2013 Night of Unity Nov. 10, Honors Jaime and Yosef Esshaghian, Sabrina Merage

JConnect and Jewlicious annually celebrate and honor those people in the LA community that stand for Jewish Unity. This year’s honorees are very special people, Jaime and Yosef Esshaghian and Sabrina Merage, who have made it their duty to bring together our community and make it stronger in the process. Our honorees exemplify this value in all they do.

In addition to being a good cause, raising funds to support programs such as Jewlicious Festival, JConnectLA and Shabbat Tent, the NOU is also the most ELEGANT. PARTY. CELEBRATION of UNITY in LA. The NOU Gala features gourmet food, games, world-class entertainment, auction, dancing and more. This elegant evening brings together all segments of the Jewish community.

Please save the date and plan on attending the NOY which supports the largest grassroots network in the country devoted to engaging young adult participation in Jewish life through music, festivals, holiday celebrations and social gatherings.

Would you like to thank one of the honorees or the organization for their hard work? Or advertise your business at the Night of Unity? email nightofunity @ gmail.com



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Days of Awesome: A Divine High Holiday Experience in LA

For the fifth year in a row we are co-sponsoring the most user-friendly, explanatory and inspiring services for young adults in Los Angeles, and maybe he world. Come as you are. Divine High Holiday Experience 1200 Some Highlights – New Year’s Kabbalistic Kiddush, classes, best shofar in town, speedy services, stories, meditation, song, honey cake, inspiring and chill atmosphere, great Chazzan. . . You don’t have to pay a fortune, dress-to-kill, doze-off, question your tribal affiliation, be fluent in Hebrew, hear lengthy sermons, and eat stale honey cake this Rosh Hashanah. Instead, enjoy a friendly, joyous, participatory, and mindful celebration of the High Holidays with meaning, melody, and humor. WHAT: Traditionally inspired services led by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein featuring guest speakers Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld, Batsheva Frankel, Cheston Mizel, Marcus J Freed, and Chazan Tuli Skaist PLUS other special guests. Full program and FAQ below. Morning Coffee and Honey Cake Traditionally inspired services with separate seating Special break-out sessions All levels and backgrounds welcome Hebrew reading skills not required Delicious Kabbalah Inspired Kiddush following services Additional Shofar Services Excellent play-care for children available WHEN: Rosh Hashanah, Thursday September 5, 9:30AM Coffee/Cake, learning with Rabbi Yonah, 10am Services Rosh Hashanah II, Friday September 6, 9:30AM Coffee/Cake, learning with Rabbi Yonah, 10am Services Kol Nidrei, Friday, September 13, 6:30 Sharp followed by Ask Rabbi Yonah Anything Yom Kippur, Saturday, September 14, 2013, 9:30AM WHERE: Tomchei Shabbos, 9041 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90035 HOW MUCH: $36 Gets you access to all services and programs. We do not offer separate reservations for separate services. It gets too complicated… Eventbrite - Days of Awesome 2013: A Divine High Holiday Experience _______________________________________________

PROGRAM (Subject to change) Rosh Hashanah 1 and 2 9:30 AM Coffee, Honey Cake, Early Shofar, Study with Rabbi Yonah 10:00 AM Morning Services 11:00 Approximately Shofar 11:30 Mussaf and Break Out Session 12:30 AM Kiddush followed by late Shofar and Munkatscher Passport Story Yom Kippur 6:30 Kol Nidrei followed by Ask the Rabbi 9:30 AM Yom Kippur services 11:00 AM Yizkor 11:15 AM Mussaf and Break Out Session 5:30 PM Rabbi Yonah’s Annual reading of Yosele the Holy Mizer – prepare for the most moving story you have ever heard. 6:00 Mincha and Story of Jonah 7 PM Neila – Closing the Gates Final Prayers 7:45 PM Maariv and Break-Fast _________________________________________________ FAQ Do I need a reservation? YES, we will have seats for everyone who registers Can I mail a check? NO, all registration is online Do you have scholarships? YES, you are required to work 2 hours in exchange for free registration Are services Orthodox? Sort of… In our traditionally inspired service men and women sit on opposite sides of the isle and use traditional bi-lingual prayer books. We incorporate many additional elements which are very “un-orthodox”. Melodies are both traditional and modern. We supplement the prayer books with additional readings and teachings in English. Do I have to stay for everything? You are free to come and go as you want. We only request that during services you only speak outside in order to not disturb those praying. When is Shofar Blowing? Approximately 11 am Sept 5 and 6th Dress Code? Please come as you are while respecting the holiness of the day. More Questions? Email info@jconnectla.com

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Sam Glaser Blogs HSMF Shabbat Tent

From Sam Glaser’s Blog about HSMF

I found it disorienting arriving at this party-in-progress, especially since most of the 10,000 guests had already settled in. Just inside the entrance I found the Shabbat Tent and was overjoyed to see familiar faces. Thankfully Rabbi Yonah had already set up my tent in order to save the space. He gave me a hearty hug and a hand getting my stuff to the campsite after I stashed my refrigeratables in his cooler. I had arrived around 7pm and the heat had abated somewhat…now my tent was only 90 degrees inside. I inflated my air mattress, made the bed, unpacked my gear and then escaped the sauna to hear my first artist of the thirty or so that I would eventually audition. Three main venues had cascading schedules to allow rowdy overachievers like me to see nearly everyone on the bill….

I searched the fairgrounds for a good place to daven. Certainly there must be an isolated tree and some shade! My efforts proved fruitless in this maze of humanity and I strapped up in the middle of the Vaudeville tent. I believe I was one of only two people wearing a kippah at this festival. The other was Rabbi Yonah who stuck mostly to the confines of the Shabbat Tent, leaving me as the official wandering Jew for the weekend. I lost count of how many people “outed” themselves as members of the tribe. One family of wild-eyed stoners saw me praying that morning and sure enough, the patriarch was a Jewish pot farmer from Northern California. Another woman and her daughter Shaina watched as I shuckled nearby. Shaina had never seen tefillin and had all sorts of questions for me. They live in Oakland and go to a Reform synagogue.   She and her family adopted me and became regulars in the Shabbat Tent. If only for connecting with this one family, the whole Shabbat Tent experiment was worth it.

Read More….

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Down on the Farm With Shabbat Tent

Rav Shmuel just called and said that the Shabbat Tent got set up before the stage! The team is set upon the hill overlooking all the action and the stage. You cannot miss them. Look for the flag and tents. Here are a couple of photos for you to soak in.

Getting ready for Shabbat.

Rav Shmuel in front of the Shabbat Tent as they set up.

The famous location of the original Woodstock Festival.

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Mystic Garden Shabbat Tent @ Yasgur’s Farm

Get ready for our last Shabbat Tent of the summer at Yasgur’s Farm. We are doing TWO festivals at once now. Woodstock 44 and Mystic Garden. Yes, it’s true, you’ve heard right… we’re going to Yasgur’s Farm and joining the 44th Woodstock Reunion Fest. with it’s 2 stages & 42 bands already in place! The entire festival now has an amazing an amazing place up on a hill with a beautiful view behind and around the stage areas! It’s a ways away from the main Woodstock festival area but still walking distance. Rav Shmuel and the East Coast Team have already scouted the site and are setting as we write this. So if you are on your way to Yasgur’s Farm – make sure to look out for the Shabbat Tent!

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Shabbat on the Reggae River: An Auf Ruf, a Bar Mitzvah, and All-Night Jamming

What do you get when you cross California’s oldest and most prestigious reggae music festival and Shabbat Tent? That is what we were looking to find out.

The festival is nestled in the steep and wooded mountains of Humbolt County along the Eel River. Wherever you turn, the view of the mountains and trees is beautiful. 10,000 lovers of music sold-out the festival who camped and RV’ed wherever was possible.

Thanks to the organizers and producers of Reggae on the River, Shabbat Tent was given a very visibile and comfortable location  just next to the main venue entrance. Thanks to Elie Green and Daniel Kozmal (of Doc Green’s Healing Cooperative), the tent was decorated with futons, plants, artwork they brought up from Berkeley by cargo van. Shimon and team hung drapery from the ceiling, and at the entrances. the Shabbat Tent team also built a full mobile kitchen in the camping area for cooking and food prep so that all the meals would be fresh and delicious.

From the very start of the festival, people began to trickle in, and after a day there was constant traffic. More than one participant said, “Word is out that the Shabbat Tent is the place to chill out.”  The idea of a spiritual oasis made sense at the very spiritual and socially conscious music festival.

Some of the team took a small break in order to take a pre-Shabbat Mikvah in the cool and beautiful Eel River.

We drafted a band that played on Friday evening leading up to Kabbalat Shabbat and sang niggunim with some very talented Jewish musicians. The magic of the singing and music brought everyone together. Shabbat itself? Inspiring beyond belief. Kabbalat Shabbat started off with more niggunim, dancing, and another Shabbat Tent vegan pot-luck feast. We made Hamotzei on challah donated from Bibi’s and Continental bakeries. (Rabbi Yonah flew up to Oakland early Friday morning with two suitcases of challahs, pitas, rolls and other baked goods, then drove them up the rest of the way, so that they would be fresh.) And we were blessed that the wine was donated by Shirah Wine Company.

