Blog  Let’s hear from Shabbat Shira

Let’s hear from Shabbat Shira

Shabbat Shira is a celebration of song and prayer featuring new music and old favorites along with the joy of community. The 2017 faculty included Merri Lovinger Arian, Cantor Rosalie Boxt, Rabbi Ken Chasen, Michelle Citrin, and Dan Nichols!  Mark your calendars now, Shabbat Shira 2018 will be November 1-4, 2018

Read what previous Shabbat Shira participants said about the program:
“A great opportunity for spiritual renewal and making community through music.”

“One of the highlights was to spend relaxed time with the faculty.”

“I was enormously impressed by the faculty’s musical ability, and willingness to share, both musically and personally.”


“If you’re interested in a relaxing, low pressure, spiritual weekend, Shabbat Shira is the place for you.”


“Writing. Song-leading. Teaching. Learning. This is our avodah. We are not trained for it at Shabbat Shira. We are freed to do it – with joy.”

“I cannot express my gratitude enough. What a life changer this has been. Without further ado….I stand humbled and in awe as I reach searchingly for the words to fully describe how transformative and healing this past weekend was. I spent the better part of four days at a musical retreat in Wisconsin with 75 of the kindest, most compassionate members of the Jewish community I have had the honor of knowing. I was bathed in music, embraced in song, and carried downstream in waves of joy and laughter for days on end. Music waxed and waned through the daylight hours. Friendships strengthened and celebrations were had. Conversations began early, stretched over midnight, and tumbled into the next day.  I participated boldly in song with the voices around me; I heard and I felt each note of each instrument being played in all corners. I unhesitatingly took a moment in time myself to step inside the inner circle and play a song as part of the community sing. This all was new but familiar; it was scary, but safe. I was embraced but I was also fully free.  I felt deeply cared for, unconditionally accepted, and validated to my core.  I was also humbled. No true journey is without moments of deep inner question and moments of brutal reflection. Words were spoken. Visions presented themselves. Dreams communicated loudly. Questions that had no answers were asked. As much as I met myself through music, I also met myself through silence.  When we departed early Sunday afternoon, I was not the same person who arrived four days earlier. A part of me long-ago dismissed and sent to sleep in the corner had woken up, come out to play, and wondered why she hadn’t seen the games and festivities earlier.  I had walked into the retreat, an unknown face among many, with a standing commitment to show up as myself, no matter what, among a crowd of strangers, trusting only in my inner soul that it was the right place to be and the right time to be there. In doing so, every tear shed released pain; every note sung echoed within; every new friend embraced reminded me that “I” was a safe place to be.  It seems like magic was what made this weekend happen, but it wasn’t magic; it was magical people, working hard, owning their commitment for a better world, and letting the light and the love shine through their music and their souls. I am truly eternally grateful to each and every one of you — far too many to list gracefully here — and, again, humbled by all you are and all you do.  Thank you. And, till we meet again (next year!!), yasher koach and — Oconomowoc or BUST! 🙂  I love you. May peace be with you. Shalom.”

“Opening a door inside our hearts, minds and souls allows us to receive new ideas, innovative approaches, and deep expressions of emotion and thoughts from peers, colleagues and friends. That happens constantly at Shabbat Shira.”- Rabbi Larry Karol in his blog  Opening doors, emanating light – reflections on Shabbat Shira which can be found here