What is the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble?
Led by Rabbi Dov Gartenberg and master jazz musician, Ari Joshua, The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble brings musical depth and richness to Shabbat gatherings in homes all around Seattle through our Shabbat Hospitality Partnership Program. Our ensemble was formed for one purpose: to revitalize the tradition of Shabbat Hospitality which included the generation’s old practice of singing around the Sabbath table. We help people sing by bringing a small and talented group of jazz musicians and a singing rabbi to render the Shabbat classics with live music in your home.
Some background about our use of instrumental music on Shabbat
Instrumental music was forbidden to Jews on the Sabbath primarily as an expression of mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70CE. However, a Capella singing on Shabbat, especially table songs and beloved melodies characterized Jewish homes over the generations. Live instrumental music on Shabbat reappeared in Reform and Conservative synagogues in the last century. The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble is unique in our focus that combines outstanding musicianship with group singing to restore the vitality of home and table Sabbath song. Through this music and song we bring “Oneg Shabbat-Sabbath joy” to Shabbat home gatherings all across Seattle.
Why we are not a klezmer or Jewish wedding band.
Our sole focus is playing on the Shabbat and connecting music and song to Shabbat hospitality. We do not accept offers to play at life cycle events or to entertain at concerts. Our goal is to involve everyone in the “oneg” of singing on Shabbat. It says in Kabbalat Shabbat: “Tov Lhodot Ladonai, ulzamer bshimcha gadol.” “It is good to give thanks to Adonai, and to sing to His great Name.” We view Shabbat song as prayer, thanksgiving, and praise. It is our spiritual song tradition. We are wholly dedicated to sharing this vast musical tradition with you.
To read about how the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble can come to your Shabbat celebration, go to Shabbat Hospitality on this website.
Samples of the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble’s music, click HERE
Our approach to Instrumental Music and Jewish Song, click HERE
Leaders of the Ensemble
For a brief bio Click Here
Ari Joshua Zucker is the Music Director of Panim Hadashot-New Faces and the leader of the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble. Ari was born in Cape Town, South Africa and grew up in Seattle where he received his Jewish education at the Seattle Hebrew Academy and Congregation Beth Shalom. Rabbi Gartenberg was Ari’s teacher and officiated at his Bar Mitzvah.
Ari Joshua graduated in 2001 with a degree in Jazz and Contemporary music from The New School in New York City. Since graduating from college Ari has taught literally thousands of music lessons to people of all ages, styles, and skill levels at his music school, The Music Factory. He is respected performer and band member in the Seattle jazz scene.
He has been described as “A uniquely diverse palette, the ability to transcend musical languages, masterful technique and a refreshing sense of artistic urgency make Ari Joshua a compelling young musician.”
Experience, humility, patience, and passion for music make Ari a compelling musician and interpreter of the Jazz and of the Jewish musical tradition.
We engage several musicians and singers to join the Heart of Shabbat Ensemble. Ensemble members vary according to the different formats we use and preferences of our hosts. Below are the names of our ensemble partners who play with us most often.
Matt Sircely, Mandolin
Larry Machlis, Percussion
Daniel Salka, Piano
Tracie Marx, Vocals
Rebekka Goldsmith, Vocals
Craig Judelman, Violin
Tor Dietrickson, Percussion
Hugh Sutton, Accordion
Josh Niehaus, Guitar and Vocals
Chava Mirel, Guitar and Vocals