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; LGBTQ+ 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.
What siddur (prayerbook) does Fabrangen use?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are using an online version of the Siddur Lev Shalem.
We rotate among three siddurim for Shabbat morning, Siddur Lev Shalem, Conservative (twice a month), Kol Haneshamah, Reconstructing Judaism and Siddur Eit Ratzon, Independent.
They reflect our goal for a primarily traditional Hebrew text, contemporary and traditional English readings and commentary, non-gendered (English) language, accessibility, openness and variety.
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?
Fabrangen 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 Yameinu – Renew 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?
Our Shabbat services location at the Washington Ethical Society at 7750 16th Street NW is fully accessible from the front entrance. Unfortunately, there is no accessible parking at the moment, so individuals with mobility restrictions may need to have someone drop them off in front of the building. If you are in this situation, please let the coordinator know in advance so that she can arrange to have someone meet you and provide assistance as needed.
We normally rent space for High Holidays at 1313 New York Avenue NW (the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church). 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. During the pandemic, we are holding our High Holiday services virtually.
What about children at Fabrangen?
Children have been an important part of our community and are invited to participate in all of our activities. We encourage children to be present during services, sitting with their parents or other adult Fabrangen friends.
Does Fabrangen have a Hebrew school?
Fabrangen does not have a Hebrew school. Fabrangen children have gone to Jewish day schools, religious schools at other congregations, or have been home schooled.
Jewish education for Fabrangen’s children and young adults (through age 29) is supported through the Children’s Education Scholarship Fund. This fund enables Fabrangen to assist families to provide special Jewish educational experiences. The Children’s Education Scholarship Fund has been used for Jewish summer camp programs (either residential or day camp) and for group trips to Israel, (e.g. Birthright Israel). Other possible Jewish experiences that the fund can cover include but are not limited to:
- Aleph Kallah
- National Havurah Committee Chesapeake Retreat
- National Havurah Committee Summer Institute
- Rising Song Institute
What about Bar and Bat Mitzvahs?
Yes, children can have their B’nai Mitzvah at Fabrangen. A bar or bat mitzvah at Fabrangen is part of a regular Fabrangen service in which the bar or bat mitzvah child participates. Families can select the date for their children’s B’nai Mitzvah and structure a service that is appropriate for each child. Fabrangen 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 email@example.com.
How much are Fabrangen dues?
Fabrangen has a three tiered “fair share” dues structure.
|Lower Rate Dues||$240||$20|
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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.