Rabbi Janie Grackin, storyteller, author, family life educator, professional development facilitator, storahteller was a special guest at Sinai Synagogue in Leeds for Shabbat 5-6 of June. She was invited to speak at Sinai’s monthly Chavurah supper, where she introduced the concept of intergenerational services, talking about “lowering the barriers, without lowering the bar”. in order to make services accessible to all, without reducing meaning.
The Shabbat morning service was enlivened by the teaching of songs, storytelling and including the whole congregation, from toddlers to pensioners. ‘I loved the call and response way of saying Shema,’ said one participant, ‘with each half of the congregation calling alternately. Rabbi Janie was right when she said it enhances atmosphere and connection to tefilla (prayer).’
Ariella Glatherine, aged 7, said, ‘I really liked the story Rabbi Janie read. It’s called ‘As Good as Anybody’ and it’s about being fair.’
Following the service, Rabbi Grackin led the Religion School teachers in a study session. Director of Education Gwynneth Lewis said, ‘The Religion School teachers were really inspired by their session with Rabbi Janie. The whole of Shabbat was a great experience.’
Rabbi Grackin thanked the Sinai community for the warm welcome she received. ‘I had the most enjoyable weekend with the congregants, families, and teen educators.’
Based in Florida, Rabbi Janie Grackin has been a community leader for over 15 years, as well as performing countless programmes for professional development, and engaging groups of all ages in making Torah alive – accessible and meaningful – creating spiritually transformational events in the US, Europe and Israel.