Thursday, September 15, 2016
Dear friends of Panim Hadashot,
This is my first communication since the beginning of the summer. We have taken the summer off to review our direction and to continue to build up the ensemble which we began at this time last year. Let me share with you a short history of Panim Hadashot and our plans going forward.
I started Panim Hadashot in 2004 after I left the Congregation Beth Shalom. Panim Hadashot was conceived as a new Jewish model, using my rabbinic support and presence for hosts sharing Shabbat in their homes and reaching out to involve Jews disconnected from organized Jewish life. One person observed that I was the Rabbi who made Shabbat house calls. I was promoting through my presence and teaching the practice of Jewish hospitality as our name, Panim Hadashot-New Faces, suggests. Our Shabbat around Seattle program won several awards and connected me to hundreds of hosts and guests in homes and common spaces all around the Seattle area.
When I moved from Seattle in 2007, I continued to develop the model within a congregational framework and then in Juneau, Alaska as a way to reach out to the "hidden Jews" who had found their way to the last frontier.
Last year, I returned with my wife to Seattle and reestablished Panim Hadashot. Over the past year we started doing instrumental Kabbalat Shabbat services to enhance the spiritual experience of the Sabbath while experimenting in different venues and formats. The Kabbalat Shabbat service we have fashioned is beautiful. I hope you have a chance to experience it. But I became convinced over the summer that Panim Hadashot had to return to our original vision of Jewish home hospitality.
Starting with Sukkot in mid October, 2016, Panim Hadashot will resume an emphasis of collaborating with hosts all around Seattle to create enriching Shabbat experiences in people's homes and shared spaces. Our ensemble which we have named "The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble" will be portable, joining hosts to create both a beautiful musical Shabbat experience and rich conversation on Torah and Jewish topics. Through this we will strive to foster a love of Jewish hospitality-sharing our homes with "New Faces" to fulfill the aim of Shabbat to rest, renew, and find joy.
So look for a number of changes on our website at panimhadashot.org which is undergoing significant revisions and should be completed before the end of the month.
First, we decided not to offer High Holiday services this year. We want to stay focused on our Jewish home hospitality efforts. We support the local synagogues which offer a variety of approaches to the festivals.
Second, we are actively recruiting hosts. If you are interested read the hosting information on the website at panimhadashot.org or contact me directly at the contacts listed below.
Third, we are setting up a unique model of connecting hosts, guests, and people who are interested in our model of Jewish community. You will be able to become a "subscriber" to Panim Hadashot to be kept aware of upcoming Shabbat celebrations and other activities. We will let you know more about this when it has been set up.
Please check the calendar listing on our website for upcoming Shabbat celebrations. We will have a Shabbat celebration at the SJCC in Mercer Island on Friday, 9/30.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (please use this email instead of email@example.com)