Congregation Anshei Sfard introduced a Friday Night Live program, which it views as a major success.
Kabbalat Shabbat service, held on Friday nights, is based on a Kabbalistic tradition that began approximately 400 years ago in Safed, Israel. The service lends itself to song and joyful participation and its goal is to allow the holiness of the Sabbath to be felt by the congregation.
Rabbi Avrohom Litvin challenged his congregation to try to connect to that sense of holiness. He blended a traditional Friday night service with an upbeat Israeli style song and prayer experience. An instructional, step-by-step introduction to the service made it more meaningful for regulars, newcomers and those who may not have much background or familiarity with these prayers.
The response was overwhelming, Rabbi Litvin reported, and many people from across the Louisville Jewish community attended.
There seemed to be something in the service for everyone, he explained. Some appreciated the charge given to the women to bring the light of G-d into the world as they lit the Sabbath candles. Others appreciated the step-by-step process the Rabbi shared helping them to feel G-d and to connect to His Holiness, and then to maintain that sense of Holiness within. Others appreciated the transliterated songs so they could sing along in Hebrew with the cantor.
The point of the evening was to impart to the participants that praying in a synagogue equates to entering G-d’s home where He is most available and reachable. The prayers became real as each person seemed to talk to directly to a Spirit of G-d hovering within the Sanctuary, the Rabbi observed.
The program was followed by a Kiddush with wine and hors d’oeuvres. The next Friday Night Live programs will take place on August 3 and September 7 at 7:15 p.m. at Anshei Sfard. The entire community is invited to attend.