Probably since the Second Temple era, Jewish rabbis long ago established that a musician could not play music on Shabbat. Unlike in the Reform world (and sometimes in the Conservative world), where music playing is an established aspect of worship, music is not permitted from sundown on Friday to Havdalah on Saturday evening.
Although music playing was heard to accompany some of the Temple service, it was not established as an essential portion of all functions. Fearing that a musician might be tempted to repair a broken string or to repair his instrument in some other forbidden fashion on Shabbat, rabbis said no to music.
Even the mandated sounding of the shofar is eliminated when Yom Kippur falls on a Shabbat.
So how can an Orthodox synagogue get around that sticky situation? Congregation Anshe Sfard, 2232 Carondelet Street, believes it has successfully circumnavigated the rabbinic sanction against music playing and has announced a Musical Shabbat Weekend that commences tonight and concludes tomorrow night.
This evening, February 15, guest Chazan Yoni Stokar will lead a musical service that begins at 5:45 p.m., prior to the onset of Shabbat. By the time the Kaballat Shabbat service concludes, the musical portion of the service will conclude with traditional davening leading the way to a catered dinner at the synagogue by Dvash Catering.
Online RSVPs are urged for the Friday night dinner here.
Saturday morning services begin at 9:15. Sometime around 11:00 a.m., Stokar will lead what the synagogue has termed “a musical Musaf service,” with a Kiddush lunch and singing to follow.
Following a Seudah Shlishit (“third meal”) gathering at 5:00 p.m. at the home of congregant Paula George Samuels, a musical Havdalah ceremony will be held.