When out-of-towners come into town, Jewish organizations band together to make them feel welcome.
As part of day three (Friday night) of Reverse Mifgash, an annual Birthright Israel NEXT program that brings Israeli and now Russian Jews to DC, Sixth & I rolled out 6th in the City, programming for young professionals; NextGen rolled out Shabbat Hoppin’, monthly program where young professionals “hop” to various shuls for Friday worship; and Rick Recht rolled in his usual crowds. David Manchester, one of the organizers of Shabbat Hoppin’, said that Sixth & I was as full as he’s ever seen it since High Holidays.
Rabbi Shira Stutman, Sixth & I’s director of engagement and an alum of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, presided over services, both speaking and singing with Recht and his backup singers.
A D’var Torah focused on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Nazi-led pogroms in 1938 that are seen as the start of the Holocaust, and a directive to react to other moments of “broken glass” when we are witness to other groups being oppressed around the world.
Cushioning the service was a pre-Shabbat happy hour from 6:15 to 7:30 and a sold out dinner. Plenty of chances for people to mix and mingle, which they did in abundance. Although the entire service was lively under Recht’s guitar melodies, things got really spirited at the end when we ended with a modern favorite, “Od Yavo Shalom Alyenu” and dancing in the aisles. If Shabbat is supposed to be a time, as Stutman put it, to forget your problems, leave work at work and reconnect with the Jewish people, then this experience certainly accomplished that, both locally and globally.
Reverse mifgash continues Saturday night with On the Streets of Tel Aviv and other programming to follow! Click here for more information.