When you think mishpocheh, you’re probably remembering the Yiddish phrase, “the whole mishpocheh” meaning the whole, big extended family. Well, look to its Hebrew root: mishpakhah—also family—and you get the point of Woodland’s Mishpakhah Shabbat: a complete, hour-long, family-friendly service that has more in common with a regular congregational service than with Kidz Shabbat but, because it starts at 6:45 pm, still lets you get the kids home in time for bed. (An added benefit: you don’t have to worry about preparing supper; you can sign up for a light, inexpensive meal served at 6 pm.)
While Mishpakhah Shabbat service includes the participation of the rabbi and cantor, it is led in equal partnership by members of the congregation who read the service, share Iyyunim (focused thoughts designed to enhance the meaning of the prayer that follows it), and even deliver the occasional d’var torah, brief insights into the evening’s parshah, or Torah reading. Woodlands’ unique, member-conceived, developed, and produced prayer book is complemented by stories and music especially chosen to delight and engage young and old alike.
Although the Mishpakhah Shabbat service was originally developed to offer an regular but early service alternative to families with young children on Friday nights when regular 8 pm services were also scheduled, the service proved so popular that this year (5774) it’s being offered on five Friday nights as the only service that evening. Those dates are: