Cool off with Shabbat Sababa at Ohev Shalom

 

It's been a long, hot summer so far. But don't let the dog days get you down-there's a chance to cool off. On Friday evening, July 28, at 7:30 p.m., Congregation Ohev Shalom will host Shabbat Sababa, a laid-back Erev Shabbat service with the emphasis on "cool."

"Florida in the summer is the perfect time take it easy," says Rabbi David Kay, who will coordinate the service. "We already declared this month 'No-Tie July.' It's hard to relax and focus on the joy of Shabbat when it's 90 degrees and humid. So, we're dialing back the formality and turning up the chill."

"Sababa" is what Israelis use for "cool" or "great." The Shabbat Sababa Friday night service captures the full range of meaning of the word. Besides the casual atmosphere (and air conditioning), Shabbat Sababa is a chance to get in touch with the spirituality of Shabbat.

"We listened to what people said about services," Rabbi Kay explains. "They want to feel engaged, to participate, to connect with the liturgy and each other."

Hebrew can be a barrier to achieving all that. On the other hand, the traditional language of Jewish prayer is a powerful symbol that transcends space and time. "Hebrew prayer links you to Jews in every generation of our history, and with Jews in our time in every part of the world," Rabbi Kay observes.


Shabbat Sababa will use Siddur Lev Shalem, a recently-published prayer book with a wealth of explanation and commentary, as well as extensive English phonetic transliteration of the Hebrew prayers. The service will also feature a few opportunities to learn a bit about the key prayers, and to ask questions. And then there's the singing.

"The oldest and most inspiring instrument in human history is the voice," Rabbi Kay insists. "You don't need to be a trained singer. When a community, no matter how large or small, raised its voices together, the effect is immediate and inspirational. The whole is much greater than the sum of the parts."

Don't know the melodies? Not to worry-some of those will be taught in the service, too. Rabbi Kay calls it a "value-added Friday night service". "All the elements of the traditional liturgy are there," he says, "plus a few extra that make it more inclusive and comfortable. So feel free to dress casual!"

Congregation Ohev Shalom is at 613 Concourse Parkway South in Maitland, FL. For more information, email RabbiKay@OhevShalom or visit the Ohev Shalom website at http://www.OhevShalom.org.

 

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