|Celebrate Purim with New Synagogue Project, the event that launched our community 6 (!!!) years ago! Our focus at Purim this year will be on solidarity, sisterhood, and collective freedom. Through political theater and art we will uplift stories of cycles of liberation and oppression, including both Palestinian and Jewish liberation. Purim reminds us that JOY is a necessary spiritual practice, a form of resistance, and an opening for radical love. Purim is a holiday known for costumes, masks, identity fluidity, raucous dance, scrumptious treats, and – for grownups who partake – abundant booze. NSP goes BIG at Purim, celebrating with live entertainment, art, fundraising, and local justice organizing. Kiddos and their adults are invited to the Kids Purim Party on Sunday, March 24th and all adults are invited to our Megillah Reading & Radical Purim Party on Saturday, March 23rd.
NSP’s Megillah Reading & Radical Purim Party
*SATURDAY*, March 23rd
Megillah Reading: 7:00pm
Party & Entertainment: 8:00pm – midnight
Location: Ivy City Smokehouse (indoor + outdoor)
Tickets: $10 – $36 (sliding scale)
Proceeds benefit CASA
On the program, **drumroll, please**
Petworth’s own kind & funny drag queen, Tara Hoot
Megillah reading by NSP’s Leyn for Liberation study group
A Purim Spiel, written, produced, & acted by your fellow NSP members
The first performance of NSP’s Radical Marching Band
Ecstatic dance! Hamantaschen! And much much more!
Register Here for NSPs Radical Purim Party
Ivy City Smokehouse is both an indoor and outdoor venue. The megillah reading will happen outdoors and other performances will happen indoors. All attendees must be vaccinated against COVID-19, take a rapid COVID test before arriving (tests will be available onsite), mask while indoors, and eat and drink outdoors.
ASL interpretation will be provided for the Megillah reading, spiel, and guest performance. If you have other access requests events please reach out to email@example.com. All requests are welcome!
In the spirit of the mitzvot (sacred obligations) of Purim, which call on us to give resources to ensure all can rejoice, ticket proceeds from our Radical Purim Party each year are donated to a local social justice group organizing to create a world of freedom and liberation. This year, we are raising funds for CASA. CASA provides critical services to immigrant and working-class families, and advocates for their rights. As a national membership based organization, CASA uses its powerbuilding that blends human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members.
Register Here to Join the Party
Purim for Kids & Families at NSP
NSP Kids Purim Party
Party time, kid style! Kids (and grown-ups!) come in costume to make crafts, play lawn games, sing, and eat hamantaschen! Rabbi Yosef will tell the Purim story!
Sunday, March 24, 10:30am-12:30pm
Location: Rock Creek Park Grove #7
Register Here for the NSP Kids Purim Party
Purim Cookie Baking
Kids Team Hamantaschen Baking
It’s time to bake cookies!! Come join the kids team for a communal baking extravaganza. Baking will occur in two shifts starting at 5pm or 7pm. Dinner will be provided!
Wednesday March 20th, 5-9 pm
Location: Takoma, DC (address confirmed after registration)
Register to join the NSP Kids Team Hamantaschen Baking****
Space is limited & will be filled first come, first-served basis
CALLING BAKING LOVERS: If you are not a parent who needs to take their kiddo to bed, and want to help close out and clean up at the kids baking event (~8-9pm), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get plugged into supporting this event!
Community Purim Baking
Do you enjoy baking? Or maybe just love to make a mess in the kitchen? Join fellow community members to make hamantaschen and biscochos for the Radical Purim Party. Keep an eye out for information on how to register coming soon to your inbox.
Sunday, March 17th, 2-6 pm
Location: Hyattsville, MD (address confirmed after registration)
**Space is limited & will be filled first come, first-served basis
Purim Participatory Art Build
Help our Purim Spiel come to life! Join NSP community members for an art build to create set pieces, props, and art for our Radical Purim Party. No experience necessary!
Sunday, March 9, 4-6pm
Location: Petworth, DC (address included after registration)
Register to join the Purim Art Build**
**Space is limited & will be filled first come, first-served basis
Jews of Color Purim Craft Party
Join the NSP JOC Space for a Purim craft party for Jews of Color and multiracial families of all ages! Let’s talk about the Persian roots of the holiday, and create crafts that you can take with you or we will use to decorate the NSP Purim party.NSP’s JOC Space serves Jews of color and Jews with Sephardi, Mizrahi, and Indigenous heritage, as well as folks of color and of Indigenous heritage connected to our community who do not identify as Jewish.
Saturday, March 16, 12-2 pm
Location: Petworth, DC (address included after registration)
Register to join the JOC Craft Party
ASL interpretation will be provided for the Megillah reading, spiel, and guest performance! To request ASL interpretation or CART captioning for other NSP events, please email email@example.com. We typically need at least 48 hours to fill a request; but, please reach out, even with short notice, and we’ll do our best to meet your needs!
