Music and Prayer in the Sanctuary

Saturday, July 9, 2016 at 9:45 a.m.

Kol Shofar Community:

We had our second Musical Shabbat morning service in the Beit Knesset on July 9 at 9:45 a.m. We are continuing to experiment with music and melodies as we gather as a community to pray together at the end of the week.

For those who are regulars on Shabbat mornings, you may be asking, “Don’t Shabbat morning services usually begin at 9:15 at Kol Shofar?” The answer is “Yes, they do.” But not on July 9th! This was a day for us to experiment with various parts of our service as we increase musical participation in our prayer experience. So folks could sleep in a bit and joined us from 9:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for a music-filled and slightly shortly service than usual. If it is your custom to arrive at shul later than 10:00 a.m., plan to come a bit earlier on this Shabbat so that you can experience the fullness of the musical service.

How was this service different?

  • The service was led by Rabbis Leider and Levy. Congregants read from the Torah and chanted Haftarah.
  • We welcomed drummer Jan Padover who helped us bring energy to our prayer and to encourage the entire community to participate.
  • We invited those who liked an extended Psukei d’Zimra to come early and enjoy the serene space of the Beit Knesset for their personal prayers. The introductory part of the communal service, known as P’sukei d-Zimra, a selection of opening psalms, was shorter than usual, and allowed more time for communal singing elsewhere in the service.
  • The Shaharit Amidah, the standing prayer that is a part of the morning service, was shortened by doing what is known as Hekhi Kedushah.
    We hoped that the later start time energized more people to be present from the start of the service.
  • This was a wonderful opportunity for a unique one-time experiment with these different aspects of prayer in our community. And, we looked forward to hearing from you, following the service, when we gathered your feedback via a congregational survey in Kolnections. By experimenting in this way, it allows our community to draw upon new experiences, reflect on them and learn from them.

Prayer: El Adon
We used this beautiful Sephardic melody

Prayer: Ein Kamokha

Prayer: Torah Processional, beginning with Shma

Prayer: L’dor v’dor

Prayer: Ein Keloheinu

Prayer: Hallelujah

Prayer: Hashevota

Click here and select Track 10

All song selections were graciously provided by the following artists for distribution to our congregation and community:

A Taste of Mishkan | Music for an Inspired Year

Ikar | Barukh HaMakom | Songs of Shabbat Morning
Copyright 2009

Judeo | Judeo
Copyright 2012

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jewish tradition teaches that if we open our hearts just a little bit, that God and those around us open it the rest of the way. Music is a “heart-opener.” Music takes us beyond words. Psalm 150 says to praise God with the sound of the drum, with our entire being.

From our moving Musical Meditation High Holy Day services, to Kol Neshama Minyan, to our musical Friday night service with Achi Ben Shalom, we know the transformative power of music.

On March 5, 2016, we open our hearts and welcome Achi Ben Shalom and Katja Cooper to the Beit Knesset (sanctuary) for a musical service led by both of our rabbis together. Here’s how you can participate:

  1. Join us on Mar. 5 at 9:15 a.m.
  2. Listen to new melodies we will integrate into our March 5 service: View them below!
  3. Join Rabbi Leider on Sat, Feb. 27 at 1:15 p.m. following Shabbat services and Kiddush lunch to learn some of these new melodies together in community
  4. Share feedback with us. Following the service, we ask that participants complete a brief survey that will be included in the Mar. 7 Kolnections email. Simply click on that link and take two minutes to share your thoughts with us.
  5. On Mar. 5, we also welcome master storyteller Dr. Howard Schwartz to the bimah who will share with us, “Heavenly Journeys,” an inspiring drash on ascending to heaven through the eyes of tradition at apporximately 11:00 a.m. Earlier during the day, he’ll also join our Yom Kehillah Community Shabbat, which begins with a bagel nosh at 8:30 a.m. and continues with Kol Shabbat: Family Shabbat Experience (Ages 0-5) at 9:30 a.m.

Spiritual communities across the country integrate music into prayer in a way that creates not a performance, but sweeps people into a moving spiritual experience. Communities like IKAR in Los Angeles, B’nei Jeshurun and Romemu in New York, and Nava Tehila in Jerusalem are leading the way in opening hearts. We look forward to sharing this morning with you. Transform with us, open your hearts and see what possibilities arise!


Larry Yermack                   Rabbi Leider            Rabbi Levy
Ritual Committee Chair