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INTO THE NIGHT: Spotlight on The Art of Jewish Chanting

Downtown Jewish Life

May 3, 2018

We are getting closer to INTO THE NIGHT, the 14th Street Y’s contemporary spin on Tikkun Leil Shavuot.  

In the weeks leading up to this inspirational night-long celebration taking place on Saturday, May 19, we are highlighting a few of the spiritual, educational, and artistic events offered by more than 20 community partner organizations.

Last week, we gave you a preview of the The Genesis Plays, an interactive theater experience staged by the In[HEIR]itance Project. Today, under the theme of “Soulfood: More Soul than Food,” we are excited to highlight one of our more popular events of the night, run by Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder of the Shul of New York: The Art of Jewish Chanting, a participatory session featuring English and Hebrew chanting, drumming, and guided meditation.

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Each chant has kavannot (intentions) to help guide you along your spiritual journey through bamidbar (the wilderness) to receive the wisdom of the Torah. Through the art of chanting, Rabbi Eva seeks to connect our journey through the “wilderness” of our lived experiences to our ancestors’ journey through the desert wilderness:

“Our daily lives are filled with so many twists and turns, as only I imagine our ancestors experienced, all too well, on their Exodus journey. On this Tikkun Leil Shavuot, we imagine that we, too, arrive at Sinai to receive the message that will guide our pathway to the Divine and light the way to freedom from our wilderness. The wilderness is that place of our vulnerability, of curiosity, of surprises, of being open to receiving the gifts of Torah. By cultivating awareness … we are better able to open our hearts and listen deeply to the messages of our personal narratives, which I call the Torah of our Heart.”  

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder, The Shul of New York

The Art of Jewish Chanting fits within our theme of “Soulfood: More Soul Than Food” because the practice of Jewish chanting nourishes souls — not just of the individual, but of the entire community coming together to pray and explore spirituality together. All are welcome to join, whether you are seeking a new path towards spiritual fulfillment, or you are just in the mood for a little “soul food.” You do not have to be fluent in Hebrew in order to participate — all chants are presented with a transliteration and translation. The only thing you need to have is an open heart to guide you on your journey.

The 14th Street Y is proud to have the Shul of New York, an emerging home for spiritual Judaism, as a partner for INTO THE NIGHT and other Downtown Jewish Life programming. If you are moved by this event, there may be more opportunities for you to participate in Jewish chanting in the future: “It is our desire to … begin to cultivate a Downtown Jewish Chanting Community in the coming year,” says Rabbi Eva. Keep an eye on Downtown Jewish Life’s Events page to find more opportunities to explore your spirituality with the Shul of New York and our other partner organizations.