Next TLS: Friday, May 17!

Next TLS - Friday, May 17! - See below for timing and other info

Find out upcoming TLS dates when they are announced by checking here or joining the email list or the Facebook group.

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Email: tikkunleilshabbat[at]yahoo[dot]com

TLS meets this Friday, May 17!

Please join us this week to welcome Shabbat, to recharge and find joy and comfort in community. We are looking forward to being together for TLS on Shabbat this week, the only Shabbat we will meet during the Omer (period between Passover and Shavuot). Please invite your friends! If you have any questions, please contact the organizers at

Services: 6:30 PM
Potluck: 7:45 PM - approximately
Place: The Festival Center

1640 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

We will meet in an indoor space at the Festival Center in Columbia Heights for a songful, soulful Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma'ariv, followed by potluck dinner. TLS will provide dessert! Covid rapid testing will be required and masks will be optional for this indoor gathering. To further mitigate Covid risks, there will be air filtration units and optional outdoor space for the potluck portion. Please get tested prior to attending, or allow for extra time to get tested at TLS. TLS will provide Covid rapid tests for day-of testing. Free Covid rapid tests are provided at DC public libraries. More Covid protocols below.

Please RSVP on OneTable!


Please bring a vegetarian entree or salad/side to share. There will be one table for hekhsher-only (i.e., kosher-certified) vegetarian items and another table for vegetarian items. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN REUSABLE PLATE AND UTENSILS (including serving utensils). TLS will supply plates and utensils (for those who can't bring their own), challah, grape beverages and dessert!

We will provide masks and hand sanitizer. We will provide siddurim (prayer books) for services.


All TLS attendees aged 5+ must either be (1) fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 or (2) ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to age or medical reasons. Attendees must attest to their vaccination status (or ineligibility), either by RSVPing or when arriving at an event.

Masks are optional.

All TLS attendees must get rapid tested on the day of attendance.

All attendees must attest that (1) they have not been feeling sick, (2) neither themselves nor anyone in their immediate family/pod has had COVID in the past ten days (i.e., first symptoms or first positive test within the past ten days), and (3) they do not believe that they or any immediate family/pod member have been exposed to COVID in the past ten days; or, if they have been exposed, they have tested negative at least five days from their most recent exposure. For the safety of the community, if you are feeling sick, or if you or an immediate family/pod member have tested positive for COVID in the past ten days, please do not attend. We urge anyone who tests positive for COVID within two weeks after the event to alert the organizers (

Safe Space Team & anti-harassment policy

September 2018 -- Like most of the country, TLS has learned a lot from this year's #MeToo movement. TLS is committed to fostering an atmosphere of respect and safety for everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual identity, gender identity, Jewish affiliation or lack thereof, kashrut practice, disability status, etc. In that light, this year we established the Safe Space Team (SST), a group that works within TLS and with other Jewish orgs to combat harassment of any kind and to establish spaces of affirmative consent. SST members wear purple badges in order to be easily identified.

What is affirmative consent, in the context of TLS's sacred space? 
To put it plainly, it is best to ask before touching another person, even a friend. If "would you like a hug?" feels long to you, open your arms and make a questioning sound, like "hmm?" Give the other person a chance to say yes or no. A lack of resistance does NOT equate to consent. A hug can be a source of comfort and affection when engaged in with mutual consent but can amount to assault without it.

In terms of verbal harassment, TLS asks congregants to refrain from making sexualized remarks while in our sacred space. We further ask everyone to remember not to "other" other people. Asking an LGBTQ person when or how they came out, for example, others them and will probably make them feel uncomfortable. Asking a person of color if they converted is another example of othering language.

TLS is actively working to compose more guidelines and priorities around ensuring everyone's comfort and safety. Feel free to reach out with any concerns, questions, or suggestions at

Getting Involved & Special Events

****TLS has a Tachlist, or group of volunteers who assist with setting up and leading TLS services. If you would like to get involved in the Tachlist, please email tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com.

Donate to Sustain TLS!

Help sustain TLS for the coming year!

