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August 21, 2014 | 25th Av 5774
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The Shabbat Initiative

Embracing Shabbat in Your Congregation

Studying on Shabbat

  • What would and could a contemporary Reform Shabbat practice be like?
  • How can we reshape our members' perceptions about Shabbat?
  • What kinds of institutional and communal supports are needed for us to provide our congregants with the knowledge and means to observe Shabbat fully, meaningfully and joyfully?
  • How can we create and develop a strong communal Shabbat observance that is a true partnership between lay leaders and synagogue professionals?

The materials presented here have been developed to guide your congregation through a process of communal study about, reflection on and experimentation with Shabbat observance.

Download Embracing Shabbat
  • Reading Assignments for Lil'mod Shabbat--To Study Shabbat
    Assignments for pre-session reading for Lil'mod Shabbat. Sessions 5 and 6 are especially for the Shabbat Morning Task Force.
  • Embracing Shabbat - Full Program
    Download the complete 138-page program.
  • Shabbat Resources
    A full list of publications and websites for guiding you in creating a Shabbat observance.
  • Shabbat Initiative Chavurah Program
    Participants are guided in a program of Shabbat immersion, studying about Shabbat and actively observing it alongside a small group of fellow congregants, with support given by the synagogue and the Union.
  • Shabbat Morning Task Force: A How-to Guide and Program
    Part of the Union's Shabbat Initiative, this is a detailed, step-by-step guide to setting up your congregation’s Shabbat Morning Task Force. Each Task Force’s purpose is to recommend to its own congregation and our Movement how Shabbat morning worship might be reimagined and enhanced.
  • Shabbat Initiative Board Workshops
    Responsibility for congregational worship and ritual observance should be guided by a strong clergy-lay partnership because providing for and sustaining Jewish life is at the core of every congregation’s responsibilities to its members. These workshops are the venue in which your congregation should begin its work on the Shabbat Initiative.
  • Lil'mod Shabbat - To Study Shabbat
    Six study sessions that may be used separately or together in a variety of ways: as the study component for the Shabbat Shachrit Task Force, with the Shabbat Initiative Chavurah Program, as a congregational adult study program, or as part of a course of personal learning.
The Shabbat Initiative

Excerpted from Rabbi Yoffie's Biennial sermon, December 15, 2007

"There is a magical quality to Shabbat at Biennial. When we ask our delegates what was their most powerful experience during their five days here, the great majority say “Shabbat.” We treasure these twenty-four hours together, because, for once, we celebrate Shabbat as it is meant to be—a respite from errand running and clattering commerce, a day when we pay attention to the holy and the pull of Jewish time." Read more.

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