Thursday, March 02, 2006

Carlebach Muqata Minyan on Friday Nights

I don't have the world's greatest voice.

I can carry a tune, daven as an OK shaliach tzibbur, and start songs to get other people singing. But never a solo...harmony...maybe.

My voice used to be better when I was a kid, and I was in a school choir (2 of them actually), and I used to be much better at it than today.

Anyone who's ever been lucky enough to spend a shabbat in Hevron, and daven at Me'arat HaMachpela on Friday nights has heard the amazing Hevron Carlebach minyan. Davening is one huge singing and dance experience that takes over 2 hours.

We enjoyed it so much, that like many places around the globe, we now have our own Carlebach minyan on Friday nights. We sing Kabbalat Shabbat, dance around a bit, and it's a very warm and friendly minyan.

Don't feel like singing out loud? No problem.

Don't want to dance? Fine with us!

The key to why a Carlebach minyan "works", comes from Shlomo Carlebach himself. He didn't have a great voice, but he understood that the collective voices of people davening in song together could sound great and make up for not everyone having a great voice.

At a Carlebach minyan, you don't need a great shaliach tzibbur, since everyone knows all the tunes...all you really need to do is start the first 2 or 3 words before the entire Beit Midrash joins in. Plus, we have kids as the Shaliach Tzibbur for Kabbalat Shabbat so they get over "stage fright" at an earlier age, with a supportive, friendly crowd.

That's the magic of a great Carlebach minyan...combined with the excitement of my youngest son knowing that he'll sit on my shoulders as we dance around and around.

It's been a long week - Shabbat is coming!

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


yitz said...

Hey, in our Jersualem neighborhood we've had a Carlebach minyan since '97, [methinks]. What took you guys so long???


Greg said...

Hey Muqata,
you probably did it a long time ago but I never realized you qualified me for your blogroll...until...I took a look at "Shma Yisrael." Good thinking and thank u so much!

Shabbat shalom, Eitan.

Tehilimzugger said...


MUST Gum Addict said...

We usually do a Carlebach minyan once or twice a year. Unfortunately, people around here aren't into 2 hour davenings on Friday nights...

Another reason for me to move to Israel!

Rebecca said...

Davening fri night at the kever was the most uplifting and spiritual davening I have ever had. Later that same night a bunch of us sat outside the kever and sang songs and I swear we heard noises coming from the kever as if they were singing zmirot along with us

Elster said...

Personally, I would probably light myself on fire if mincha/maariv took 2 hours on Friday nights. I would then be both (a) dead and (b) michalel shabbos. So it's probablky better this way. But to each thir own. I'm too tired after a really hard work week.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Elster - I hear you...but its SOOOOO good for the soul.

daat y said...

Thank God for Shabbos.

the sabra said...

The epitome of the friday night davening in Maarat Hamachpela, is on Simchat Torah. I believe that "one has not seen the joy of the Torah as experienced in Chevron, has not seen true joy".

Mincha Man said...

Muqata is right on. I've been leading/participating in a Shlomo minyan on friday nights for 6 years now, and it's literally the highlight of the week.

And if you can gauge the makeup of the audience - how many people are into it, and how many are dying to get home - you can adjust the length and number of songs to fit.

As for Elster - I appreciate your exhaustion and hunger, but as Shlomo said, "If you were out on a date with a beautiful girl, would you be checking your watch every five minutes? Is Shabbos any different?"


The key to why a Carlebach minyan "works" @ the maqutta, comes from Jammeel himself. He doesn't have a great voice, but he understood that being a heavily armed man makes up for not having a great voice.

Ger Tzadik said...

The tiny little minyan I daven with every Friday does Carlebach. It's amazing how much warmth you can pull out of a small group of guys who either don't know Hebrew, or can't sing for their lives. (The rabbi tops the second list. He's passionate about it. His voice? Horrid.)

I am not a singy-dancy guy at all, but now that I've done Carlebach more than any other style, I miss it when at a more straight-laced minyan.

I've been to a couple of Carlebach minyans that were already getting stale though. Everything seemed like an affectation, even the "dancing"...oh well.

ifyouwillit said...

The key to why a Carlebach minyan "works", comes from Shlomo Carlebach himself. He didn't have a great voice, but he understood that the collective voices of people davening in song together could sound great and make up for not everyone having a great voice.

Very True. I often say that Friday night tefila is one of the few, if not only, that I enjoy and connect too. I can shut my eyes mid tefilla and memories will flood into my mind from Manchester, New York, Seattle, The Kotel, Crown Heights and even a field in which I have had the privilage experience shabbatot.

Anonymous said...

A lesson that everybody should definitely take to their respective minyanim around the globe is that they should not be afraid to switch around the tunes and even throw in non-Shlomo tunes - that is how he did it and that is one of the ways to ensure it does not become "stale."

Kamagra said...

Hey muqatak, i like too much your blogs because it has interesting topics, specially when you talk about Israel problems, i would like to give you my opinion and i am very grateful because your blogs help me a lot.

Search the Muqata


Related Posts with Thumbnails