Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May Day at the Zoo

Come celebrate May Day at Zoo Minyan this Friday night!

May Day's earlier origins include a focus on May Flowers, indeed the Roman goddess of flowers (Flora). Even with the wild gyrations of April weather, what have you noticed blossoming this season? Either literally or figuratively?

At the Zoo Minyan version of May Day, we'll have spirited songful Davening and delicious dinner (catered entrees from Sienna's). We're meeting this week at Deborah & Shalom's house, on the Woodley Park side of the zoo. We're still seeking davenning leaders, and there's always room for davenning treats, a special niggunim, etc., just write back to to volunteer.

Please make a donation toward dinner and/or bring a potluck contribution (veggie/dairy) -- details below.

The Details:
This Friday night, May 1st
Shmoozing plus set-up: 6pm
Rockin' Kabbalat Shabbat -- 6:30pm sharp!
Followed by Ma'ariv, dinner, singing, drashing, more shmoozing....

+++ ABOUT DINNER (it's not just a pot-luck!)

We will have main courses from Siena's! Kosher, lots of dairy plus at
least one non-dairy option, all veggie, and all yummy! Vegetable
lasagna, eggplant parmesan -- send in your requests

For shabbat dinner, the community provides some hearty entrees. You
1) Contribute to the kitty to help pay for the entree
2) Bring a side dish, salad, drink, or desert as a dairy / veggie pot-luck contribution.

Don't worry about whether your kitchen is kosher (or “kosher enough”), everyone gets to contribute. But please be prepared to explain what's in your dish, to help people avoid allergy or kashrut issues.

If you're worried about whether you'll be able to eat at Zoo Minyan, there is always a critical mass of pot-luck contributions with a heksher or cooked in someone's heksher-only kitchen. There are always hekshered challot and grape juice, plus the entree is hekshered. And you'll get to know people as you ask who brought which dish. Questions? Ideas? Want to help? Need the address or directions? Write back to Shabbos is coming!

And don't forget to mark your calendars for the fast approaching May 23rd Zoo Minyan, where the usual joys of Shabbos and Zoo Minyan will be even further enhanced by the opportunity to celebrate the Auf Ruf of Nechama & Toby! Whether you already know them or want to make new friends, all are welcome and encouraged to attend! Grab your leyning slot early, at

For more FRIDAY NIGHT INFO, get all the details here. And for all the upcoming Friday night dates (through September -- can you believe it?), check the Zoo Minyan Google calendar.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Not a good shabbos -- a "great" shabbos

Friday night begins "Shabbat ha-Gadol", the last shabbos before Pesach. We'll be celebrating with a great shabbos at the Zoo Minyan -- and a picnic lunch at the Zoo!

The Details:

Zoo Minyan
This Saturday, Shabbat ha-Gadol, 4 April
10am sharp, with a great Psukei d'Zimrah
Pot-luck dairy/veggie picnic lunch -- bring all your chametz, main courses especially appreciated (note: crumbs left behind at the Zoo are definitely Hefker, ie ownerless)

Last minute volunteers for davenning, davenning treats, Zoo Minyan veggies, and leyning ( are all welcome, just write back to

Davenning at the home of Deborah Hittleman Flank and Shalom Flank in Woodley Park. Write to for directions.

Picnic lunch at the National Zoo, starting at approximately 1:15.
During lunch, we'll have some learning for Shabbat ha-Gadol, including text from the special Yotzer for the day, and/or the haggadah review traditional for the afternoon of Shabbat ha-Gadol. Opportunities for extra brachot abound -- maybe birkat ha-ilanot (the annual blessing on blossoming fruit trees), and certainly mishane ha'briot (the wondrous variety of creation / creatures).

From the Conn Ave entrance, walk down the main path (Olmstead Walk) about 250 yards to the picnic tables at the Panda Cafe -- on the right, opposite the Rhea (who lives just past the Zebra -- and how often do you get davenning directions like *that*?)