FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Fabrangen

What is Fabrangen?

Fabrangen, meaning “bringing together in joy,” is an independent, participatory, and egalitarian Jewish community, led by its members, that was founded in 1971.

It’s my first time at Fabrangen on Shabbat or the High Holidays—what can I expect?

You will be noticed and welcomed!  On Shabbat, expect a service in the round with lots of singing, a Torah reading accompanied by a thought-provoking Torah discussion, and time for snacks and socializing afterwards.  On the High Holidays, expect a larger group with more formal seating, complete services with lots of singing, and Torah readings and commentary.  At all services, there is a creative mix of innovative and traditional worship.

Who comes to Fabrangen?

We are Jews by birth and Jews by choice; married and single; interfaith families; LGBT and straight; families with adopted children and families with biological children; raised Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Renewal, or with no affiliation at all.

I’m not Jewish. Can I attend Fabrangen services and events?

Absolutely!  Everyone is welcome.

Does Fabrangen have a rabbi or cantor?

Fabrangen does not have a rabbi or cantor as the spiritual leader of our community.  However, we do have members who are rabbis and cantors or who are studying to be rabbis.

Where and when are Shabbat Services?

Fabrangen holds weekly Shabbat services beginning at 9:30 am at 7750 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20012 (corner of 16th and Kalmia Road NW).  Our services are egalitarian, led by members, with full participation of men and women.  Services generally end about 12:15 pm.  We have kiddush and a light snack after Shabbat services.

Fabrangen West meets at 10 am on the second Saturday of the month in Northern Virginia.  Services and Torah reading and discussion are followed by a potluck lunch.

What siddur (prayerbook) does Fabrangen use?

Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim Book CoverMost weeks, we use the Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, (2nd Edition) prayerbook, a Reconstructionist Prayerbook, even though our community is not affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement.  One reason we selected this siddur is that both Hebrew and English prayers are gender neutral. It also contains ample transliteration, explanations, and thoughtful readings.

Approximately one Shabbat each month, we use an alternative siddur —Siddur Eit Ratzon by Joe Rosenstein.  This siddur provides a four-column layout — the Hebrew text, translation, transliteration, and commentary – all on the same page.

What happens on Friday nights at Fabrangen?

Once a month on Friday night, we have a potluck dinner at a Fabrangen member’s home.  These dinners are generally held in Northwest DC, Bethesda, or Silver Spring. Guests are welcome to come to these dinners and get to know Fabrangeners. The dates and locations of the dinners are posted on the Fabrangen website calendar.

Does Fabrangen have rules about Shabbat observance?

The community reached consensus on the following guidelines: When participating in a Fabrangen Shabbat or holiday service or activity, there is no writing, drawing, or coloring, no cooking and no use of electrical appliances or electronics. Cell phones should be turned off while in the building.

Does Fabrangen have rules about kosher food?

All food at any Fabrangen service or sponsored activity should be dairy/vegetarian/fish.  Food does not require a hecksher (kosher-certification label) and does not need to be prepared in a kosher kitchen.

Does Fabrangen have High Holiday Services?

Hadesh Yameinu – Renew Our DaysFabrangen provides a full schedule of High Holiday services each year, led by members of the community. Services are open to all, and no tickets are required.  Services are held at 1313 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005 (we rent space at New York Avenue. Presbyterian Church).

We use the Hadesh YameinuRenew Our Days prayerbook for our High Holiday services. It is gender neutral and, together with the High Holiday Companion written by Fabrangen members, provides ample transliterations and explanations.

Is Fabrangen accessible for people with disabilities?  Is parking accessible?

Yes, our Shabbat services location at 7750 16th Street NW is fully accessible, and so is our High Holidays services location at 1313 New York Avenue NW (we rent space at NY Ave. Presbyterian Church).  There is accessible parking behind the building at 7750 16th Street NW.  The High Holidays location is in downtown DC and has no parking, but there are many parking garages within a block or two.  It is also located just two blocks from Metro Center.

What about children at Fabrangen?

Children are an important part of our community and are invited to participate in all of our activities.  We encourage children to be present during services. They often sit with their parents or other adult Fabrangen friends, or read/play quiet games on the floor.

