First Shabbat back in the city after more than a month.
Kol Zimrah was standing room only on Friday night. The service was led solidly by NAF, with a combination of KZ favorites (Friedman, Carlebach, etc.), NAF originals, and R.E.M. tunes. Our many out-of-town visitors included the a cappella group from the Charles E Smith Jewish Day School in the DC area. The overall level of spirit was high, with two concentric circles dancing for an unmeasured amount of time at the end of Lecha Dodi. The KZ community has really stepped up to take ownership of KZ, more than ever before. The service had a wide age range, with some younger children, the high school students from DC, college students home already for the summer, KZ regulars in their 20s and 30s, and the SAJ crowd. Dinner was one of the best "potlucks" ever, thanks to a massive contribution of food by the DC contingent. Dinner included an impromptu performance by the a cappella group, singing of zemirot and niggunim, and a shir chadash led (if the word "led" even applies) by SYFF. The latter was reminiscent of the free-form vocal jams that Phish would do at the end of "You Enjoy Myself". (My favorite was the one in Greensboro that led into an a cappella version of "Proud Mary".) KZ continues on June 17 at the SAJ, and then goes outside on July 8, August 12, and August 26.
The dar on Saturday morning was also standing room only (with some of the same visitors), and also had a high level of spirit, facilitating substantive insights that will go in another post. Kudos to the dar for recognizing that significant life events don't relate exclusively to marriage and reproduction; kiddush was sponsored in honor of three graduations and an engagement, and each of these received an enthusiastic response (not just the engagement). (Kudos also to CAJE and to its Operations Coordinator, James W. Lapin. The "Kol hakavod" column in the latest Jewish Education News (review still to come) recognizes him for recently donating a kidney to a stranger. I can't even imagine.) The coolest thing ever happened right before kiddush. They announced that there would be a class in the back room about Modim, and then I said "Modim modim", and then everyone said "SHHHHH!!!"
And then the first lunch of the year in Central Park! But not the last.