At our Friday night dinner this week I promised my fellow JP Shabbat-ers a shout out. So, here it is!
Once a month, Josh and I trek all the way over to Jamaica Plain (ok, it's not really that far...but still) to gather in someone's living room with 20 friends and acquaintances to share in an hour of services followed by dinner, conversation, and community building. Now that JP Shabbat, as it is affectionately known, is in year 2, this one time minyan experiment has grown into a family-like gathering of sorts.
On the first Friday of each month, we meet in a different JP living room and 3 different community members take turns leading services. Each leader brings their own personality, style, and passion to their chosen portion of the night. This allows for the minyan to have a new and interesting feel each week. It also gives those of us who have less experience with the Friday night service in general, a chance to learn new prayers, tunes, and styles all in the comfort of a supportive group setting.
Although there are a few core people who come most months, the attendance shifts from meeting to meeting as well. This gives a fun flow to Shabbats and the added surprise of not knowing what to expect. It also helps to change up the type of food that is served. The rule of thumb is to have a dairy pot luck. Since there are so many people with food allergies in our little group (including yours truly) we try to bring labels for our dishes. In any other setting, this might be weird, but in our JP world, this just adds to the night, creating conversation, inquiry, and sometimes a little humor. We do try to streamline the process a bit with a sign up sheet, but generally, it is a free for all, and yet the meal combos almost always work out great.
As much as I enjoy the service portion of JP Shabbat, especially when Josh is leading as he did last week, I love hanging out after. Not only do we get to spend time with some very close friends, we get to make new ones too. Many of these people have become very good friends, others make us laugh uncontrollably, and others always keep us on our toes. No matter where you sit for dinner, you are having fun. That has never been more true than last Friday night.
After catching up with 2 friends who had been on vacation recently, I strolled over to sit with Josh and a lively group of JP Shabbat-ers. It turns out they were actually talking about Madison Ave Musing...and Josh hadn't brought it up! After taking many more requests for updates on our situation with Ralph, learning a few more tricks of the blogging trade from others involved with social media, and once again being shocked that people are actually reading and talking about my blog, we got into a HILARIOUS Ralph inspired conversation about horrible living situations. While I strongly believe that Ralph is the most frustrating person to live next to, some of our friends have had some pretty intense living and landlord situations over the years. There is nothing like trying to one up everyone with your most ridiculous horror stories to finish off the week right.
I think this is what I love about our Fridays in JP...they are so random. You never know exactly how the night will go and yet, every Friday we are there, it is a blast.
If you are in the area and interested in joining the JP Shabbat community (even if you technically don't live in JP) check out our google group .