We are building a community that is spiritually vibrant, radically inclusive, and reflects our vision for a world of justice, equity, and liberation. Be a part of it! Our community is built by and for religious, secular, and atheist Jews, families with kids, partnered and single people, queer and trans people, disabled and chronically ill people, D/deaf and hard of hearing folks, interfaith families, Jews of color and white Jews, and anyone interested in exploring and experiencing Jewish life. To learn more about getting involved and to join as a member, click here. Want to talk to a real human about how to plug in or to answer questions you have about the community? Contact our Membership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what our members and volunteer leaders have to say about being part of NSP:
We return to you and you return to us. הֲדַרַן עַלָךְ וְהֲדַרַך עֲלָן (hadran alakh v’hadrakh alan)
Dear NSP Community,
One year ends and another begins: a cycle completed. When the world may seem scary, unprecedented and uncertain, we return to ritual, radical imagination, and community. We return to self, the Divine, and what sustains and grounds us. We honor and learn from the past as we move toward change and transformation.
The community we have all built together is the true heart of NSP. With that spirit of togetherness, collaboration, and hope for the future, we’re thrilled to announce that registration is now OPEN for the High Holidays. We hope you can join us, in-person or online, as we usher in a new year full of hope, joyful intention, and a renewed commitment to each other and ourselves. ALL are welcome, regardless of NSP membership status or ability to pay.
An important note: August 31st is an ACTUAL DEADLINE, so that we have enough time to prepare for the joyful and momentous task of putting on High Holidays programming for our entire community. Please register now, and make sure your spot is saved before August 31st!
Here’s what to expect from the NSP High Holidays this year.
A note on COVID Safety: While we are thrilled to be gathering together in-person this year, we remain mindful of the continued risk COVID-19 poses to our members and to the wider DC community.
This year we continue to embrace a hybrid approach: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur adult services will be held both in person (indoors) and online. We will also be offering indoor children’s services; outdoor school-age kids’ programming; an outdoor, in-person Tashlich ritual; and outdoor events with our Jews of Color Space. More details provided below about COVID safety & precautions!
High Holiday Services: We are thrilled to welcome back Batya Levine, who will be co-leading the adult services with Rabbi Yosef again this year, in addition to a special Tashlich ritual and shofar service on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
In-person services will be held in an accessible location indoors (with COVID precautions), in the Columbia Heights/Petworth area. Exact locations and accessibility details will be emailed to registrants. Childcare will be provided for all adult services. Registration will close on August 31!
Friday, Sept 15 Jews of Color & Multiracial Families Rosh Hashanah Dinner & Seder | In person (outdoors)
Saturday, Sept 16 Adult Morning Service & Kiddush | In person (indoors) or online Children’s Morning Service (Ages 1-5) | In person (indoors) School-Age Kids’ Afternoon Program (K-3rd Grade/ 4-7th Grade) | In person (outdoors)
Sunday, Sept 17 Jews of Color & Multiracial Families Seudah/Luncheon | In person (outdoors) Afternoon Shofar Service & Tashlich (Casting Away Ritual) | In person (outdoors; bring your own picnic!)
Sunday, Sept 24: Kapparot (Community Support Ritual) | In person (outdoors) Kol Nidre (Yom Kippur Evening) Service | In person (indoors) or online
Monday, Sept 25: Adult Morning Service | In person (indoors) or online Children’s Morning Service (Ages 1-5) | In person (indoors) Yom Kippur Learning Spaces and Quiet Spaces | In person (indoors or outdoors) School-Age Kids’ Afternoon Program (K-3rd Grade/4th-7th Grade) | In person (outdoors) Ne’ilah (Closing) Service | In person (indoors) or onlineBreak-fast | In person (outdoors)
NSP High Holiday programs are free of charge to be as financially accessible as possible. We ask those who are able to support our programs by making a sliding scale donation when reserving your High Holidays ticket. NSP is a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization, and your support allows us to continue to serve our community and keep our services open and affordable to all.
We also need and appreciate extra hands for the High Holidays! If you are interested in volunteering for any of our services or programming, please let us know when you fill out the registration form.
COVID Precautions: We want programming to be available to as many congregants as possible, while maintaining our commitment to pikuach nefesh, safeguarding life, as a central value: “We hold that to save one member of our community is to save and preserve the entire community of NSP and beyond.”
In accordance with NSP’s COVID policy, all attendees who are eligible must be fully vaccinated for in-person events. Masks will be strictly required for all indoor High Holiday events, in addition to rapid testing. Rapid tests and N95/KN95 masks will be supplied on site for those who need them. For more details, please visit the High Holidays COVID Safety Information page on our website.
We recognize that some people may still prefer to avoid large in-person gatherings. We encourage you to join us for High Holidays online, and/or in whatever way feels best and safest to you! Please reach out to us if there’s anything we can do to make your High Holiday experience safer and more comfortable.
Accessibility Information: We are committed to making the High Holidays accessible and inclusive for all who wish to attend, including CART captioning, ASL interpretation, and wheelchair/mobility aid accessible locations.
