Congregation Etz Chaim’s Offerings
Kabbalat Shabbat Celebration — Friday Evenings
Our Kabbalat Shabbat celebration starts our weekly shabbaton. Shabbat is a mystical, spiritually activating ceremony celebration. It creates a quiet mind by observing the 39 avodot, which helps us move beyond mental clutter to peacefully receive HaShem. As part of that we dance to greet the enhanced power of the Shekhina energy (Sacred Feminine) on the planet and in all of creation. The Shabbat ceremony is accompanied by meaningful ritual, spiritual teachings and stories, song, dance, and meditation. The ceremony is led by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD and his wife, the Rebbetzen Shanti Golds Cousens.
Smicha M’Shefa (Haniha) Meditation – Friday Evenings at Shabbat Ceremony
Smicha m’Shefa (Haniha) is also known as a profound initiation blessing into the “decent of grace” and is a rare opportunity to awaken the Shekhinah energy. The Shekhinah is the inherent spiritualizing force within each of us that often lies dormant until it is awakened. Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD has been instructed and empowered by his spiritual teachers to be a vehicle for this potentially life-changing initiation and transmission of divine energy. In the Torah lineage, it is part of the Great Torah Way. Moshe gave smicha m’shefa to Yehoshua in Devarim 34:9, “And Yehoshua ben Nun was full of the ruach chochmah; for Moshe had laid his hands upon him; and the Bnei Yisroel were heedful unto him, and did as Hashem commanded Moshe.”
Sefer Torah Reading & Parsha Discussion – Saturdays at 9:30 am
Facilitated by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD. The group begins with Torah reading in Hebrew with an authentic 300 year-old Sefer Torah and simultaneous English translation. An informal discussion of the parsha with the rabbi follows. The group concludes with the Shabbat mussaf prayer service and the morning blessing.
Havdalah Meditation, Parsha Discussion, and Ceremony
Saturday Evening at Sunset
Havdalah is the conclusion of Shabbat and building the energy for the beginning of the next week. It is a way of setting the intention to live in awakened consciousness throughout the coming week. The program begins with group meditation followed by an enlightened interpretation of the Torah parsha of the week given by Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD. The program concludes with a Havdalah ceremony and personal blessing from the rabbi to conclude Shabbat and begin the week. People from over 114 countries have participated in the Congregation Etz Chaim’s shabbaton.
Yom Tov & High Holidays
Etz Chaim Synagogue formally observes all the festivals and high holidays, including Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Tu B’Shevat. We hold these special times as windows to assimilate Divine shefa for tikkun ha’nefesh and tikkun ha’olam. All festival meals are kosher, organic, live-food, and vegan, prepared with love by the Tree of Life Café. There is no charge even for the meals. Donations for these are happily accepted, but are absolutely not required or even requested.