Shabbat Day proved even more popular. The burning heat sent everyone looking for cover, and we became a small oasis of friendly hospitality. We hosted Jews and other festival goers from all across the US, Chile, Brazil and Israel interested in Shabbat Tent and what the day of rest was all about. People really understood the idea of unplugging from the matrix for a day to concentrate on community, friends, and spiritual life. We celebrated the Auf Ruf (the Shabbat preceding a wedding) of Steve Lederman with a full Torah service, dancing, and lunch. Marcus Freed also led a yoga/mediation session before the services bagan – a popular program at all Shabbat Tents. During the services we made a “Bar Mitzvah” for Sander from North Carolina who had his first ever Aliyah to the Torah.

We were honored to host Rabbi Simcha and Margie Green, a retired couple from Berkeley and the parents of Shabbat Tent supporter Elie Green, who read the Torah and delivered some inspiring words.

Saturday night we started off our activities at 1:30 AM when Julian Marley finished. The Shabbat Tent band started playing as backup to Human Evolution, a socially soncious singer/songwriter who tours America with his catchy tunes and passionate voice. We named the band the Melava Malka. Human’s performance brought out a crowd of nearly 100 people. At 3 am we made a musical and fantastical Havdallah with Rabbi Yonah and Gideon, an extremely talented singer/songwriter who has been living and writing music in Jamaica for that last year. The jamming in the tent ended at 5am as the the skies began to lighten.

Mark, a festival goer who wandered up to the tent during the jam session told us that the Havdallah reminded him of his Bar Mitzvah 15 years ago. He was once very involved with his Temple, but as he got older he had less and less to do with his Jewish life. Havdallah meant so much to him, that he stayed until daybreak.

Lior, an Israel travelling the world after army service, had an aliyah on Shabbat morning. It was almost 10 years to the day since his last Aliyah – at his Bar Mitzvah in Rish L’Tzion. He still remembered the tune of the blessings.

There were more meaningful stories everyday of people that were grateful for Shabbat Tent and what it has to offer. Shabbat Tent made a huge splash at Reggae on the River hosting hundreds of people over four days and we look forward to returning to the idyllic river and mountains next summer.

Shabbat Tent at ROR was generously sponsored by Allen and Deanna Alevy, Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, and the Hellman-Gibbs Family Philanthropic Fund.

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Welcome to Jah Tent



The Shabbat Tent Team are in place, the tent is up, the water in place, the decorations up, some other cool stuff too. Will you be joining us? Look for the large Shabbat Tent banner in the vendor area. Please come visit! We look forward to hosting you.

7pm Kabbalah Shabbat Circle and candle lighting followed by kiddush and hamotzei on delicious challah.

Shabbat Day we celebrate the Auf Ruf of Steve Lederman and will hold Shabbat Morning prayers at 10am followed by a pot luck lunch at 1pm

Havdallah after last band, Julian Marley, around 12:30 AM

Tent open everyday from 10am

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Shabbat Tent @ Reggae on the River

We are excited to put up the first Shabbat Tent at the famous, 27th Annual, Reggae on the River in Garberville, CA. The tent will be located in the VENDOR area (Yeah!). We will be holding Carlebach style services on Friday Night, and Shabbat Day, with a rocking Havdallah late at night on Saturday.

Shabbat Tent is a conscious, restful, communal and spiritual gathering place where you can take a break from the heat, hang, eat some food, grab some H2O, share stories, get your yoga on and rest. The Shabbat Tent Crew is a group of volunteers who come together at national music festivals to celebrate Shabbat and share their love for music.

Everyone regardless of religion, spiritual views, etc. who wishes to spend any time at the Tent, will be welcomed without question. Join us, we’re sure this will rock your Shabbat!

***Shabbat Tent does not provide tickets or sleeping accommodations to/at Reggae On The River. We are a hospitality tent for your relaxation and enjoyment while attending the festival for shade, water and snacks. People are welcome to use the event page on Facebook as a way to connect for rideshares.

Drive Safe and See You at ROTR!

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Join us for an Epic Shabbat

The team has created our best ever tent – a virtual shabbat compound. With attached kitchen, and a large canopied eating area it keeps everyone happy. Temperatures are high. Seriously hot. For dinner we have couscous, kinoa, sautéed potatoes and onion, romain salad with avocado dressing and a Thai peanut sauce pasta. Chef Rachel
Bookstein has created another masterpiece. Will you join us? We are just next to the main entrance – a sweet spot and next to the food court.

Ice cold water, good vibes, cellphone charging all complimentary ;)

Shabbat shalom ya’all from the high sierras.



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Team Shabbat Tent on way to High Sierra

Shabbat folks in their way to High Sierra brave the heat at a roadside peach stand. Join us out near the vendors and log cabin- look for the huge flag/banner! Chill and hydrate and charge your phone snack potluck backgammon yoga shabbat dinner havdallah kiddush challah space out. Shabbat Tent welcomes everyone

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