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Friday Evening Sabbath Service with Marc Gafni

The tracks below are in the order of the stages of a Kabbalat Shabbot service with Marc Gafni and Shimon Lev Tahor. It took place at the Hodaya center in Tel Aviv.

More on the context and background below.

Marc Gafni’s open heart and love of God and man infused every service. Hearts opened, untransformed wounds began to heal, and people were often able to enter a divine space of realization, flowing with love and goodness.

For a period of time, every week in Tel Aviv, hundreds of people gathered to know that LOVE WAS MORE POWERFUL THAN FEAR.

That it was possible to meet and embrace the Shekina in this world.

The opening track is a musical introduction, and the tracks below it contain a mixture of song and Torah Dharma from the last Kabbalat Shabbot of Bayit Chadash in its first stage in April 2006.

With the help of God, we will renew these holy gatherings at a time when all hearts that remain closed and tight, holding on for dear life to fear and posturing, open in integrity, fierce grace, authentic and integrated love, and holy audacity.

Sh-Nizkeh; Let it be so!

One of the programs that Marc Gafni initiated in Bayit Chadash in its fifth year was a weekly Friday night prayer gathering. The gathering began at the Bayit Chadash center in Yafo and was later moved to Hodaya, a spiritual and social club for the general spiritual scene in Tel Aviv.

This gathering combined transmission of Hebrew Dharma with meditative chanting and prayer, woven together with ecstatic music and song.

Marc Gafni poured his heart, soul, and being into every service. His weekly custom was not merely to lead the service, but not to leave until he was privileged to talk or engage in some genuine and authentic way with every single participant at the service. By the grace of God, these weekly gatherings became a wonderful large gathering which hopefully planted many important seeds in the soil of Israeli culture.

Guest teachers at the Shabbatot included Harsita and Anamika, Shay Tubali, Gershon Winkler, Rafik Kimchi, Parashakthi, Gabriel Cousens, and others.

Each week, a different group of musicians would co-lead the service. One group was lead by Shimon and Or Lev Tahor. Marc Gafni and Shimon co-led many sabbath chanting services both in Bayit Chadash and at festivals around Israel.

A second group was led by Gabriel Meyer, who worked for many years with Marc Gafni at the Shabbatot of Bayit Chadash, as well as at festivals and in other contexts in Israel.

A third group was led by Or, Shantam, and Felicia Zohar. This group emerged out of a sacred song workshop which took place for a full year under the mantle and support of Bayit Chadash, and eventually gave birth to the band Guru Guru, lead by Shantam Or and Felicia.

While Shimon and Gabi entered the space of creating shabbot chant and prayer in the Israeli alternative street from a different door then did Marc Gafni, they entered it at the same time and found ways of creating space together―honoring each other’s unique selves and soul prints.

Marc Gafni invested an enormous amount of heart, soul, and commitment to support the independent and autonomous development of Shantam and Or as teachers and creators of sacred space.

The Israeli Jewish Renewal, or alternative scene, emerged in no small part from two parallel but unrelated efforts. The first was a Jerusalem Institute run for a time by Marc Gafni, and the second was the Acco Festival where Gabriel Cousens organized the Metatron players. Both of these took place at the same time and gave birth in different ways to what might be called the third wave of the Israeli spiritual renewal, alternative scene.

This wave was preceded by organizations like Gesher and Melitz in the first wave, and Oranim and Elul in the second wave.

provided by Marc Gafni

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