Tikkun Leil Shabbat is aware that there are many worthwhile organizations worthy of your donations this season and every day. We strongly encourage that you continue to support those organizations, especially now. TLS wants to encourage our community to think about how TLS serves not only as a spiritual haven but as an advocate for social justice as we seek to amplify the voices of those whose work is doing good.
TLS is an entirely lay-led, volunteer-run community, and there are some costs associated with organizing our songful, soulful services and potlucks. We are at risk of losing our physical space if we do not fundraise enough. TLS shines in part because we are a community that gives back. You can donate to TLS by credit card or by sending a check to

ALEPH/Tikkun Leil Shabbat
c/o Lynda Simons
PO Box 35118
Philadelphia, PA 19128

TLS is a Fiscally Sponsored Project of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. ALEPH is a public charity under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3). Contributions for the purposes of TLS are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Footnotes for the Perplexed

Who comes to Tikkun Leil Shabbat? We are Jews from birth, Jews by choice, people committed to both traditional and non-traditional Jewish practice, and people who are not Jewish but are exploring Judaism; Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, Renewal, secular, and Jewish without labels; Sephardi, Mizrahi and Ashkenazi; people with no formal Jewish education, Jewish educators, and people with all other types of Jewish backgrounds. 

We are people of all sexual orientations; people of all genders; and people of all colors; people with visible and invisible disabilities, and able-bodied individuals; Virginians, Marylanders, DC residents, and people from other places. We tend to be heavily 30's and 20's, with attendance by folks of all ages.

What does "Tikkun Leil Shabbat" mean?
First, some vocabulary:

l'taken (v) = to repair or heal
tikkun olam (n) = the holy work of repairing the world
Tikkun Leil Shavuot (n) = The name of our havurah is a play on this term, which refers to the annual all-night Torah study session which spiritually "heals" the world on the holiday Shavuot.

Shabbat (n) = Jewish day of rest from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, when we stop running around trying to accomplish things and make some time to breathe and bless, eat and love.

dvar torah (n) = a teaching or sermon, literally a "word" or "bit" of Torah. In a play on this term, we call each talk we hear about social justice work a "dvar tikkun," a "word of repair" that takes the place of a "dvar torah" at each of our gatherings.

Tikkun Leil Shabbat is a welcoming, restful, songful community where we glimpse redemption at dusk on a Friday evening, eat things with tofu and noodles in them, learn from each others' thoughts and experiences, and educate ourselves -- by hearing a dvar tikkun -- about the good work people are already doing to make our city a gentler and fairer place for everyone who lives here.

What style of services are these?
All of the services are fully egalitarian, full Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv with much singing. Micro variations to the words of the prayers are up to the person leading services. Sometimes we sit in a circle and the service is accompanied by acoustic guitar and percussion. Sometimes we sit facing East and the service is unaccompanied. The style of service is announced in advance.

Are the services interpreted in ASL (American Sign Language)?

Sometimes. Please email tikkunleilshabbat[at]yahoo[dot]com if you would like the service and speaker on a particular date to be interpreted professionally in ASL, or orally interpreted by a trained volunteer. We are grateful to the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning's Community Interpreter Fund for helping with the cost of ASL interpretation.

Is TLS wheelchair accessible? Is there handicapped parking?
Our meeting site at the 15th Street Presbyterian Church building (15th & R) is wheelchair accessible. Enter from the parking lot out back, and take the elevator down to the fellowship hall. Unfortunately, our meeting site at Church of the Pilgrims (2201 P St) is not wheelchair accessible.

What siddur (prayerbook) do you use?
Tikkun Leil Shabbat participants bring a wide range of prayerbooks, including Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Reform, and nondenominational siddurim, and some participants prefer to pray without a printed text. We provide copies of Siddur Chaveirim Kol Yisraeil ("the purple siddur"), which contain the text of the evening service in Hebrew, in English, and transliterated phonetically in English letters.

Can I come just for services and then leave? Can I show up just for dinner?

Yes, and yes. (If you're planning to eat with us, please bring a vegetarian entrée or salad to share.) We generally start dinner approximately 1.5 hours after the posted start time.

What should I wear to Tikkun Leil Shabbat?
Anything you want. You'll see people wearing suits, jeans, and flowing funky garments, with sandals and with dress shoes, with covered and uncovered heads.

