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Network: How Do We Make Shabbat Liturgy Come Alive? (2016-17)

How Do We Make Shabbat Liturgy Come Alive?

Facilitated by Rabbi Margot Stein, Liturgical Specialist at RRC

For service leaders and congregational members who want to incorporate more music into their spiritual practice

Thursdays 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. EST – Jan. 12, Jan. 26 & Feb. 9

Using examples from Reconstructionist composers, we will explore how the music of Shabbat is related to the spirit and energy of each time of day: Kabbalat Shabbat, a space emphasizing letting go of the week and entering sacred time; Shacharit, the morning prayers that help us deepen into spiritual renewal; and Havdalah, a time of drawing close and transitioning to the rest of the week. Your experiences, questions and curiosity will help shape this interactive network.


A note for network members: For access to the full set of music referred to in these sessions, you can request an account and password from your facilitator. Once you’re logged in with those credentials, the private page can be accessed here. 
Kabbalat Shabbat:
Misc. Liturgy:
Nava Tehila links:
Congregation Bet Haverim links:
  • Dodi Li.mp3 by Yofiyah, with additional harmonies by Bet Haverim of Atlanta
By Rabbi Shefa Gold:
By Hannah Spiro:
  • Lecha Dodi
  • Mah Gadlu
  • Ma’ariv Aravim
  • Mi Chamocha
  • It Is Upon Us
  • Elohai Neshama
  • Nishmat Kol Chai
  • Simi Shalom
  • Oseh Shalom (A Pease of Mind)
  • Elohai N’tzor (Temptation)
  • Emt v’Emunah (Head Over Heels)
  • Eilu D’varim (Without Measure)
  • Spinning (Adon Olam)
Recommended Books:
“Chant is a path for all of us who lead with our hearts, who are determined to seek out the truth that is buried deep beneath the ground of our lives, and who have made a commitment to live that truth, from moment to moment, breath to breath, ‘one little bit at a time.’ (from the Introduction)
“Chant is a meditative practice that fully engages the body, heart and mind, and facilitates healing and expansion of consciousness. Rabbi Shefa Gold … introduces you to this transformative spiritual practice as a way to unlock the power of sacred texts and take prayer and meditation into the delight of your life. She illuminates the usefulness, benefits and blessings of chant by:
  • Teaching you the theory and foundations of chant—its relation to beauty, pleasure and the deep wisdom buried in sacred texts
  • Providing—for the first time—complete musical notations for many of her popular chants and practical instruction for how to use them to cultivate self-awareness and love.”
 “Comins brings to the table a collection of some of today’s most interesting Rabbis, Cantors, daveners and meditators, who share their experience with prayer. While the book touches upon theology, its real concern is the phenomenology of prayer: how does it work? How does it transform the pray-er? What various techniques and methods of prayer can I learn from people who are further along their prayer journey than I am?”
(from a review by Dan Liben, Natick, MA, on Amazon.com)
“What does a particular liturgical song mean in a community, and in an individual heart? What is your personal story of connection to music, song, chanting, and spiritual lyrics? How does music change a life or bring back memories of a time of transformation? How are new songs, lyrics and music birthed in the Jewish community? …
“Forty plus authors open their hearts to you and share the ways in which music, song, prayer and Judaism have touched each of them. They come to you from diverse backgrounds … Each section is a prompt for individual and communal soul searching. It will provide you, your book group or spiritual community with the tools to pray more joyfully and intentionally.”
“Building Singing Communities is an easy-to-read, how-to guide to making music a lasting and joy-filled force in shul and Jewish life. In this short book, author, musician, and educator Joey Weisenberg presents us with a veritable treasure house of musical opportunities…
“Building Singing Communities is for the experienced musician and the musical layman alike. Its pages are full of practical guidance and heartfelt inspiration … Pick it up when you need advice for leading a class … for inspiration about how to make your shul a more song-filled place—or even for what to sing at your Shabbos table.”
“Reb Zalman, one of the most important Jewish spiritual teachers in contemporary American Judaism, offers new ways to pray, new channels for communicating with God and new opportunities to open your heart to God’s response. With warmth and authenticity, Reb Zalman shows you:
  • How prayer can engage not just spirit, but mind, heart and body
  • Meditations that open the door to kavanah, the focus or intention with which we pray
  • How to understand the underlying “deep structure” of our prayer services
  • How to find and feel at home in a synagogue
  • How to sing and lead niggunim, the simple, wordless tunes that Jews sing to get closer to God and more