Rebooted Downtown Shabbat Service heads uptown

Tifereth Israel Congregation. File photo.

Cantors Larry Paul and Robyn Helzner’s Downtown Shabbat service, which led congregants in music for 16 years at Sixth & I Synagogue before ending in December, will have a new run beginning March 27 at Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington.

“The fourth Friday night of every month, Robyn and I would lead this service,” said Paul of their years downtown.

Paul is a member of Tifereth Israel, a Conservative congregation. Last fall, he approached Rabbi Ethan Seidel and proposed the service. “When he approached me about this idea, I enthusiastically agreed,” Seidel said. Helzner agreed to restarting the service, Paul said.

The congregation has a small Friday night service of 15 to 30 people,” Seidel said. By contrast, Downtown Shabbat attracted up to 200 people. “So this will be new for us.”

Paul said that Sixth & I approached him and Helzner last May, and told them that it was ending the service.

“It was time for us to transition to having our clergy lead all of our spiritual services,” said Heather Moran, Sixth & I’s CEO.

“Transitions happen,” said Paul, who led the services as a volunteer.

Paul also led High Holiday services for 11 years at Sixth & I with Rabbi Avis Miller, rabbi emeritus of Adas Israel Congregation. Last fall they held their last service, after Sixth & I cancelled it.


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