What kind of food should I bring?

Please bring a vegetarian entrée or salad to share. Your dish should fit into one of two categories:
1. Option One: Bring a vegetarian contribution (no fish please; dairy and eggs are fine). There's a table where you can place that contribution.
2. Option Two: Purchase a potluck item that is hekhshered (kosher-certified) and vegetarian, or prepare a vegetarian potluck contribution in a kitchen that only uses hekhshered products. There's a table where you can place that contribution.
(If you don't totally understand Option Two, don't stress; just go with Option One, above.)

I keep kosher in a particular way. Will I be able to eat dinner at TLS? 
There is always one table of vegetarian food, and another table of vegetarian food that is hekhshered or prepared in a hekhsher-only kitchen. This makes it possible for as many of us as possible to eat and to contribute food. (Learn more about the "two-table" potluck phenomenon here, or read about our famous system for getting the dishes washed here.)

After services, a handful of participants fill kiddush cups with a wine or grape beverage of their choice, and Tikkun Leil Shabbat participants all say kiddush together. After a break to allow for ritual handwashing, we say a communal motzi over hekhshered challah.

I'm not Jewish. Can I come?
Yes! Please do!

I am Jewish, but I'm probably not "Jewish enough" to come to something like this. Can I come?
Yes, you are, and yes, please do! Is there such a thing as Jewish "enough"? Seems to us like you're probably just the right amount of Jewish. 

I'm not in my twenties or thirties. Can I come?


I'm not a member of the inner circle of Jewish cool people in DC. They all know each other already. Can I come?

Yes! These gatherings gain strength from each person who joins us. (If an inner circle of Jewish coolness exists, we're not in it, either.)

Has Tikkun Leil Shabbat taken any steps to "green" these gatherings?
We've taken a variety of steps to reduce the environmental impact of our gatherings:
  • Our meeting locations are metro accessible (Red line Dupont Circle) and for many attendees, also walkable and bikeable.
  • By gathering for vegetarian meals, we significantly reduce the environmental impact of our Shabbat dinners together. (Eating lower on the food chain, even once a week, is a very powerful way to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions associated with our food consumption -- and it's yummy!).
  • We've taken steps to minimize waste from disposables on both potluck tables. On the vegetarian table, you'll find a colorful collection of cloth napkins we procured on Craigslist and donations from participants -- a volunteer launders them after each TLS. We use reusable tableware: Preserve brand plates and cups made of 100% recycled plastic, previously-loved forks, serving utensils, and other donations from participants. We wash and re-use plastic cutlery for use on the vegetarian table. The hekhsher table also sports its own set of lime-green reusables which get washed separately. 
  • Whenever we can, we collect food waste for composting.
  • We recycle glass, plastic and aluminum containers after TLS meals, diverting some garbage from the waste stream and conserving resources
  • We have heard divrei tikkun speakers on a variety of environmental issues, including the protection of the Anacostia watershed, community gardening, and local and national climate activism. In October of 2009, several TLS participants donated to make it possible for TLS to become an organizational partner in the Jewish Climate Change Campaign.
  • That said, our exuberant potluck gatherings of more than a hundred folks continue to generate a lot more garbage than we'd like. We encourage TLS participants to bring food in reusable containers that you'll take home to minimize the trash we generate. And TLS participants can further reduce TLS' environmental "footprint" by choosing local and organic foods for your potluck offering whenever you can, and by walking or biking to TLS.
"Greening" our community's practices is an ongoing process, and your suggestions for further improvements are welcome: tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com.

Who organizes Tikkun Leil Shabbat?
Tikkun Leil Shabbat is a lay-led havurah entirely organized by volunteers.

Participants in the TLS community bring potluck dishes to share, lead services, suggest and give divrei tikkun, wash dishes, and find all sorts of lovely and creative ways to enrich our community.

The Tachlist is a crew of particularly reliable TLS volunteers who are periodically called upon to help set up, clean up, and otherwise keep Tikkun Leil Shabbat running smoothly. (Tachlis = "nitty gritty" in Yiddish.) To join the list, email tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com.)

