White Shabbos

Neo-Chassidic Celtic/Bluegrass Punk

Friday, January 28, 2005

Reaching Out

My chavrusa, David Bibi, publishes a weekly Torah newsletter that he distributes by email to nearly 20,000 people. I highly recommend it to all. You can sign up at david@shabbat-shalom.com.

This week, David reports on his trip to the Association for Jewish Outreach Professionals Convention in Baltimore:

One disturbing fact that I heard at the convention was that there are four million Jews in need of outreach assistance. With only 100 or so full time outreach professionals – that means 40,000 people for each to find time to help. It’s simply impossible.

An alternative solution is the one espoused by Haham Ovadiah Yosef suggesting that each person take upon himself one friend a year. And perhaps each family could take on one family. A woman can introduce a friend to lighting candles, she can take her to the Mikveh, she can bake Chalot with her, she can bring her to a class or she can learn one on one. A man can take a friend to shul, have a daily phone shiur with him, send a daily e-mail and discuss it, bring a friend to a shiur, help him to be comfortable in an atmosphere that might seem foreign, show him the joy and happiness that is enveloped by the Shabbat.

A key theme in this weeks Perasha is action. Yitro hears and he comes. The Jewish people will do and will hear. We have so many excuses to avoid action. Why should I get involved? Let me mind my own business. Maybe next time I see them. Maybe someone else? But that is the Yeser Harah, that is the Satan. He is the master of excuses and the master of postponement. Greatness lies in the ability to act, in the ability to do and the ability to take that first step. So commit right now, get each of your family members to commit as you sit to dinner on Friday night to do just one act this week to bring someone closer to the religion of their fathers, to make some act to restore a link to it’s chain.

More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews. White Shabbos is planning a musical tour called "Take Back Shabbos". Let's take it back, and let's keep it. Tell your friends.

Good Shabbos!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

White Shabbos Shira

We just had our first white Shabbos of the year here in New York. Seems like a good time to start a White Shabbos blog.

So yes, the name "White Shabbos" is a Black Sabbath reference. I love Black Sabbath. If you listen to their first six or so albums with Ozzy, the message is very positive. To wit:

Could it be you’re afraid of what your friends might say
If they knew you believe in God above?
They should realize before they criticize
That God is the only way to love
("After Forever")

"White Shabbos" is also a reference to the way the mystics of 16th century Tsfat, Israel would only wear white garments on Shabbos. Check it out.

This year, though, is shaping up to be something of a green Shabbos. If you listen to our first record you can hear the Irish influence right from the start. We'll, get ready, because now we've got bagpipes and possibly a tin whistle. Strangely, Irish music is one of the few things everyone in our band has in common (full story for another time).

Next White Shabbos show:
Sunday, January 30th @ Gin Mill (Upper West Side of Manhattan), 9PM-ish.

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