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Saturday Shabbat

“The seventh day [Shabbat] is a palace in time which we build. It is made of soul, of joy, and reticence.” –Abraham Joshua Heschel

The SAJ community comes together to build a place in time, in which all are welcomed to learn, pray, seek peace, question, reflect, wrestle, shmooze, eat, and connect. Whether you come to speak to God or whether you come to speak to your friend who comes to speak to God, join our community as we create a space for soul, joy, and reticence. Here is what you might find on a typical Shabbat morning:

Shabbat Services

Saturdays, 10:00am-12:30pm

SAJ’s services aim to help people move from their personal concerns or worries about the world to a place of praise, gratitude and joy. This does not mean that we forget about the world. In fact, our services are grounded in our struggles and hopes for ourselves and our world. Yet we utilize our time together to refuel our souls and spirits so that we have the energy to confront our lives and our world with the fullness of our being. Whether you are a beginner or know the prayerbook backwards and forwards, join us as we seek to transform loneliness to connection, anxiety to freedom, and despair to hope.

SAJ’s services combine traditional Hebrew liturgy with kavannot (inspirations) from our rabbi. Cantor Lisa brings in a blend of traditional and contemporary melodies, most often sung by the entire congregation. We use the Reconstructionist prayerbook Kol HaNeshama, which includes beautiful poetry and notes in the margin for inspiration. SAJ is proud to be the first congregation in the country to feature the “Open Microphone,” a time after hearing a drash (reflection on the torah portion) for davenners (prayer-ers) to add to the wisdom and discernment of the torah portion with their responses and reflections.

Cantor's Singing Circle

Oct 14, Nov 11, and Dec 2, 2023; Jan 13, Mar 2, and Mar 30, 2024, starting at 12:45pm

Our new monthly Cantor‘s Singing Circle meets on Shabbat after Kiddush! We dive deeper into common congregational Shabbat melodies and expand them with harmonies and ruach (spirit), as well as learn some newer melodies. All who love to sing are welcome!

Community Shir (Sing-a-long)

Once a month, check the calendar

Imagine a sanctuary filled to the brim, with children of all ages, including babies and toddlers, and grown ups of all ages singing, dancing and clapping to favorite Jewish melodies. The energy and joy in the room when SAJ holds our monthly Community Shir (sing-a-long) is palpable. This is what true intergenerational Jewish community looks like.

Full Community Kiddush Lunch

Saturdays, 12:30pm

Jewish mystical ancestors taught that eating is a holy act–and is it ever at SAJ! At Kiddush, our entire congregational community comes together: service attendees, Makom students, Pela families, members who might skip the services and stay for the nosh.

Community Learning

Saturdays, 1:15pm, about twice a month – check the calendar for details

At least once a month, there will be an opportunity to engage with a speaker, topic, music performance or text study. Examples include Nigguning Workshops (wordless melodies); a speaker from Women Wage Peace, an organization fighting for peace in Israel/Palestine; Five Wishes: Considering End of Life Care and Directives; a music performance and talk about Leonard Cohen and Jewish identity. Additionally, Makom Families up till 6th grade have a once per month Makom Shabbaton program. To learn more, visit the Learn page.

Tish (“Table”)

Saturdays, 9am-9:45am

A long-standing and beloved tradition at SAJ, the Tish is congregant-led learning on a broad range of issues in Jewish history, texts, and practice. SAJ members bring their wit and wisdom, educating and challenging congregants with topics like “Torah, Talmud, and Our Obligations to Prisoners Seeking Reentry,” “The Ludmirer Moyd (1805-1888): A Rebbe Ahead of Her Time,” “From the Silk Road to the 20th Century: A Brief History of Jewish-Chinese Relations,” and “Creating a Reconstructionist Practice of the Morning Blessings.”

Tish co-organizers, Shel Schiffman or Dan Woods (tish@saj.nyc), are happy to talk to you about the tish schedule or about your leading a tish.

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