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A rabbi and a musician walk into a restaurant... to start Shabbat services

A musician and rabbi are teaming up on an innovative concept in Laguna Beach — a Shabbat service at, of all places, a restaurant.

Jason Feddy, a radio host and director of promotion and production for Laguna's KX 93.5 station, and Rabbi Marcia Tilchin, will host the first of a monthly program of Friday night Sabbath services Aug. 19 at Mozambique Steakhouse at 1740 S. Coast Hwy.

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Tilchin broached the idea of a Sabbath service, which she said is "conservative in style," about a year ago as she established the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County. For 13 years Tilchin was cantor of Congregation B'nai Israel in Tustin.

The idea "came from the desire to bring traditionally based Friday night services to a relaxed, non-traditional venue," Tilchin said in a news release. "Not everyone feels comfortable or finds it convenient to go to a synagogue service on Friday night, so why not bring the service to them?"

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Tilchin credited Feddy with working with Mozambique owner Ivan Spiers to avail space for a service that will include a prayer session, music and time of learning and discussion.

"I was nervous because as soon as you mention religion to anyone it feels like you're taking sides," Feddy said. "Ivan thought it was a great idea."

Feddy said he met Tilchin met seven months ago at a Tustin temple. Feddy spoke about a program that provides song-writing guidance to children of various religious backgrounds and Tilchin approached him afterward.

She had just began the Jewish collaborative, Feddy said, and was scouting places to test this concept. Feddy thought Laguna would be the ideal place.

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The nonprofit collaborative develops innovative programs of worship, volunteerism, study, artistic expression and spiritual exploration, independently and in partnership with local and national Jewish organizations, according to a news release.

The service, which begins at 6 p.m., will be followed by an optional, pre-paid vegetarian dinner at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $42 per person — children 5 and under are free — and includes a salad or appetizer, choice of a vegetarian or fish entree, a glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage, and family-style dessert with coffee or tea.

Reservations are required for dinner and can be made through the collaborative's website at jcooc.org or by email at joy@jewishcollaborativeoc.org.

Future services are scheduled Sept. 16, Oct. 21 and Nov. 18, with a communal Hanukkah party planned for December, though no date has been set.

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Bryce Alderton, bryce.alderton@latimes.com

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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