Shira Chadasha @ Penn is a part of the greater Penn Hillel community, and strives to provide Penn’s Jewish student body with spirited and inclusive prayer opportunities. We offer a traditional service that promotes the maximum participation of females and males within a halachic framework. Meeting throughout the semester, Shira Chadasha hosts lively Friday Night and Shabbat day services attended by a diverse group of students from throughout the Penn Hillel community. Shira Chadasha aims to increase awareness and discussion of issues related to prayer and spirituality, gender roles and Jewish Law, and the fostering of inclusiveness in our Jewish communities.
Dates for Fall 2014:
It's a new semester! Join us on the following Friday nights for Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv:
Past Events:April 9th, 2014: We're planning an interfaith event which will be a discussion about women in prayer spaces in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This event is one-of-a-kind and will be an incredible experience!
March 30th, 2013: We hosted Rabbi Martin Lokshin during a bagel brunch roundtable discussion of the halachic issues surrounding partnership minyanim. Read more on the event here.
Rabbi Martin Lockshin is the Chair of Jewish Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. He studied in Israel (where he received rabbinicalordination at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav Kook) and in the United States (where he earned his PhD from Brandeis University). He has been working at York University for the last 32 years, where he is professor of Humanities and Hebrew.
He serves as a Halachic adviser to Partnership Minyans in Toronto and the Midwest.
Purim 2014: We co-hosted a women's megillah reading on the second floor of Hillel!
Fall 2013: We organized the first-ever intercollegiate partnership minyan Shabbaton at Penn! It was a huge success. Interested in planning next year's Shabbaton on your campus? Let us know!
Monday, April 8th at 6PM: We co-sponsored an event in conjunction with the Holocaust Education Committee called "Resistance Through Art."
Wednesday, April 10th at 7PM: We heard from a survivor, Ernie Gross, and Auschwitz liberator, Don Greenbaum to hear their stories. This was one of the most powerful events of the year. Details here.
A Purim morning Women's Megillah reading! 11:00am on Sunday, February 24th.
February 23rd at 4pm: The final installment of our spirituality series--a meditation session followed by Mincha. We'd love for you to join us!
"The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments" -Heschel's The Sabbath
Wednesday, February 20, 6:30pm: Hillel Computer Room - Rabbi Joel Wolowelsky spoke on - Megilla, Zimmun, Kaddish and More New Roles for Modern Women?
Tuesday, Feb 19, 7:00-8:00pm: Orthodoxy and Homosexuality: A Rabbi's Journey and Thoughts
Can one be religious and gay? How does one straddle the cultural and religious divides? What are the religious responses to homosexuality? Orthodox Rabbi Steven Greenberg spoke about his experience coming out and how he reconciles the clash between Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality.
February 11th, 2013: Rabbi YITZ GREENBERG came to Penn as a Scholar-in-Residence on February 11th. He spoke about Orthodoxy and Pluralism.
January 25th, 2013: In a three-part spirituality series entitled "EAT, PRAY, SING," we began to examine Jewish texts on each of the topics and then learn a related spiritual practice. On Friday, January 25 we held our first session on song. There was a short text study leading into a Shira Chadasha tish that lasted until 2am!
November 9th, 2012: We met for a community Shabbat Dinner and Discussion, with a text study session on inclusivity and exclusivity in the Shira Chadasha movement.
October 15th, 2012: Rabbi Professor Daniel Sperber visited our community to deliver a lecture entitled "New Halakhic Frontiers: An Analysis of the Shira Chadasha Movement."
*The audio recording of Rabbi Sperber's lecture can be found here
What is new?
We now have a Facebook Page! Like us on Facebook to keep up to date on what's going on!
We've recently contacted other partnership minyanim on college campuses around the nation--seven in total--and have begun learning about how their Shira Chadasha services are run. If you're interested in learning more about partnership minyanim at Harvard, Yale, Brandeis, Maryland, Michigan, Columbia/Barnard, or NYU, let us know! We'd love to share.
Were you inspired by the Shira Chadasha spirituality series “Eat, Pray, Sing”? If you have any ideas for running your own spirituality session on similar or other topics, we would love to help you organize and advertise them! “Eat, Pray, Sing” got the conversation started, and now we want YOU to continue spreading spirituality in our community. Ideas include, but are not limited to:
-hosting a silent meal
-creating a text-study series around a topic of your choice
-running your own meditation
Please e-mail any of the Shira Chadasha chairs with ideas for your own spirituality initiatives
We're a Friend of the Justice on the Menu Campaign, as organized by SLAP! Find out more here.
What is Shira Chadasha?
Shira Chadasha, Hebrew for "A New Song," was the name adopted by a Jerusalem minyan in 2002, aiming to build a prayer community committed to Halakha (Jewish Law) as well as Feminism. With the support and guidance of leading rabbinic figures, Shira Chadasha offered unprecedented opportunities for women to lead parts of a traditional, Halakhik service, while fostering a moving and song-filled prayer experience.
In recent years, other minyanim modeled after Shira Chadasha have emerged in communities across the globe and on several campuses throughout the U.S.
Since its inception several years ago, Penn's Shira Chadasha minyan has attracted students from throughout Penn's Jewish community. Our lively, Carlebach-style Friday Night services have become a staple of the Penn Shabbat experience. In our minyan, women are encouraged to lead Kabbalat Shabbat, read from the Torah, and receive aliyot. But most of all, we aim to provide an inclusive and warm prayer community here at Penn, bringing together students from all walks of Jewish life in an attempt to cultivate meaningful prayer and Jewish experiences.
We meet at the Penn Hillel Building, in the Berkowitz Room on the 1st Floor. We are a warm and welcoming community and encourage all interested in experiencing our services to attend!
Penn Shira Chadasha is not the only college partnership minyan. Join the listserv of nationwide college Shira Chadasha communities by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We're working on creating a new mechitza for our community. Please contact us for more information on how to get involved!