The current issue of Reform Judaism carries an article by Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro of Sinai Temple in Springfield, MA which describes the “God survey” he distributed to his congregation. The article is worth reading because it reflects what many of us already know….that liberal congregations like his (and ours) are communities of people holding an impressive variety of understandings of God and how the concept of God is manifest in their lives.
One particular response, to the question, “When do you feel close to God?”, stood out for me. A respondent spoke of singing as a vehicle that delivers her into an experience of closeness with the divine. I can easily relate to that sentiment. I rarely feel more uplifted, more transcendent, than when I am singing. And how fortunate I am that I get to sing as part of my work!
Several years ago, our member Dr. Wendy Nelson, who was then Chair of our Religious Living Committee, wrote these words:
“Music and prayer both create transcendent experiences; both touch our souls at the core. The themes of our liturgy–love, peace, honor, praise, community and celebration–are expressed commonly in music and never more frequently than in the songs of the nineteen-sixties and seventies. Baby Boomer musicians like James Taylor, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and so many others embraced these themes in many of their songs. Our prayers can be heard and sung using selections from their timeless poetry and melodies. These tunes, lodged permanently in the deepest recesses of our memories evoke a sweet nostalgia and provide a way to experience the meaning of our liturgy in ways you have never imagined.”
Wendy wrote those words to introduce our very first “Boomer Shabbat (Not for Boomers Only!)” in 2009. We held another in 2010 and took a hiatus last year, but now Boomer Shabbat is back by popular demand!
Join us for a Boomer Shabbat experience where we will sing together songs which speak to your heart, live in your heart and which you know by heart. This completely unique Shabbat experience will be on Friday, July 27 at 7:30 P.M. in the Meeting House. Guest musicians will augment our sound that evening.
Slip into your softest blue jeans if you like, dig out your love beads, dab a drop of patchouli oil behind your ears and prepare for the service to run just a little bit longer than usual. Please bring your family and your friends of any faith and every age and hear the words we pray at Shabbat in a way you will always remember.