets the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month, 6 to 8pm.

Dates for upcoming sessions through the end of 2017

September 10th and 24th

October 8th and 22nd

November 12th, (no meeting on TXG weekend)

December 10th and 24th

More sessions will be scheduled in the fall.

Where: In Greenwood at 115 N. 85th St. Suite 202, Seattle 98103. Park in the alley south of the building for entry.

Organizer: Panim Hadashot-New Faces

Contact: Rabbi Dov Gartenberg or text/phone at 206 257-1996

The event is free, but we would appreciate donations. Single sessions $10. To join the NFSC as a regular, we recommend a donation of $50. The NFSC is free to annual subscribers to Panim Hadashot-New Faces.

Nothing in the Jewish Songbook is Alien to Us

Franz Rosenzweig, the Jewish philosopher of the early 20th century, once adopted a famous line from the ancient Roman playwright Terence: “as I am human, nothing human is alien to me.” Rosenzweig gave the challenged his Jewish reader to assert that, as a Jew, “nothing Jewish is alien to me.”

“What Rosenzweig understood is that no one leads a life that is simply “human.” Just as we speak a particular language, not language as such, we live and flourish within particular communities, cultures, and traditions. Rosenzweig’s claim was not that everything Jewish was worthy of celebration, only that it was worthy of understanding, and he suggested that a “Jewish Renaissance” could begin with just these words.” Abraham Socher <>

Last Friday at our Shabbat at Carkeek Park, I was mindful of Rosenzweig’s saying as I introduced our wandering musical service through the woods of the park. I shared that, “Nothing in the Jewish songbook is alien to us.”

I was preparing the participants for different melodies that the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble planned to share during the Kabbalat Shabbat service. “We are not afraid to introduce new melodies or to tap the outer regions of the Jewish music.” We introduce melodies from different Jewish communities and from new composers as a way of letting the prayers speak in new ways. We seek to access different moods that new melodies open up and to provide new/old paths to communicate with or to reflect about God.

Having been a congregational rabbi for many years I learned how easily it is for groups of people to become accustomed and conditioned to hearing the same melodies over and over again. Songs also can anchor us to the regular to the expected. Songs can also help secure a sense of order in this chaotic world. I respect this. But at Panim Hadashot-New Faces, we also want to explore the “new faces” of Jewish music. Some of the songs we introduce will not catch on, but we believe that many will and that they will surprise us with a sense of the incredible richness and renewing character of our singing culture.

One of the issues around music in Judaism is the prohibition on the playing of musical instruments on the Sabbath and Festival. A good summary of the issues is found HERE.   I am a Conservative Rabbi which means that I come from a movement where there are differing opinions on the issue of playing music on Shabbat/Festival. The two Conservative congregations in Seattle have for years held to the prohibition, while experimenting with introducing music adjacent to the beginning and end of Shabbat. I decided many years ago after attending services at Bnei Jeshurun and Romemu in New York and Ikar in Los Angeles that instrumental music, if prepared skillfully and artfully can deepen the experience of Sabbath prayer. But I also felt more strongly that there was so much music at the table which was being lost by the decline in home hospitality. I wanted to introduce music to home Shabbat gatherings and to get us singing again.   I now follow the lenient position in the Conservative movement which permits instrumental music on the Sabbath.

But beyond the halachic ruling lies the issue of how music and song is presented on the Sabbath. This is something that Ari Joshua and I have thought about deeply. Some of these approaches below are drawn from our teacher, Joey Weisenberg. Others are ones we are developing.

  • Bring the Music Back Home: We believe there is too much emphasis on synagogue based music. By encouraging hosts to hold Shabbat gatherings where we can bring our music, we seek to foster intimate settings for community/group Jewish singing and musical creativity.
  • Shabbat Hospitality is Fulfilled by Music and Song:  Providing a place to sing together is one of the greatest acts of hospitality in Jewish tradition.  We seek to encourage this practice in everything we do.
  • It’s the Music, Stupid: What makes Shabbat special is the singing and music that encourages singing. This is one of the greatest Oneg Shabbats-Joys of Shabbat besides my other favorite, Torah Study.
  • Disappearing Musicians: Musicians make music to enable everyone to sing on Shabbat, but their goal is to seem like they are not there.
  • Tradition and Innovation:  We always absorb the sounds, styles, attitudes, and melodies of older generations while offering Jewish music for Shabbat in the created for the present moment.
  • Lingering on a Melody as Shabbat Rest:  On Shabbat we have no need to rush, so we apply the art of “Slow Singing”, learning one melody, really well. This works best at a meal or gathering when people are relaxed.
  • Shabbat and Rhythm:  Explore the possibility that we can unify in time especially on Shabbat.
  • Communal Intention:  Showing what can happen when we come together on purpose, on Shabbat, to create something bigger than the sum of its parts.
  • No Jewish Song is Alien to Us: We want to show to all who we share Shabbat with, that the treasure house of Jewish music is huge, with so much that is undiscovered.

