What to Expect

Our Evening Shabbat Services

Our Friday Evening Services create an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere as we welcome in Shabbat. There is uplifting music, and also there are many opportunities for meditation and contemplation.

When & Where can I find you?
Meditative Shabbat services are held at 7:30 PM on the first and third Fridays of every month at 1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle (in the Seattle First Baptist Church). Click here for Directions, Parking and Public Transportation Information.
How should I dress?
We encourage you to dress however you’d feel most comfortable, ensuring that you’re able to breathe, sing, pray, and move as you desire throughout the service.

Many of us arrive in “Seattle Casual” – which is a combination of hipster, casual, work, or even flip-flops. While we do not have a strict dress code, we also encourage people to remember that this is, in fact, a spiritual, intentional service, and to show it the respect and honor that it deserves.

We deeply value Jewish traditions, such as prayer shawls and kippot, and invite all of our friends and guests (in our egalitarian community) to honor these traditions with us – if that is something that is meaningful to them as well!

Where do men and women sit in your community?
Bet Alef is not only an egalitarian community, but also an LGBTQIA+ community. This means that we encourage people to sit together, as they feel comfortable. If you’ve come with friends, or know someone at Bet Alef, we always encourage the building of relationships in our community – so maybe sit next to someone you don’t know and strike up a conversation. You never know, they could become your new best friend.
Do I need to know Hebrew?

Absolutely not! Yes, we pray in Hebrew, but our prayers are not only translated, so that you know what you are saying, but also transliterated (spelled out phonetically) so that you can pray along with us, and not feel excluded. We care about you feeling welcome to participate as much as you are comfortable, so we want to make this experience more accessible by providing explanations and better understanding about our Hebrew prayers and traditions. If you have more questions, or are interested in refreshing your Hebrew, please do chat with Rabbi Olivier.

Meditative? Is this Jewish Buddhism?

This is a distinctly Jewish meditative practice. Jews have been practicing meditation for thousands of years – from contemporary Jewish authors all the way back to the Torah & the Prophets, and includes generation after generation of Rabbis in every place and time in which Jews have been dispersed. There are numerous schools of meditative traditions following different Rabbis throughout our history, and we invite you to discover these deeply Jewish practices with us. You also can keep an eye on our calendar for Rabbi Olivier’s classes on Jewish meditation and spirituality or by exploring his CD (did you know that Members get discounted rates on our workshops and classes? Learn more about membership HERE.)

At Bet Alef, we appreciate Jewish ritual as an authentic expression of deep spiritual truths. Through chanting, singing, silence and spiritual teaching we strive to meet that spiritual depth within ourselves. Our intention is to share a worship experience that supports greater spiritual growth in our lives.

I'm not Jewish, does that matter?
Absolutely not. We are an inclusive community, with Universal spiritual teachings and practices. Many of our members were raised in different faith traditions, and we welcome interfaith relationships, partnerships, and participation. Bring your whole self to service, regardless of your spiritual background, and we promise to meet you exactly where you are.
Is there childcare for services?

We offer childcare for $10/family at our Friday evening services. Because we have to staff appropriately, we do request that if possible, families contact the office to let us know that their children will be present. For our High Holy Days, we also offer childcare and programming for our younger cohort. All of the childcare workers are background checked and vetted to ensure the safety of our children. Contact us to register and contribute to childcare expenses at info@betalef.org.

What is an Oneg?
An Oneg is a traditional coffee hour after our services where we gather to chat, to build community, break bread and enjoy delicious treats, sweets, savories & homemade challah from our generous contributors. Please plan to stay after services and do not sneak away without making sure you taste something delicious or connect with the Rabbi or one of our Board Members.
Do I need to bring anything?
Just your own lovely self. We have prayer books and kippot (for those who wish to wear them). Your presence of body and mind is all we ask for.
Is there somewhere I can listen to messages or hear the music before I come?
Yes! You can click on the YouTube link in our header or footer from any of our pages to be brought to our YouTube page. 

Or you can just click HERE.

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