Q: Who can join Shirat HaNefesh?
We are a trans-denominational community that includes Jews by birth, Jews by choice, and Jews from most denominations. Members include traditional and non-traditional families. We also welcome non-Jews who wish to walk a Jewish path by participating in our community. For more information on this topic, read Rabbi Serotta’s Kol Nidre Sermon.
Q: How much does it cost to join?
An annual membership for a household with one adult is $1,000. For a household with two adults the annual membership is $2,000. Children are free. The annual fee includes High Holy Day tickets for the family plus full membership rights.
Q: What does an associate membership provide?
Associate memberships are designed for those who belong to other congregations but also wish to belong to the Shirat HaNefesh community. The $400 annual associate membership dues gives associate members full access to Shirat HaNefesh religious and social activities, excluding High Holy Day services.
Q: Can I get High Holy Day tickets if I don’t want to become a full-time member?
Yes, non-members may obtain High Holy Day tickets. Suggested donations are $200 per person (maximum $500 per family); free for students.
Q: Where and when are services held?
Friday night and Saturday morning services are held at North Chevy Chase Christian Church, 8814 Kensington Parkway, Chevy Chase. (just east of Connecticut Ave, south of 495). Friday night services begin at 7:00 p.m. On Saturday morning we hold Sabbath morning and Torah services 9:00 – 11:30 a.m., with light kiddush and Torah discussion from 11:30 to 12:30.
Q: What siddur do you use?
We have chosen Eit Ratzon (“A time of willing desire”), edited by Dr. Joseph Rosenstein. Eit Ratzon contains the traditional weekday, Shabbat, and Holy Day Hebrew prayers combined with a complete, new, and egalitarian translation and full transliteration of all Hebrew prayers. There are also contemporary poems and readings, explanations of prayers, and suggestions for meditations that help guide the participant on his or her path. The prayerbook is non-denominational and is designed especially for communities that want to draw from both traditional and contemporary spiritual paths.
Q: Why are music and song so important to your services?
We believe that there is a thirst in the American Jewish community for a warmth and joy in worship that can be achieved by combining prayer with music, both vocal and instrumental. We believe a powerful spiritual experience is achieved through services that underscore the music in prayer and the sacred in music.
Q: What does Intergenerational Learning mean?
It means we strive to foster a community where adults and students study together and learn from each other as they explore Torah, other Scripture, Jewish ethics, history and social justice issues affecting the Jewish community and the world.
Q: Does Shirat HaNefesh provide Hebrew and Jewish education for children?
Yes. We provide an organized educational curriculum to help children Grades K-7 to master Hebrew, Jewish customs and history, and prepare for their bar or bat mitzvah. We also offer a continuing education program for post-B’nai Mitzvah students.
Q. When and where are classes held?
We offer a religious school program for grades K-6 on Shabbat mornings, and Hebrew instruction for grades 3-8 that has two parts: weekly individual in-home tutoring via Skype, and group Hebrew enrichment classes on alternate Wednesday evenings at North Chevy Chase Christian Church, 8814 Kensington Parkway, Chevy Chase.
We also offer a new program for grades 7-9 which features twice-monthly meetings on Sundays that will focus on social justice themes, and monthly home-based Shabbat dinner and learning. See http://shirathanefesh.org/education for more information.
Q: Who teaches your students?
Our education program is directed this year by Rain Zohav, an experienced educator and aspiring rabbi. Students are taught by experienced teachers, with assistance from madrichim (guides) and other members of our congregation. In addition, our Rabbi and Cantor are very personally involved in the education of our students, particularly during B’nai Mitzvah preparation.
Q: How are B’nei Mitzvah taught and who does the teaching?
Rabbi Gerry Serotta, Cantor Ramòn Tasat and one of the religious guides (Madrichim) who belong to Shirat HaNefesh will work with your child one on one to master the Torah and Haftarah portions, explore their meaning, and learn to conduct services.
Q Do you offer youth activities after B’nei Mitzvah age?
Yes. In addition to our lifelong learning opportunities, we feature an education program aimed at Grades 7-9. For more details, visit http://shirathanefesh.org/education.
Q: What about opportunities for Torah study, Jewish history, philosophy and ethics?
Shirat HaNefesh encourages regular as well as spontaneous study groups on Jewish history, ethics, politics and other critical issues. Please see our calendar for current offerings.
For more information on our education programs, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Activities and Tikkun Olam
Q: What kinds of activities does Shirat HaNefesh pursue as examples of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and G’milut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness)?
Our Tikkun Olam committee is preparing our 2012-2013 events. Stay tuned for more information!
Q: Where can I find a listing of upcoming activities?
Please visit our calendar for a complete listing of upcoming activities.
Q: Does Shirat Ha Nefesh have a choir?
Shirat HaNefesh is proud to host Kolot Halev, “Voices of the Heart,” a new Jewish community choir led by Cantor Ramòn Tasat, as a choir-in-residence for Shabbat, festivals, and other occasions. Kolot Halev usually joins us on the second Friday night of each month. Changes from this routine are noted on the calendar.
Q: Where can I get more information about joining the choir and finding out where and when it meets for practice?
Contact Cantor Tasat at email@example.com
We hope these FAQs answered your questions. For further information, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org