Children’s education programs are offered on  High Holidays. Please check the website for more details on the children’s programs.
If you have questions about the children’s programs, please email children@fabrangen.org.

Does Fabrangen have a Hebrew school?

Fabrangen does not have a Hebrew school.  Some Fabrangen children go to Jewish day school.  Others enroll in religious schools at other congregations.  These include Ohr Kodesh, Kehila Chadasha, and Adat Shalom (in Maryland) and Washington Hebrew, Adas Israel, and Tifereth Israel (in Washington, DC).

Jewish education for children who are Fabrangen members is supported in multiple ways. One benefit that is provided is access to the Children’s Education Scholarship Fund, which is used to assist families to provide appropriate Jewish educational experiences. For example, the Children’s Education Scholarship Fund has been used for children and teens to attend Jewish summer camp (either residential or day camp), participate in the Havurah Institute or the Aleph Kallah, and for teen group trips to Israel.

What about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs?

Yes, children can have their B’nai Mitzvah at Fabrangen. The community decided that a bar or bat mitzvah at Fabrangen is to be a regular Fabrangen service in which the bar or bat mitzvah child participates. Each family can generally select the date for their child’s B’nai Mitzvah and structure a service that is appropriate for each child.  Many members assist the family in locating tutors, dealing with logistics, and helping plan this special day.  Fabrangen expects families planning to have a bar or bat mitzvah to attend services for a period of time prior to the event and for the child to become familiar with the service.  We do not make Fabrangen available to host a bar or bat mitzvah when that service is the only contact that the child or family has with the community.

What is the role of a non-Jewish parent in a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Non-Jewish parents may participate in the Bar/Bat Mitzvah of their child.  Fabrangen has developed a special blessing for a non-Jewish parent to recite in lieu of the traditional blessing when called to the Torah for an aliyah.

How does membership work at Fabrangen?

Anyone can join Fabrangen.  If you have questions about membership, check out our membership page or  email our coordinator at coordinator@fabrangen.org.

How much are Fabrangen dues?

Fabrangen has a three tiered “fair share” dues structure.

REGULAR DUES:                           $600/year per adult member = $50/month

SUSTAINING DUES:                      $900/year per adult member = $75/month

LOWER RATE DUES:                     $240/year per adult member = $20/month

if these options do not fit your personal needs or circumstances, you are welcome to email the Fabrangen Coordinator for a confidential discussion about another dues arrangement.

For more information on our dues structure, see our membership page.

What do dues pay for?

Fabrangen’s budget includes expenses for a part-time coordinator, childcare and teachers on Shabbat and holidays, rent for venues for Shabbat services and High Holidays, and other operating expenses.

How do I make a donation to Fabrangen?

Please click on this link to make a donation to Fabrangen.

Are dues and donations tax deductible?

 Dues and all contributions to Fabrangen are tax deductible.

How is Fabrangen run?

Fabrangen handles its community issues, both short and long term, at monthly Steering Committee meetings.  The Steering Committee consists of 8-10 community members. All members are volunteers, except for our coordinator who is an ex officio member, and who is a paid, part-time employee.  Any member can serve on the Steering Committee.  Meetings are announced in advance and open to all members of the community.

How are major Fabrangen decisions made?

The community makes decisions governing policy, budget, observance, and other matters at Community Meetings, which are held on an as-needed basis. Community decisions are made using the rules of consensus.

What is the role of the Coordinator?

Fabrangen employs a Coordinator whose function is to facilitate community business, handle administrative functions, and help channel the energy of the community on ideas that the community’s members have expressed interest in pursuing.  The Coordinator is also the point of contact for dealing with Fabrangen’s business matters.

How can I sign up for the Fabrangen Announcements?

The Announcements email contains information about upcoming Fabrangen services and activities, as well as events in the wider Jewish community. Enter your email below to sign up for the bi-weekly announcements.

   

How do I get involved?

Please join us at a service, social event, and/or volunteer for one of our social action projects.  If you have questions before you come, please check the Contacts page on this website and email the appropriate person.  or you can always email coordinator@fabrangen.org.  If you would like to donate to support our community, please click here.

I have a question that wasn’t answered here.  Whom can I contact?

 Please contact our coordinator at coordinator@fabrangen.org.