Welcome to Lab/Shul, an artist-driven, everybody-friendly, God-optional, pop up, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC and reaching the world.

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Morning Has Broken – Shabbat AM Recap

Spring has officially sprung in New York City and Lab/Shul gave it a very warm welcome.

Like most New Yorkers I was SO ready for Spring, and in my head I probably felt that the sooner I put away my winter stuff the faster it would arrive. So there I was, on what was supposed to be the first day of Spring, digging out my winter boots from beneath my bed. This was definitely not a good sign.

AIMG_0233nd yet the next day, despite a last minute Hail Mary Hail Miriam attempt from Winter, Spring was making its comeback. The sun was out. Most of the previous day’s snow had melted into water. Our Shabbat AM worship event was filled with warmth and light.

This Saturday over 120 of us, both familiar and new, gathered together as a community in one of New York’s oldest community centers – The University Settlement House – to celebrate the start of Spring, the Jewish month of Nissan, the book of Leviticus, and all the things germinating within us.

In my most “Thank God I’m at Lab/Shul” moment, our special guest – Cantor George Mordechai – fused his Iraqi melodies with “Jewgrass” music from Naomi Less, Matt Check, Katie Down, & Glenn Grossman to create a totally unique blend of sounds and melodies I’ve never heard before…especially not at shul! His ancient melody for the Halleluyah psalm blended with Matt Check’s banjo was truly unforgettable (evidenced by the fact that I’ve been humming it all weekend long!) And RTB alumn Claire Joseph collaborated with her former Maven mentor Mollie Andron to ask really provocative questions about the relevancy of the sacrificial system today – everyone in the room was kvelling.

IMG_0887I think a quote from current RTB student Sasha Cohen, which he wrote in the Anne Frank Museum’s guest book on a recent family trip to Amsterdam and which his parents read to all of us, sums up my feelings perfectly: “Life has darkness. Only by looking into the darkness can you see the light.” Again, cue the kvelling.

Check out more of the awesome photos you see below from LabShuler Jennifer Lee, and also Yitzchok Lowry’s thoughtful response to the day’s discussion about burning chametz (in Hebrew).

Big thanks to everyone who made it and hope to see you all at our next one in April!
-Ezra
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