The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Late Night Shabbat Striking a Chord with Jewish Young Adults in Nashville

"Late Night Shabbat” has quickly become the signature event by Micah-Nections, Congregation Micah's social hub for Nashville-Area Jews (and those who are Jewishly curious) in their 20s and 30s. January was the second installment of this new event, which included a shabbat service led by Cantor Josh Goldberg, as well as local Jewish musicians Camden West on electric guitar, Dan Ainspan on Drums, Russel Somer on Bass, as well as Amber Ikeman and Ellie Flier joining on vocals. The music-focused service got the crowd of 75 young Jews singing, moving, and participating, and a mixer activity during the service encouraged everyone in attendance to get to know each other on a deeper level.   

Following the service, a delicious meal was curated, catered, and served by renowned chef Wes Scoggins. Better known as the Jewish Cowboy,” Scoggins combines traditional Sephardic, Ashkenazi, and Mizrahi Jewish recipes with southern cooking flair.  

 

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Chef Wes Scoggins, a.k.a. the Jewish Cowboy, prepares Texas Tagine, his own spin on a Sephardic lamb stew
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Cantor Josh Goldberg and the Micah-Nections band lead shabbat worship, filling Congregation Micah’s large social hall.  

While the crowd was enjoying a shabbat meal, they also got treated to an outrageously funny comedy set by up-and-coming comedian, Marcus Lustig, a regular at Zanies comedy club, and soon to headline at the "Netflix is a Joke" comedy festival in Los Angeles. Once Lustig finished his own set, to great applause, he transitioned into emcee, and brought up a series of other performers from the community who wowed the crowd with their talents including original songs, standup comedy, and a monologue.  

The idea for late night started with Cantor Goldberg hearing some feedback from other Jewish folks his age. While we have been getting some attendance at our regular shabbat services from Millennials and Gen Z-ers, a few folks in that age range told me it was hard for them to get to Brentwood by 6pm, especially those who work in East Nashville and beyond. I wanted to try to create a special Shabbat experience just for this age group, which is notoriously hard to convince to attend synagogue.” 

 

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Attendees eagerly sample the eclectic menu which included Texas Tagine, Cowboy Caviar Salad, Pistachio Cornbread, Sweet Potato Batata Hara and Almond-Orange Texas Sheet Cake with Candied Oranges

The first late-night was in November, which took place in Congregation Micah’s Chapel, with about 30 in attendance. By January, the RSVPs doubled.   

Cantor Goldberg says, I loved the intimate feel we had for the service in the chapel, but for our second installment, we already outgrew the space and had to move to the social hall. I am absolutely thrilled with the turnout we saw at Late-Night Shabbat in January. There is such a wonderful community of young adults in Nashville, including many artists and creatives, who are hungry for community, and I am so pleased that they chose to spend their Shabbat at Micah.”  

Micah-Nections recently received an Emerging Needs grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville which will help support future events put on by Micah-Nections such as this. 

Rabbi Dan Horwitz, Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville CEO, whose book Just Jewish: How to Engage Millennials and Build a Vibrant Jewish Future” was just published by Ben Yehuda Press, comments, "In this era of hyper digital connection and rampant loneliness, there is a real need for substantively Jewish, musical and joyful opportunities for young adults to gather and be in community together in person, and I'm thrilled to see Late-Night Shabbat resonating with so many.” Horwitz will be a guest speaker at the next Late-Night Shabbat, which is Scheduled for March 22nd, starting at 7:30pm and more are planned subsequently every other month. 

 

RSVPs are required and can be found at https://www.congregationmicah.org/micahnections 

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