Jewish Renewal Kabbalat Shabbat

Worship should not be a chore, Worship should not be boring

Worship should not feel like an obligation

Worship should be a celebration, an ecstatic journey,

a story and a song, a spiritual high

Kabbalat Shabbat means the receiving of Shabbat. The implication is that we cannot march ourselves TO the moment of Shabbat -- our best and only hope to is position ourselves to be receptive to its arrival. Divine grace and mercy are like radio waves -- they are everywhere -- all we need to do is tune in the station. Let's put the long week behind us and set our spirits soaring, renewed and full of song! Music, prayer, stories, laughter, friends and a nosh.

See what your zayde’s shul would have been like if they spoke English, played guitar and counted women in the minyan!

The Adventures of Sender the Klopper

In the old country, the klopper went house-to-house through the Jewish shtetl (village), knocking on shutters and calling people to prayer. In this unique one-man show, Maggid Steve Klaper pays homage to his family’s original vocation as he assumes the role of 18th century troubadour-raconteur Sender the Klopper, exploring what it means to be a 21st century spiritual storyteller. Our world is in great need of Yiddishkeit — Jews and Gentiles alike are in need. Sender the Klopper  will take you on an unforgettable journey, where old and new worlds meet like long-lost friends. People of all faiths will be affected by this very personal narrative.   (hour-long evening program)

Doorways, Portals and Cracks in Time

Every faith tradition has its prayers and its rituals, some clear-cut, some mystical. The purpose of these rituals is to open doorways of transformation, to take us to interior spiritual places that we’ve forgotten how to get to, places where time slows down. A prayer is sometimes more than a prayer, a doorway is not always merely a doorway, and we are not always going where we are going for the reasons we think we are. Hazzan-Maggid Steve leads a mystical and illuminating exploration of the mysterious landscape of our souls.

Topics: Sacred time / holy space; Icons, rituals, liturgy and other accessories for altering time; Greek time vs. Hebrew time; Space-time and the Spiritual continuum; Shabbat

Sacred Hospitality

B’tzelem Elohim - in the image of God. The flame that burns within connects us in intimate ways, sometimes allowing recognition of the image of God. More than simply making us responsible for one another, this shared inner light also offers non-intellectual ways of engaging with the sacred. Music moves us along a different pathway; so do nostalgia and remembrance. Experience the effects of a variety of practices, grappling directly with paradox, how ritual bends time, and the quantumly-entangled nature of all our souls.

Topics: Pointe vierge – a brilliant light within; Ubuntu  – I am because you are; Angels and Messengers; Sonic theology; Chant, hymn, nigun and incantation; Quantum entanglement

Peace is the Final Frontier

Shalom – the Hebrew word for peace – is derived from shaleim, the Hebrew word for wholeness or completeness. Shalom is the ultimate and most spiritually perfect gift -- a means of healing, a practice to counteract fear, anger, hatred. Explore how we utilize shalom to make ourselves better people, to serve as angels to one another, to make the world a fuller, more complete plane of existence, exploring the vast and rich tradition of stories, teachings and songs dealing with the emanation of shalom into our world.

Topics: The Four who entered paradise; Jacob’s ladder; Angels and messengers;

Shalom aleichem - peace be unto you;  Breathing peace as meditation and prayer

The three previous programs above can also be structured as interfaith programs when presented with my colleague, Franciscan Friar Br. Al Mascia, OFM. Additionally, we have several programs that can only be described as unique interfaith explorations of spirituality. These include:

Sharing Jesus: A Sacred Exchange

Christian spiritual practice is rooted in, and continues to reflect, deeply Jewish concepts. But it’s not enough to speak of Christianity as arising out of 1st century Judaism, nor even to see Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism as diverse reactions to the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 CE. Whether as the 1st century Jewish reformer and martyr Rabbi Yehoshua, or as the risen Christ come to redeem the world, Jesus is the bridge between two faith traditions -- one that has historically served to separate us, but can now unite us in spiritual exploration.

