#Carley-barley, try-chitza'd, partnership-style leading, old-skool liturgy with new-fangled Kavanot
Roots uses Hebrew liturgy, while working to make the services as inclusive as possible. These services are held for all daytime services on Rosh Hashanah, and all Yom Kippur services from Kol Nidre through to Neilah.
#open-seating, multi-gendered service leading throughout, why-chitza, trad-prog elements
Shoots has been a key part of what makes GRJ for as long as many of us can remember. Shoots services draw from a range of liturgies and experiment with different service formats. These services have open seating and all roles can be fulfilled by any gender.
As there's no Chazan, no Rabbi and indeed no choir, the only voices to be heard are ours. We are all participants in GRJ and want everyone to feel inspired and enthused to join in. Some tunes will be familiar, others perhaps less so, but please do sing or hum/’lai-lai-lai’ along. It will also make our gracious service leaders feel really great.
One of the key aims of Grassroots Jews is to create a prayer and High Holiday experience that has meaning, colour and depth. We want to engage with the liturgy while allowing everyone to be themselves. When you come, you'll bring your own unique take on this wonderful evolving project in exploratory and experiential spirituality. We love praying, sharing, learning and celebrating together. We even create resources and seek out mentors amongst ourselves so that Torah verses in the services can be chanted by GRJ participants - some of us for the very first time.
Our services and sessions straddle multiple traditions and innovations. We're delighted to be formed by Orthodox, Masorti, Renewal, Reform, Liberal, Unaffiliated, confused, amused and wandering Jews and their loved ones. Below are some further details on what you can be part of creating - in advance or on the day - and when you sign up to come, you can let us know how you'd like to take part.
Experimentation is the stuff Grassroots is made of. You can pick and choose which services or sessions to go to, and have a mix between them or choose one that suits you more. All GRJ services are highly engaged with Jewish traditions and all services have elements of innovation. What we find is unique to all services at GRJ is that every single service has two co-leaders. This pair will have planned the format, music, words and reflections of the service together. We love this approach and we find it invites a more collective prayer experience.
This year, about 40 special souls (approx 10% of our gathered community!) will step up and read from the Torah, some for the very first time. Many have told us that taking part in this is the highlight of their High Holiday experience. GRJ Torah services are completely communally led, with help from a team of friendly mentors, and a handy set of recordings.
Shofar blowing is also open to all genders, with certain parameters to fit into the Orthodox framework. For this it would help if you can already toot a trumpet. No matter how new, rusty, or polished you are, you will have a chance to step up when you sign up.
There are many ways to engage with the High Holidays, and we find that each year the GRJ community is full of friends who are able to lead us in a rich programme of parallel sessions: from meditation to qi gong, from study sessions, to singing circles. Each session connects with the themes of the day as perceived by the facilitator, and provides depth on your journey, whether you dive in, or just dip your toe!
Every year the number of families with small children who attend Grassroots increases. We have moved quickly from a community founded by dozens of 20-30 somethings to a community of hundreds, which now includes our parents, our grandparents and our children.
We welcome babies and children to attend all elements of our high holy days celebration. Feel free to breastfeed wherever you wish. We are creating a dedicated family space where appropriate books, toys, snacks, bottle washing and changing facilities are included. However, the family room is open to all, with festival-themed games and songs for you to play and learn with your children.