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Testimonials from Hosts about Panim Hadashot-New Faces Musical Home Shabbat Experiences

Rabbi Gartenberg and Panim Hadashot offered a lovely, warm, musical Shabbat in our home. The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble not only played wonderfully but also engaged and encouraged the adolescent kids in their musical interests. Panim Hadashot understands how music can break down the barriers between us and let us feel the deep connections where God resides.

Mark Igra and Nancy Simon, Queen Anne


Recently, Rob and I have had the pleasure of hosting a Panim Hadashot Shabbat Dinner with Rabbi Dov and the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble.  We thought the music component added a wonderful depth to our experience of Shabbat aside from being fun and lovely.  All our guests enjoyed the talents of the musicians and joining along in the singing.  Being a Shabbat Hosting Partner with Panim Hadashot-New Faces is a good way of trying something new for Shabbat.

Rob and Kathleen Spitzer, Mercer Island


Panim Hadashot-New Faces worked with my community when I hosted a Shabbat dinner for Eitz Or members at my home in West Seattle.   We had an inspiring message on the importance of hospitality over the High Holidays.  The Shabbat Hosting Partnership with Panim Hadashot was a concrete way to practice it.   The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble presented a Neo-Hasidic Tish, a Shabbat meal punctuated by rousing Jewish melody medleys that made us all want to sing.  People loved the singing and the skill of the ensemble, and the teachings of Rabbi Gartenberg.

Joe King, West Seattle


Barbara and I and the friends we invited to share a Se’udah Shleesheet (third Shabbat meal) and Havdalah experienced a joyous and unique evening.    As soon as the music began I felt a change in my own consciousness.  A meditative and reflective space was created by the music and teaching.  This was participatory and geared to our needs. Dov discussed beforehand with Barbara and I what we wanted in terms of the discussion and the evening in general.  The Shabbat third meal and teaching followed the initial singing.  After more very energetic singing, including a short and raucous version of the Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals), followed by Havdalah everyone lingered and talked and snacked.  We did not want the evening to end.   The evening combined friendship, singing, learning, joy, and seeing “new faces.”   We look forward to participating and hosting another Panim Hadashot evening.  Thank you Dov.

Joel and Barbara Konikow, Mercer Island


We were excited but curious to see what it would mean to be Panim Hadashot-New Faces Shabbat Hosting Partners. We knew Panim and Rabbi Dov, but we didn’t know exactly how things would go. We cleaned up the house and put out some food and waited to see what would happen. Dov and the Panim crew brought an energy and a spirituality into our home that was educational, easy, and fun. We didn’t know all the songs. That was ok. We learned many of them. We didn’t know exactly what the order of the evening would be. That was ok. Dov led, but things remained flexible. We hosted Havdalah (the close of Shabbat) and by the end of our evening we were smelling the “b’samim”(spices) and dousing the Havdalah candle in wine out on our front porch, singing songs under the Seattle stars. The voices filled the neighborhood. I think the evening wasn’t just special for us, but for anyone who might have walked by. Hosting Panim Hadashot is a small commitment with potential for a very rewarding experience.

Hillel and Shelby Cooperman, Madronna

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Havdallah gathering I hosted with Panim Hadashot and the PAVE Single Parents Network at my home in Shoreline. The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble provided kid-friendly music that both the parents and kids enjoyed and participated in. Rabbi Dov led us in a nice service and topped it off with his famous “flaming Havdallah”, which I definitely recommend to anyone hosting a Havdallah with Panim Hadashot! ;-)”

Alison Miller, Shoreline

“Panim Hadashot is a unique organization that fills a niche for unaffiliated and/or music-loving Jews in the Seattle community. Rabbi Dov and the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble provide a warm, welcoming, musical environment that includes both original Jewish rituals and songs drawn from a variety of musical traditions. I especially appreciate Panim Hadashot’s emphasis on home hospitality for Shabbat and Havdallah, and I feel that their home-hosted events really help to combat the Seattle anti-social freeze!”

Shoshana Billik, Seattle