February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month, and we will hear from Mount Zion member Jessalyn Akerman-Frank on Friday, February 24 during services. Jessalyn (she, her, hers), who is Deaf, works as the Director of Community and Civic Engagement at the Minnesota Commission for the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. She is community centric advocate and activist who has founded two non-profits, Minnesota Deaf Queers and Deaf Equity. She is the only Deaf Yoga teacher in Minnesota that teaches accessible yoga to Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing through American Sign Language, and tactile communications. She is a is married to Lys Akerman-Frank and together they raised two children Sam and Ben Akerman-Knopf.
We move from the formality of the sanctuary to our social hall to create a more intimate service. Our singing is accompanied by violin, guitar, keyboard, and percussion. The evocative music opens our hearts and awakens our spirits.
Shabbat is always for the soul, but there is a particularly soulful atmosphere at “Shabbat for the Soul” services. It is a more contemplative worship style with the congregation sitting in the round. We use a single page handout for the prayers. A slower pace enables us to focus on the meditative effect of the music, the potential for deeper awareness and prayer, and the feeling of community.