Shabbat Services and Programs

Friday Evening Shabbat Services

Join us for Shabbat evening services, held every Friday evening at 6:30 pm, except for the first Friday of each month, when services begin at 6:00 pm.  The following distinctive Kabbalat Shabbat services are scheduled each month from October through June:

"First Friday at 6":  An Intergenerational Musical Shabbat Service and Potluck 

We celebrate the first Friday each month with a one-hour, intergenerational, family-friendly musical service for all ages at 6:00 pm, followed by a communal Shabbat potluck dinner.

Second Friday: "Shabbat Unplugged" Acoustic Service (6:30pm)

On the second Friday of each month at 6:30 pm, Hazzan Ayelet leads "Shabbat Unplugged," an intimate and musically acoustic celebration of Shabbat; the long exhale at the end of the week.

Third Friday:  "Shirat HaLev" (Song of the Heart) Service (6:30pm)

On the third Friday evening of each month, we gather for a special contemplative, musical celebration of Shabbat featuring seating in the round, percussion accompaniment, and very spirited communal singing of the Shabbat prayers and blessings. Shirat HaLev is a wonderful way to release the stresses of another New York City week, and connect with one’s self and the West End Synagogue community.

Fourth Friday:  "Yedid Nefesh" Meditative Service (6:30pm)

On the fourth Friday of each month at 6:30 pm, Rabbi Marc  leads "Yedid Nefesh" (Companion of the Soul), a contemplative service for Shabbat evening consisting largely of guided silent meditation, interspersed with chanting and a short teaching. While the basic liturgy will be followed, this one-hour service essentially will be quieter and more reflective in nature. No prior meditation experience is necessary or assumed.

Fifth Friday:  haMinyan (8:00pm)

haMinyan is West End's lay-led, often experimental and always interesting Kabbalat Shabbat service.  It occurs at 8 PM on the 5th Friday of the month when a 5th Friday occurs.  On those dates, there will be no earlier service.

Shabbat morning

Torah Study
led by Rabbi Marc Margolius

On Saturday mornings from 9-10 a.m., Rabbi Margolius facilitates a group exploration of the weekly Torah portion, incorporating traditional rabbinic, Hasidic, and contemporary interpretations, as well as the insights of participants. We seek to discover points of resonance between our lives and the Torah narrative, and lessons which might guide us in our daily lives and inform our efforts to repair the world. All are welcome; no prior background or knowledge required.  Note that on the fourth Shabbat morning of the month, Torah study takes place during the service, usually at aa 11 a.m. (see Shabbat Chadash, below)

Shabbat Morning Services

Shabbat morning services begin each Saturday morning at 10 a.m., following Torah study. They include contemporary English readings and poems, explanations and suggested kavanot (intentions) for aspects of the service, and a sermon and discussion on the weekly Torah portion. Services are followed by a full congregational Kiddush luncheon at 12:30 p.m. for socializing and camaraderie. All are welcome to drop in for all or part of the service or Kiddush luncheon.  (Free childcare is offered each Shabbat morning from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)

Tot Shabbat

We hold services for children 0-4 years old every Shabbat morning at 11:30 a.m., year-round, featuring songs, prayer, parent-child interaction, and stories.  Join us any week -- drop-ins are welcome!

Shirat Shabbat

Every Saturday morning at 11:15 AM we have services for 5-10 year olds and their parents, featuring songs from Saturday morning liturgy, and a visit from Hazzan Ayelet teaching the Parashah of the week from the Torah.

Shabbat Chadash ("New Shabbat") (fourth Saturday morning of each month)

Shabbat Chadash ("New Shabbat") takes place in general on the fourth Saturday morning of each month.  It features a slightly abbreviated, more focused service from 10-11 a.m., followed by an extended all-congregation study session on that Shabbat's parashah (Torah portion). which will identify actions by which we might embody the lessons derived from the portion.  Note that there is NO 9 a.m. Torah study on Shabbat Chadash Saturday mornings.

Additional Shabbat Programming:

  • HaMatmid Tanakh Shabbat Afternoon Bible Study (meets twice monthly)

On the first and third Shabbat afternoons of each month, West End members meet at 1:30 p.m. to explore the books of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh).  No prior background is necessary, and all are welcome.

  • Mesillat Yesharim, The Path of the Upright (meets twice monthly)

On the 2nd Saturday and 4th Saturday of the month, West End members meet at 1:30 p.m. for study of this classic text on ethics by Moses Hayyim Luzzatto, using the new JPS edition translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and including new commentary.  Led by Susan Schorr.

  • Havdalah Project (the second Saturday of each month, unless otherwise announced)

West End Synagogue's mindful, musical close to Shabbat:

  • 6:30-7:30pm Mindfulness Meditation (Doors open 6:00 to 6:30pm) - Participate in meditation led by Rabbi Marc Margolius, experienced congregants, or visiting meditation leaders from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.
  • 7:30pm Havdalah (Doors re-open at 7:15) - Celebrate the holiness of time and welcome the new week with a relaxing Havdalah service that engages all 5 senses through song, dance, candlelight, spices, and kiddush.
  • 8:00pm Music Café or other special programming - Light refreshments, and an array of music for dancing and listening, or guest presentations.