For millennia, Jews have observed the period from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown as a day of rest, renewal and reflection on matters of the heart and Spirit. When our civilization continuously focuses our attention outwardly—relentlessly inviting us to keep ourselves busy and unendingly distracted, always preoccupied with materialistic pursuits—celebrating Shabbat is a countercultural and almost subversive practice that is meant to turn us inward and remind us that we are multi-faceted beings with a deep spiritual side that needs our time and attention just as much. And what better way to reconnect with the inner dimension of our self than to engage in a meaningful Jewish meditative practice? Studies continue to show that slowing down, practicing mindfulness, and integrating a spiritual practice as an essential part of our lives re-invigorate, rejuvenate, and bring people physical and mental health benefits. Such is the invitation of our Shabbat services.
Our community gathers to celebrate welcoming Shabbat together on the first and third Friday evenings of each month, continuing on the Saturday mornings that follow. See below.
At a Bet Alef Friday night Shabbat Service, we…
- Light the candles as an invitation to honor the light in our lives and in others
- Use the traditional liturgy as a foundation to explore our spiritual journey
- Chant, meditate and sing to unlock the deeply personal meaning of the prayers and allow them to resonate more fully through our Being
- Explore the weekly Torah portion using a Kabbalistic interpretation
- Allow music to take us deeper and joyfully re-energize us
- Draw strength, hope, and humor from others in our community
All in all, a joyous process that enables us to become more present to our lives, families and friends.
1st Shabbat Saturday* Morning Torah Study
The Torah is not just an ancient document or scroll, but a vital source of meaning, purpose and guidance. As a great Talmudic sage in Pirkei Avot (First Principles) once said about Torah “Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it for nothing is better than it.” [Avot, 5]
Each week, in Jewish tradition, we read a specific Torah portion in accordance with the cycle of the Jewish Calendar. At our Bet Alef Torah Study, Rabbi Olivier leads us through a meditative and reflective study of that week’s Parashah (or selected reading).
* Please note that because Shabbat runs from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the 1st Shabbat Saturday may sometimes fall on the 2nd Saturday of the month. Please check the calendar to ensure that services are happening on the date that you are planning to attend.
3rd Shabbat Saturday* Morning Torah Service
Join Rabbi Olivier and musician Chava Mirel for a joyous and delightful Shabbat morning service of songs and prayerful melodies, meditation and Torah conversations. Our members take turn chanting the verses of the weekly Parashah while others are given the special honor and opportunity of an Aliyah – a calling up to the Torah.
Seattle-based Chava Mirel is a singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist who combines rich, luxurious vocals with deep pocket rhythms to bring a new sound to Jewish music. With themes of gratitude, self-acceptance, balance and responsibility for each other, Chava’s songs bring comfort and uplift the spirit.
* Please note that because Shabbat runs from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, the 3rd Shabbat Saturday may sometimes fall on the 4th Saturday of the month. Please check the calendar to ensure that services are happening on the date that you are planning to attend.
1st Shabbat Saturdays* of the month, 10:30 AM
The Torah is not just an ancient document or scroll, but a vital source of meaning, purpose and guidance. As a great Talmudic sage in Pirkei Avot (First Principles) once said about Torah, “Turn it and turn it again, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it for nothing is better than it.” [Avot, 5].
Each week, Rabbi Olivier adventures deeper into the Torah portion for the week. Building on his Torah Reflections and energized by the dynamic energy of a group study, these Saturday mornings provide a sweet time for mindfulness and the development of greater wisdom from these sacred texts.
* please note that the first Shabbat Saturday may be the second literal Saturday of the month, as Shabbat begins at sundown on a Friday evening. Please check our calendar to ensure that Torah Study is happening on the morning you wish to attend.