Ganzeh Galus Guide: Jewish Revival in the Deep Diaspora

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the Wooden Synagogue in Wolpa, Poland (early 18th Century)
Picture from The Lost Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe

"Shabes, Shabes" sung by Wolf Krakowski.

Learning and Leading Shabbat Services

  • Hillel International Center has extensive study materials on Shabbat, including parahat ha-shavua study materials, introductions and guides to Shabbat and other holiday observances, Havdalah, birkat ha-mazon, etc. (under "Jewish Resources"/"Holidays and Rituals").

  • Kids' games (fun for grownups too) to learn about Shabbat, midrash and history: Download jbops' free Shabbat starter pack.
  • Helpful booklets and other information on services, etc.
    (mostly from the Hillel International Center; or Rabbi Paul Drazen of Mid-Continent Region USCJ and the Imun program):

  • Don't know your prayers well or can't read Hebrew? Come to any traditional service and you will quickly learn the tunes. You can also download a Transliterated Conservative Siddur (short and with Sim Shalom page numbers) or a longer Orthodox Transliterated Siddur or buy one from the OU. Buy tapes from Chadish (Orthodox) or the Cantors Assembly (Conservative-- ask for the Pinchas Spiro tapes) or Tara Jewish Music. Or attend the new Lishma summer program for college students at Camp Ramah, Ojai, or the Imun Training Program For Lay Religious Leadership. Subsidies available.
  • Learn to lead services.
    • Many synagogues offer trope classes regularly.
    • Attend the Lishma summer program for college students at Camp Ramah, Ojai, CA (Subsidies available)
    • Join the Conservative movement's week-long Imun Training Program For Lay Religious Leadership (as Scott Kramer did) (winters in Ojai, summers at Ramah in the Berkshires; for ages 18 to 90) (Subsidies available)
    • Join a Reform lay training retreat (Subsidies available)
    • Learn the tunes on-line from Virtual Cantor.
    • Purchase tapes from

  • Learn to layn (chant Torah).
    • Trope classes offered at Kol Ami and Chavura B'Yachad for adults and kids.
    • If you'd rather learn by doing, join the Hillel Minyan and volunteer.
    • Teach yourself at Virtual Cantor.
    • All the local congregations and Hillel are always in need of Torah readers -- just make your interest known.
    • For Torah portions
      • ORT's Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutor site (the entire Torah chanted, line by line by a human being, with both the Hebrew text and transliteration)
      • Ellie's Torah Trope Tutor (similar)
      • ORT also sells a CD-ROM with the entire chanted text of the Torah and Haftorot as well as exercises.
      • A competing CD from cyberTropes (1-888- CHANT-80) can be customized with your cantor's trope.
      • Max Synagogue sells a computer speech synthesized CD of the entire Torah, in various trope and pronunciation styles, without the vagaries of particular performances.
      • Tapes for sale from Chadish and the Cantors Assembly.
    • Take an intensive course with the Conservative movement's Imun Training Program For Lay Religious Leadership (as Scott Kramer did)
    • Join one of the Reform movement's periodic training conferences.
  • Create creative services in the Reform tradition. Kesher, the Reform movement's college outreach program, has a computer disk containing the basic parts of a service and information on creating your own service. For information on obtaining the disk and/or assistance in organizing your service, contact Ganzeh Galus Guide. For further training, consider attending a Reform kallah, retreat or training session.
  • Zmirot (Shabbat songs). Sing with us at Hillel's Minyan Netivot.

    The best song book we've seen is the Harvard Hillel Sabbath Song Book (David R. Godine, 300 Mass. Ave, Boston, 1992). All the blessings (including havdalah) and lots of songs. All in Hebrew and transliteration, with full music for sight-singers, piano and guitar. Available from Harvard Hillel and bookstores.

    For song leaders workshops with Debbie Friedman and others, see our Conferences page or visit the Reform movement's Hava Nashira-Jewish Song Leaders Page.

    See our Jewish Music page for more Jewish music.

  • Shabbat Bibliography.
    • Abraham Joshua Heschel, Sabbath: Its Meaning For Modern Man. Why make time holy?
    • Kerry M. Olitzky and Ronald H. Isaacs, The How To Handbook For Jewish Living (1993 KTAV Publishing). Simple directions for the choreography of Jewish life: the basic blessings, how to wave a lulav, how to make havdalah, when to bow in the Amidah, making matzoh, and so on.
    • Harvard Hillel Sabbath Song Book (David R. Godine, 300 Mass. Ave, Boston, 1992). All the blessings (including havdalah) and lots of songs, in Hebrew and transliteration, with full music.
    • Kay Kantor Pomerantz, Come for Cholent, Vol. I & II. Each volume has 60 recipes for cholent, from E. Europe, Greece, Italy, Israel and the Middle East. Vol. II has a chapter of vegetarian recipes.
    • Richard Siegel, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon Strassfeld, The Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit. (Jewish Publication Society). Still the best introduction to doing it yourself.
    • Michael Strassfeld, The Jewish Holidays A Guide and Commentary. (1985: Harper and Row). Readable and sophisticated discussions of the traditions and customs of all the holidays.
    • Shamash's Divrei Torah collection: commentaries on the weekly Torah portion from many different sources.

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