Friday, February 4, 2011

15 This Past Shabbat!

There were 8 people at our Wine & Cheese Kabbalat Shabbat on Feb. 4th and 7 Online. A new record 15 people at Sim Shalom Services! Thanks to all who attended. We're going for 20 by June!

Monday, December 6, 2010

JSLI- Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute

The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute

The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI) offers a unique course of study for the preparation of modern and liberal rabbis based anywhere in the world. You will not need to uproot yourself or your family to study at our rabbinic seminary as we join together online as Havurah each week. Our community is thriving and we welcome you to join us! JSLI strives to foster an open minded and liberal community of rabbis dedicated to spreading the joy of Jewish thought and rituals. In our rabbinical seminary program, wefocus on preparing our rabbinical students to meet the needs of Jewish unaffiliated and interfaith families. It is our goal to train Modern Rabbis in as little as one year.

Our Program

Our rabbinical seminary's curriculum is built on E-Courses and weekly online video conference Havurot. Web based technology allows us to work with students anywhere in the world. At each session, we join together in prayer (daven), explore the weekly Torah portion and discuss relevant rabbinic responsa. Each month we also focus on Jewish rituals and life-cycles. Our unique backgrounds and skills are the gifts we share as we join in Havurah and journey on our path toward the goal of rabbinic ordination. Along the way, we strive to build community and friendships that will last our lifetimes.

Why we are Different

JSLI's focus is as a rabbinical school which trains clergy to minister to the specific needs of almost 50% of the USA's Jewish population- the Jewish unaffiliated and interfaith. Today's liberal Jewish world calls out for a new paradigm in the training of it's clergy. Our spiritual leaders learn to teach basic Talmud and Torah, lead prayer services, give inspirational sermons, provide pastoral care, officiate at weddings and funerals, chant Torah & Haftara, prepare children and adults for Bar/Bat Mitzvah, blow shofar, develop and manage websites and so much more.

At JSLI, it is possible to graduate in as little as one year as advanced standing is extended for those students who can demonstrate proficient skills. Contact us at

Rabbi Steven Blane JSLI- Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute

Sim Shalom Havurah of NYC

Sim Shalom Havurah of New York City's Kabbalat Shabbat Online synagogue services are exactly as Rabbi Blane has always envisioned perfect liberal Jewish worship services to be. As a Rabbi and Cantor who has spent more than 20 years in the pulpit of several traditional synagogues, the majority of who's membership was very liberal in practice- he had often felt sad for anyone outside of the regular synagogue service attending community who came in search of comfort or joy.

According to Rabbi Blane, traditional services and liberal Jews are obviously not meant for each other on a regular basis. Says Rabbi Blane, "In the mainstream movements, if we ever welcomed a new attendee to our services to celebrate a Life Cycle Simcha or to say Kaddish, chances were very high that after we all fumbled over them in an attempt to get them to join, or we bored them with very, very long services, we would never see them again until the High Holidays. Maybe." Still this cycle of meeting the needs of the few regular attendees and choosing not to adapt to meet the needs of the larger communities that synagogues serve is endlessly perpetuated. Boards and committees and rabbis become enmeshed in political wrangling that exhausts many a community.

But at Havurah Sim Shalom of New York City, synagogue services are joyful, musical, participatory, and one-hour total in length. On Fridays from 7-8PM EST each week, Rabbi Blane plays guitar (or ukelele) and leads the online (and once monthly in person NYC Havurah) community in prayer, adds explanations of our liturgy and rituals, and lights Shabbat Candles. Online and in-person we sing, smile, welcome each other, and pray from the siddur that is projected on the screens of our online Havurah's computers. The entire International Sim Shalom community says Torah Blessings and then reads from the Torah and the portion of the week, using the traditional trope (melody). We also sing a prayer for the sick and say a Mourner's Kaddish for those who have passed. Come to an International Synagogue Service. Come to Sim Shalom! Online Kabbalat Shabbat Services are every Friday at 7pm. Please RSVP HERE for our Online Kabbalat Service. A "link" will be emailed to you so you can join us live!

Rabbi Steven Blane

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Feedback for Rabbi Blane

Shalom. I take great pride in creating and officiating at ceremonies that meet couple's needs in every way and I hope you were pleased with your ceremony. If you were happy with everything, I would be very grateful if you would post some comments here on my Blog. Just click on "comments" below.
Thank you very much.
Peace, love & joy to you,
Rabbi Steven Blane