Martin Buber noted that, “We Jews know Jesus from within, in the impulses of his Jewish being, in a way that remains inaccessible to the peoples submissive to him.” Join us as we explore the life and work of the most most famous Jewish teacher in history, in a way you have never experienced before.

Topics: Jewish Jesus, Jewish Mary, Jewish apostles; Hillel & Jesus, and a path from biblical to rabbinic Judaism; the Essenes, the Desert Fathers and the converso Jesus; Beatitudes and Psalms; Lord’s Prayer and Kaddish; Ana B’koach and Our Lady Undoer of Knots; Shabbat / Lord’s Day

Nature Mysticism: the Other Sacred Scripture

Francis of Assisi, 13th century founder of the Order of Friars Minor, and Israel ben Eliezer, (the Baal Shem Tov), 18th century founder of Hasidism, were nature mystics who believed that divine incarnational light animated all of creation. Their message of love and hope brought comfort to the uneducated masses who had no expectation of achieving an academic understanding of religious mysteries, and yet both of these visionaries laid the foundation for a down-to-earth mysticism that blossomed beyond their lives. The movements they began are among the most potent and vibrant forces in their respective faith traditions to this day. Let’s take a look at these two spiritual brothers, who believed that nothing really exists outside of the light of God and that, if we see with eyes of enchantment, whichever way we look, we see God smiling back at us.

Topics: Incarnational theology; Shechinah / Holy Spirit; Tzimtzum / Kenosis -- the humility of God; Holy foolery; Hasidic stories / Franciscan stories

An Interfaith Havdalah: Re-Discovering the Gift of the Sabbath:

Ushering in Sacred Time

For centuries, our Jewish friends and neighbors have welcomed the Sabbath as a time apart. Now, Brother Al and Maggid Steve conclude the Jewish Shabbat with a traditional Havdalah Service, and then introduce a new ritual of DomeniCandela – a Sunday Candle, a unique ceremony of song and candle-lighting, marking the beginning of sacred time for our Christian sisters and brothers. Each Sunday should be a small Easter -- a special moment of time to mark and reflect upon. Instituting this practice helps us to learn, from the centuries-old Jewish practice of Shabbat, how to keep the Lord’s Day, not the Lord’s Hour. A deep and moving interfaith experience. (hour-long evening program)

Francis: Pope for a Change

Pope Francis, during his brief time as Shepherd of the Roman Catholic Church, has inspired people, of all religious faiths with his message of love, compassion and care for all creation. Like his namesake, the saint of Assisi, Pope Francis focuses on a world infused with divine incarnation, and speaks directly of sacred hospitality and the humility of God in creative and imaginative ways. Join us as we explore the challenging message of this pope, at once a modern nature mystic and a comforter of the lost and forgotten of the earth.

Pastor among the princes; Sacred hospitality; Care of creation in the service of incarnational theology; Our Lady undoer of knots and quantum entanglement; Shabbat -- bringing the sacred into our distracting world     (1-2-hour presentation, or full-day retreat)

An Interfaith Psalm Experience: Taizé with a Twist

As the moon gently smiles upon eventide, so too does the human spirit gently settle as it welcomes the evening. Join Brother Al and Maggid Steve for an interfaith psalm experience as we sing in English, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, Ladino and Hindi. A unique musical, meditative evening of devotional chant, music and stories.

hour-long evening program)

PLUS  A special presentation/discussion for inter-married families

Yours, Mine and Ours: The Interfaithful family

Interfaith families are everywhere in America these days, especially among Jews and Christians. Even if both parents are of one faith, chances are there’s a grandparent or set of aunts, uncles or cousins who identify as something else. Navigating these waters has always been a challenge, but success is still defined by preparation and approach.

Hazzan Steve Klaper and Mary Gilhuly discuss their 30+ year interfaith marriage, raising two children while Mary remained active in her Catholic parish and Steve went on to ordination as a Jewish maggid and cantor.

Spiritual backpacks; how to separate / how to join; you can’t please everyone; what you owe your kids; what you owe your parents; what you owe your tradition; what you owe yourselves (1 or 2 hour presentation and discussion)

Contact us to find out how you can bring the The Jewish Troubadour to your shetl.