Join the Jews of Color Space as we come to the end of Shabbat with Havdalah & Tisch on July 1st from 8-10:00 pm EST! We will gather at Malcolm X Park to do light text study and enjoy some nosh. There will also be an opportunity to make your own besamim (spices) bag to support you throughout the week. We hope to see you there!
Welcome Shabbat with NSP through uplifting song and prayer, and stay for a potluck dinner! Kabbalat Shabbat services will be led by Marni Loffman from 6:30-8pm
Marni Loffman is a composer, musician, singer and ritual-leader with a love of community education and asking big questions. With a background in cultural anthropology, religion and international peacebuilding, Marni is often weaving social analysis with music making practices. How can music help us belong? How has music played a role in the construction of identity? What does this sound like? What does this feel like? Marni’s debut album, the long short path, releases on rosh chodesh (the new month) Elul in mid august. the long short path is an invitation to pray from wherever you are on your journey, from a place of eternal wandering and continual arrival, from the paradox of belief, from desiring “traditional” sounds and also yearning for relevance, familiarity and meaning, from recognizing a kernel of truth everywhere but also knowing that no place contains the full picture. Listen to Marni’s debut single tefilat haderech on all streaming platforms.
לֹא עָלֶיךָ הַמְּלָאכָה לִגמֹר AND THOUGH WE MAY NOT FINISH THIS: Creating Home & Accountable Land Relationship as Queer Diasporic Jews
Together, we will view a mini-documentary capturing 7 years of communal work towards right relationship with land at Linke Fligl, a queer Jewish farm & cultural organizing project on Schaghticoke land (NY). From there, participants will explore personal relationships with land through a “Land Stories” practice, a ritual for sharing & witnessing our complex & evolving stories of loss, connection, home, & quest for accountable relationship with place.
Reflection by Rabbi Yosef on our community’s name:
The daily morning liturgy contains the phrase “blessed is the one who spoke and the world came into being.” The idea is that the world was created through words. As it says in Genesis in the creation story, “And God said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Embedded in this teaching is the profound understanding that words have power to create. Just think about words that have hurt you. Now think about words that have healed you. Words have the power to shape reality. So too when it comes to names: the words by which we call ourselves matter. And we just gave ourselves a new name. Or, more like we made our old name our new name, or something like that. So now that it’s a official I’ve been thinking about the meaning of our name.
NEW Synagogue Project
Our tradition has a lot to say about the idea of doing something new. It says in Psalm 96 (part of Friday night liturgy) “Shiru l’Adonai shir chadash, shiru l’adonai kol haaretz” Sing to Adonai a new song, sing to Adonai the whole earth. Sometimes we think of religion and tradition as already set and established, but in this Psalm is an imperative to pray, to praise, to connect with all of creation through a new song. (If you hadn’t already guessed, I was the one who suggested “Shir Chadash: A New Synagogue Project”, but the majority has spoken!)Not only is newness not anathema to Judaism, I learned from my teacher Dr. Judith Kates that change itself is actually embedded in the tradition. In the 5th book of the Torah, Devarim (Deuteronomy), Moses gives the longest sermon EVER in which he retells the stories of B’nai Yisrael’s 40 year wandering through the desert. But here is the thing, he rewrites the story. He changes it. In some very important ways. And this is all in the Torah. In our focus on liberation and engagement in both the political and the spiritual, our ecstatic and accessible prayer, our separation of Judaism and nationalism, our bringing together of mystics, agnostics, and atheists in the same community, and in so many other ways — we are striving to do something new! AND YET, our striving for newness is not original, we are following in the steps of our ancestors. In both the past and present, others have striven and are striving for many of the same things. We can aim for something new while also having humility and gratitude for those who came before us.
New SYNAGOGUE Project
There is now a whole world of Jewish spiritual startups that intentionally reject the synagogue model. They think the synagogue is dead, no longer relevant. In the past year, many people from this world have asked Lauren and me, “you’re starting a synagogue?!? Why would you do that?!” My response has been and continues to be: a synagogue is by definition an intentional community and in our society being in intentional community is a counter cultural and radical act. We eschew the individualistic notion that says each of us should go at it alone. Opting-in and joining community affirms that we are connected, that we value a collective, and will throw our lot in with others, beyond just our friend group and family. It affirms that we need help, that we will ask for help, and that we will give aid to one another. Building a synagogue also means that we are building an institution. The downside of institutions is that they can get stale, stuck in their ways, and ossify. That’s why we have “new” in our name! We must commit to regular reflection in order to review and renew what we’re doing. On the other hand, institutions have power. And if we want to make change, if we want to fight displacement in DC or build safety through solidarity with other communities, we need to build power. Institutions also have infrastructure to support our individual and collective needs: this includes the infrastructure to take care of one another, to celebrate lifecycle events and to mourn loss, as well as to educate ourselves and our children. We are building a synagogue.
New Synagogue PROJECT
Remember those group project assignments in high school? That was bad. Well, this is our opportunity at redemption. We’re building community together. At times it’s fun. At times it’s messy. And it’s always in process. I am so grateful and excited to be the rabbi of the New Synagogue Project. It is a tremendous honor and joy. I look forward to continuing to create together.