Nothing from the Jewish Songbook is Alien To Us.

A Description of an Emerging Community: Panim Hadashot-New Faces

Dear Readers,

I invite your comments about this synopsis, especially those who have experienced our gatherings over the past 6 months.  RDG

Panim Hadashot-New Faces

A Synopsis of Our Emerging Community

Version 1.7

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.’  Our name Panim Hadashot-new faces goes back to the Talmud which describes a custom of inviting new faces beyond the family circle to share in the joy of a newly married couple. 

We understand Jewish Hospitality to mean.

1.       Following and conserving an important Jewish tradition going back to the Bible as demonstrated in chapter 18 of Genesis

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 “new faces”, as distinctive joyful experiences in which hospitality, is one of the most 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 discuss common concerns.

7.       Mastering Jewish Hospitality practices, attitudes, and behaviors that can be repeated on a regular basis throughout one’s lifetime. 

8.       Expressing a concrete commitment to pluralism, tolerance, diversity, and a generosity of spirt through the active 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.  As we remind ourselves, “It’s the music, stupid”.   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 developed 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 see 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.  Our community is composed of young and old, singles and families. 

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 practice. 

We are led by Rabbi, Dov Gartenberg, who is a convener, master teacher, and a passionate pluralist.




Seder of Song at Hillel UW First Night Seder, Mon. April 10th

Seder of Song, a Seder that will leave you singing all of Passover. Join our ensemble, The Heart of Shabbat for first Seder on Monday, 4/10.

Seder of Song, Led by Rabbi Dov Gartenberg and the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble of Panim Hadashot – New Faces. Ensemble Members: Ari Joshua, Rebekka Goldsmith
The Seder of Song will feature live music from the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble of Panim Hadashot-New Faces.  Not only will we sing Seder favorites from Mah Nishtanah to Had Gadya but we will also include protest songs and versions of Passover songs from around the world.  The last half an hour of the Seder will culminate in a stirring medley of songs to end the evening on an emotional and spiritual high.

6:00-6:30 Doors Open at UW Hillel

6:30-8:00  Core seder with a mix of beloved rituals, sources for table discussion, and song. 

8:00-9:00 Delicious Kosher for Passover feast

9:00-9:30 An Amazing Passover and Protest Song Medley to Culminate the Seder 

To register for the seder and to get information about prices and parking please go to this link to the UW Hillel.  All registration for the Seder of Song must go through UW Hillel. 

The Seder of Song is a Collaboration of Hillel UW and Panim Hadashot-New Faces

Seattle Shabbat and Erev Purim Tish

Seattle Shabbat and Erev Purim Tish: Singing so fun it will come out of your ears.

Panim Hadashot’s Monthly Community Musical Shabbat Happening with the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble.

Friday, March 10, 2017

6:30 Relax and get settled: Wine and Cheese

7:00-7:45 Kabbalat Shabbat

7:45- A Shabbat Dinner/Erev Purim Tish

Where: Works Progress, 115 N 85th St Suite 202, Seattle, WA 98103

Cost: Free, but you need to bring a dish.

“In the month of Adar, increase joy.”

Join us on Friday March 10, 2017 for our Seattle Shabbat Tish, an evening of Shabbat celebration with lots of music, singing, great food, storytelling, conversation, and new faces. There is nothing like a Shabbat Tish.  Tish (meaning table in Yiddish)  is a meal accompanied by live music and singing.

Our shared feast will be: Fish/Vegetarian:  Each Household is asked to bring one of two dishes.  An entrée for 6, a side/salad for 6, or a dessert for 6.  If you don’t have time to cook, contact us by texting 206 739-9924 or email  and we will give you something  easier to bring. Panim Hadashot will provide drinks including wine, and challot.

Please let us know you are coming by sending an email to