Friday, January 29, 2010

Fri. night **LOCATION** - Feb. 5

LOCATION update -
Feb 5th Fri night Zoo Minyan will be... in lovely Mt. Pleasant!
At Ken Goldstein's house in Mt. Pleasant
For address and directions, check your Zoo Mail next week, or write to

Hope to see you there!

Fri. night Zoo Minyan - Feb. 5

Happy Tu BiShvat! Hope you enjoy some fruits and nuts and have a good, satisfying spiritual experience for this holiday of nature and cycles. And spring may be just around the corner (--though it looks like we might get snow tomorrow!)

***** Next week is Fri night Zoo Minyan *****

We'll have spirited songful Davening and delicious dinner (catered entrees from Sienna's). We'll meet in: Plan A - Mt. Pleasant, Backup plan - Woodley Park -- stay tuned for next week's email. We're seeking davenning leaders, and there's always room for davenning treats, special niggunim, etc., just write back to to volunteer (or even to host.)

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

The Details:
Next Friday night, Feb. 5
Shmoozing plus set-up: 6:00pm
Rockin' Kabbalat Shabbat -- 6:30pm sharp!
Followed by Ma'ariv, dinner, singing, drashing, more shmoozing....

At the home of (TBD - we'll get back to you)

For directions, check your Zoo mail next week, or email

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 can:
  1. Contribute to the kitty to help pay for the entree AND / OR
  2. Bring a side dish, salad, 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

is coming!


For more FRIDAY NIGHT INFO, get all the details here. And for all the upcoming Friday night dates (through March) & Shabbat Morning dates (through May), check the Zoo Minyan Google calendar (yep, it's there, just to your left, top of the page).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Naming names - Sat. Jan. 9

First Zoo Minyan of 2010 -- this shabbos!

We're meeting this Saturday at Stefan's, in Cleveland Park -- details below.

Along with beginning a new year on the Gregorian calendar, we begin a new book of the Torah this shabbot. Shemot - "names" - begins where we left off, with a listing of Jacob's descendants. But the genealogy quickly diverges from the patterns of Breishit: no "begats", no multi-generational history, and no wives. Just the iconic 12 sons of Jacob, who are now (and forever more) called "Bnai Yisrael".

We don't even get a repetition of the "70 souls" who came down into Egypt. And when we do get a bit of a later generation's genealogy (Moshe's) -- it's anonymous! Chapter 2 begins:

וַיֵּלֶךְ אִישׁ, מִבֵּית לֵוִי; וַיִּקַּח, אֶת-בַּת-לֵוִי. וַתַּהַר הָאִשָּׁה, וַתֵּלֶד בֵּן

Now a man from the House of Levi went and took (to wife) a daughter of Levi. The woman became pregnant and bore a son.

One quick interpretation: this is the transition from the family-history of Breishit to the emerging people-hood of Shemot. Even Tanach, with its penchant for names, can't single out all two million people who left Egypt. And yet the sefer is called "Shemot", because individuals are still the essence of history. We should name names (in the positive sense) as often as we can -- as the parshah does, by beginning with the heroic actions of Shifra and Puah.

So it's time to name some names...hopefully yours. Zoo Minyan isn't necessarily heroic, but it happens because of the supportive actions of individuals. Sign up for some leyning if you can. Volunteer to lead something for davenning, or offer to add something to enrich our kavannah. Schlep a sefer torah, or bring some Zoo Minyan veggies. Write back to to add your name to a wonderful shabbat!

The Details:

We'll be gathering for davenning, lunch, shmoozing, singing, etc., this Saturday in Cleveland Park (within walking distance of the Zoo, as is Zoo Minyan custom) at Stefan's house.

Volunteers still sought for Zoo Minyan veggies, davenning treats (i.e. Kavanot or creative tidbits, not actual food ;) also Torah Transporter, and davening leaders – write back to

If you'd like to Leyn please either use the self-service Google docs leyning spreadsheet to sign up, or email

The Details:

Zoo Minyan
This Saturday, Parshat Shmot, 9 Jan.
10am sharp, with a rousing Psukei d'Zimrah
Pot-luck dairy/veggie lunch -- main courses especially appreciated

At the home of Stefan, in Cleveland Park. For directions, check your Zoo mail, or email

May your 2010 be a Shana Tovah!