The Tomchei Tikkun are the coordinating team of Tikkun Leil Shabbat. (Tomchim ="supporters" in Hebrew.) The Tomchei Tikkun take an ongoing and active role in both the logistics of each TLS gathering and the opportunities for decision-making and community maintenance that arise between TLS gatherings. Tomchei Tikkun serve on davenning, meal coordination, divrei tikkun, communications and other committees along with other TLS volunteers. Every six months or so, the team's members choose to rotate off or remain on the Tomchei Tikkun, and any openings are filled through an application process. Currently, the Tomchei Tikkun are Sam Bloom, Michael Freiman, Joel Heller, Judith Hellerstein, Kat Rother, Melanie Schwartz and Shanni Silberberg.

Can I help? I'd like to get involved.
Yes! If you're interested in helping set up, clean up, lead services, give a d'var tikkun, or help in some other way, email: tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com.
You're also welcome to make a financial contribution, which will enable Tikkun Leil Shabbat to secure a space to meet going forward. Please contact the email address to learn more about donating.

Where can I go on the "off" weeks?

Tikkun Leil Shabbat generally meets on Friday night once every three weeks. But Shabbat, and opportunities to find meaning in Jewish community, come around far more frequently.

If you'd like to gather with some friends for davenning(prayer) and dinner on a Friday night that Tikkun Leil Shabbat isn't meeting, you can borrow our "Shabbat to go" supplies: a challah cover, kiddush cup, candles, and a set of purple siddurim. (The books include not only the text of the Friday evening service but also the table blessings, the Birkat haMazon/grace after meals, and the lyrics of zmirot/Shabbat songs for after-dinner singing.) Borrowing the books etc. will require coordinating a pick-up time at the Church of the Pilgrims (where the books currently live between TLS's), so email at least a week in advance if you anticipate wanting to make use of TLS resources at your own Shabbat gathering: tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com.

Looking for a Jewish community to participate in when TLS isn't meeting? Email tikkunleilshabbat at yahoo dot com with a description of what sort of community or gathering you're looking for, and we'll be happy to refer you to minyanim, havurot or congregations in the area.


Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COJEL)'s Jewish Energy Guide: Lights Unto the Nation, by Joelle Novey, March 2013 
"Washington’s Green Shuls"

Break the Chain Campaign blog, by Tiffany Williams, August 2012
What You Can Do to Help Trafficking Survivors"
"I was honored to be invited to help with the d’var tikkun at Tikkun Leil Shabbat ... I had a fantastic introduction by a community member, during which I realized that workers might have had a few more rights under ancient Jewish law then they have now under [Department of Labor] regulations … but I digress ... I encourage any of our Jewish supporters to consider attending this unique service, which has a strong eco-social justice focus, and a bunch of great people!"

Sojourners, November 2011
"Standing Up for the Earth: Largest U.S. Climate Action Says No to Pipeline. "
(Tikkun Leil Shabbat appears in caption of photo in print edition.)

Asian Journal
, September 2011
"Diverse Faith Communities Nationwide Launch Dream Sabbath Campaign"
Washington Examiner
, by Liz Essley, August 2011
"Jacob Feinspan"

PresenTense Magazine,
by Rachel Krauser, April 2011
"Woman to Watch"

Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
by Sue Fishkoff, March 2011
"Turning Purim on Its Head with Social Action instead of Drunkenness", by Anna Batler, February 2011
Tikkun Leil Shabbat: Be the change you wish to see in your potluck community

Kosher Nation, by Sue Fishkoff, 2010
in Chapter 6, "Beyond Manischewitz: Kosher Wine Aims High," pages 119-121

Empowered Judaism,
by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, February 2010
"Our Sponges Are Praying: How a Dish System Reflects Pluralism, Environmentalism, Egalitarianism, and Community at Tikkun Leil Shabbat in Washington DC" by Joelle Novey

Hadassah Magazine
, August/September 2009"Individualism and Community" by Rahel Musleah
New York Times, 8/22/2009

New York Times, 11/28/2007

The Jewish Daily Forward, 5/4/2007

The Washington Jewish Week, 6/1/2006

TIME Magazine, 2/27/2006

Be'chol Lashon