What they say about us:

My parents were founder members of Shir Hayim. They joined because they wanted to be an integral part of a small Jewish synagogue that would really value their contributions. More recently I am a member because the community is small and warm and inclusive.

Shir Hayim is about its membership. There are many different people as members and individuality and personal contribution are recognised and valued.

I particularly love Friday evening services. There is a small core group of worshippers who make this very special. The services acts to end my week and help me be thankful and understanding of what has gone past. My weekend isn’t the same without attending the service.

I love so many Shir Hayim members. There are so many kind, wise and considerate members who I would aspire to be like. The Rabbi facilitates an amazing spiritual Friday evening service which often manages to be warm and funny at the same time. Essentially the services help me pray. I would urge anyone who wants to try a service to come to a Friday night and see if I am right! I guarantee a warm welcome. Remember it is small but beautiful!

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We are members of Shir Hayim because we love Rabbi Larry Tabick and the intimate, spiritual atmosphere, the singing and the leadership of the shul!

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Thank you and the others in your community who make the Yom Kippur services so special. The singing and the tunes are just lovely and must remind me of the services at West London overflow all those years ago.

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I have been made to feel so welcome at Shir Hayim, from my very first visit – everybody introduces themselves and welcomes you and are always pleased to see you. I was asked to participate at the first Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur services I attended which made me feel not just welcome as a visitor, but part of a community that was glad to have me as a member of it.

My favourite service at Shir Hayim is the Shabbat service on Friday nights – the communal discussion of the parshat ha-shavua is fantastic. Larry emails out a selection of midrashim earlier in the week for us to think about in the lead up to Friday night and it’s fascinating to see where it takes everyone! The Friday night service seems to create a special time and space that helps me put the problems and complaints of the week into perspective and always leaves me feeling optimistic and hopeful.

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I joined Shir Hayim because I was looking for a local Reform shul where women take full part in the services. I enjoy the Shabbat services. There is a quiet, peaceful atmosphere with all of us concentrating on the service and joining in. People are regularly called up to do a mitzvah. Rabbi Larry Tabick gives an interesting sermon, sharing his love and knowledge of Hasidic sayings. Everyone joins in with the singing with a couple of members having especially beautiful voices. I find the community friendly and supportive.

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It’s Friday night, Erev Shabbat, and I’m not particularly religious but suddenly I find myself busting a gut, foot hard on the peddle, mindful of speed cameras trying to make it on time for Shir Hayim’s Friday evening service.
There is so much singing…and some discussion and for those who wish, prayer and for others of us a time to think, lose ourselves, and collect ourselves again, and think of loved ones secure in the surroundings of warmth and familiarity.

This small community has give me much over the years, now it’s time to give back which I find I can do by simply being there, when I can.

It’s more than a decade ago now that I found myself wondering what to do about High Holiday services. I just didn’t seem to fit in anywhere or perhaps the synagogues I visited over the years didn’t fit me At any rate there I was wandering up towards the heath and lo and behold I saw a man with a kippah outside a hall in Hampstead. It turned out that is where Shir Hayim holds Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services. I was invited in but declined. The next year I appeared without a ticket in hand but was made very welcome. I’ve been going ever since.

Shir Hayim is a place where men and women young and old participate equally. It is a community in which everyone can find a home. There is no organ, no formal choir, no fancy building, just a community singing in unison, at least most of the time.

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We have so much enjoyed the Cheder at Shir Hayim, where the children have learned about their Jewish heritage in such a personal and humane way. It is wonderful for young people to have a chance to discuss moral and ethical issues with the Rabbi, something they find very satisfying.