If you have any other access needs or requests, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us in celebrating Shabbat Shirah (the Shabbat of Singing) with Anat Halevy Hochberg. Anat is a Boston-based musician, writer, educator, and ritualist with family roots in Israel, Yemen, Hungary, and Poland. As a Jewish woman of color, a first-generation American whose grandparents survived genocide and displacement, and a person deeply connected to Israel/Palestine, Anat is continually developing her sense of the heartbreak, complexity, responsibility, and courage that it takes to foster healing in a broken world full of beauty. As a music educator, a leader of song and prayer in Jewish communities, and as a performer, Anat lets everyone in on a secret: we are all ready to sing a new song.
Friday, January 26th, we will begin with Shabbat evening services followed by a community potluck and singing circle led by Anat. On Saturday, January 27th, Anat will join the Jews of Color Space for brunch and singing and then facilitate an afternoon song-leading workshop open to everyone. The shabbaton will conclude with a participatory concert on Saturday evening, at which Anat will be joined by fellow musicians Eleanore Weill on flute and Micah Hendler on percussion.
Shabbat Shirah marks a celebratory moment in the Torah, when the mixed multitude crosses the Red Sea out of Egypt and the women pick up their timbrels and sing. So, we also hope to gather in the community to connect, learn, be inspired, and sing a new song.
Anat Halevy Hochberg (she/her) is a musician, teacher, and ritual leader based in Boston. Her passions include leading song, empowering others to raise their voices, and working to reclaim the Yemenite melodies of her heritage. She has taught and led ritual at Eden Village Camp, Let My People Sing!, Hadar’s Rising Song Intensive, and Linke Fligl. She co-produced Tishrei: the end is the beginning and Elul: Songs for Turning, and her debut album How can I keep (from) singing? was released in 2020. Learn more about her work at anathalevyhochberg.com
Anat will be joined in concert by:
Eleonore Weill, Brooklyn-based French vocalist/ multi-instrumentalist on flute and vocals. She performs with Tsibele, and internationally with Frank London, the Baroque Music Center of Versailles (C.M.B.V.), Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar ensemble, Midwood, and many others.
Schedule of Events
Friday, January 26:
Shabbat Evening Services – 6:30pm
Songful services led by Anat Halevy Hochberg and NSP rabbinic intern Miriam Ginsberg, followed by community potluck and singing circle led by Anat.
Register here to attend in person!
Register here to attend online!
Saturday, January 27:
Jews of Color Brunch – 11:00am-1:00pm
Join Anat and the NSP Jews of Color Space for informal conversion, singing, and brunch. Anat will share about her cultural reclamation project around Yemenite singing, teach some Yemenite songs, and open the floor to songs from the community. Register here to attend.
Becoming the Song: A Songleading Workshop – 1:30-3:00pm
In this workshop, we will develop our songleading by sinking into our connection with song; learning practical song teaching techniques; and exploring the way our voices, breath, and movements can deeply express the musical character and spirit of songs when we lead. All levels of songleading experience welcome. Register here to attend.
Shabbat Shirah Participatory Concert – 7:00 doors, 7:30-9:00pm concert
Immerse yourself in Jewish music and song led by Anat Halevy Hochberg and accompanied by Eleonore Weill on violin and Micah Hendler on percussion. Purchase tickets here (suggested sliding scale $18-$54).
Thanks to our Concert Co-Sponsors:
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)
For more details, including service times, visit the High Holiday Services section of our website!
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.
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.
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.
For full details on how we are planning to meet our community’s access needs, please visit the High Holidays Accessibility Information page on our website. If you have any access needs that aren’t met by these plans, please email email@example.com, so that we can work to meet them.
Still have questions? Email our High Holidays team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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 email@example.com.
Here’s what our members and volunteer leaders have to say about being part of NSP:
Join Pushcart Judaica, NSP, and our partners for a weekend of queer, radical Jewish arts & culture in DC! June 23-25
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.
NSP has a significant and growing number of families with young children. While we’ve served this constituency through our Tot Shabbat program from the beginning, we hope to build out more robust programming, as we have for families with school-aged children (i.e. our religious school, Kollel). Bereishit (“in the beginning”) is envisioned to be a hub for a set of programs, new and existing, that serve families with children not yet old enough to enroll in Kollel, from parents-to-be who are expecting their first child to those with preschoolers. Our goals are for parents to build relationships with one another, make sustaining connections to and gain support from the NSP community, and move along their family’s Jewish learning journey through kid-, adult-, and whole family-centered content. The position described here is focused on supporting a new cohort-style program on Shabbat mornings that will provide parallel programming for parents and their children.
New Synagogue Project Kollel, our Kindergarten through 7th grade kids’ education program, is hiring assistant teachers for the 2023-2024 school year!
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.
Our Annual Membership Meeting is on Sunday, May 21! We hope you’ll join us! Register below.