Join us as we celebrate!
Erev Shabbat (Friday Evenings) 6:30pm
Shabbat (Saturday Mornings) 9:30am
Bimah Club (Saturday Mornings, once a month) 9:30am
Bimah Club is a special meeting opportunity for students and families preparing for b'nai mitzvah to come together on Shabbat morning to learn, pray, practice, plan and enjoy each other's company during this shared journey.
After services, families are invited to stay and enjoy kiddush together and chat about b'nai mitzvah planning. Rabbi Tow, Morah Jess and Executive Board representatives will all be available for questions and support.
Description of Erev Shabbat Services
Our Erev Shabbat services on Friday evenings are spiritually engaging celebrations to welcome the Shabbat. Our main prayerbook is the Sim Shalom siddur. Prayers are offered using a careful mix of Hebrew, English, singing, reading and private reflection. All gentlemen are requested to wear a kippah while in the sanctuary; women who wish to do so likewise are welcomed and encouraged.
The Erev Shabbat service begins with a very musical Kabbalat Shabbat (welcoming Shabbat), which moves into the formal worship with the Barchu prayer which acts as the “call” to prayer. A series of prayers leads up to the Sh’ma Yisrael, one of the most important Jewish liturgical declarations, which is why you will see some congregants cover their eyes to better focus on the prayer.
Another set of prayers leads up to the Amidah, one of the oldest and most solemn of prayers, which is recited silently while standing. This is a time when members of the congregation have a chance to directly connect with G-d in prayer, either in the words of the prayer book or in words of their hearts.
After a few more prayers, echoing the Amidah, there is often a very brief drash (explanation of some part of the Torah), followed by the concluding prayers, the Mourner’s Kaddish, and a final hymn.
Everyone is invited to enter the “oneg room” and enjoy light refreshment, which is preceded by a Kiddush (blessing over wine or grape juice), a prayer for washing hands, and a blessing of the snacks; we then proceed to enjoy in the company of our community.
Description of Shabbat (Saturday) and Holiday Morning Services
Our Saturday and holiday services use the Sim Shalom siddur. Our Saturday and holiday morning service begins at 9:30 AM and usually lasts about two and a half hours. During the morning service, Jewish men over the age of 13 are asked to wear a tallit, the traditional prayer shawl. Wearing a tallit is optional for Jewish women.
The Shacharit (morning) service begins with a series of prayers and psalms known as the preliminary prayers and the Psukei D’zimra (Verses of Song) which together act as a kind of spiritual warm-up for the main service, which again, begins with the Barchu.
The structure is much like the evening service, but there are a few additional prayers before the Amidah. The congregation stands for the Amidah, but the first part of it is prayed aloud, led by the shlichah tzibbur with the remainder prayed silently.
During the festival holidays, many other prayers are added at this point. This is followed by the heart of the morning service, the Torah readings. The Torah service involves reading from a portion of the Sefer Torah, the scroll containing the Five Books of Moses. (We follow along by reading in the large red volume, Etz Hayim, which contains the entire Torah as well as supplementary readings.)
Each week’s reading is fixed by tradition, with a number of people, seven for Shabbat, five for the festivals, called to recite a blessing before and after the actual reading from the scroll. It is considered an honor for a Jewish adult to be asked to recite this blessing.
Following the Torah readings is a longer reading from one of the books of the Prophets, called the haftarah. Before and after the readings, the Torah is carried around the sanctuary so that all can see it and honor it personally.
There is usually a longer drash or a study session following the Torah service. This is determined by the person called to lead it, and it is nearly always related to the text that was read during the Torah service. Some provide a sermon, some lead a discussion, but the goal is to stimulate the congregation to think about what was read during that service.
The service concludes with an additional set of prayers and blessings called Musaf, which is essentially a repetition of the earlier Amidah with some distinct differences in the central portion. The Musaf is followed by a very ancient prayer called the Aleynu.
Next comes an opportunity for those who are remembering the death of a loved one, such as a parent, spouse, or child, to say Kaddish (a prayer glorifying G-d) in their memory. After a congregational officer, generally the President or a Vice President welcomes all present and informs the community of the activities of the coming week, there is a final hymn and concluding benediction.
Everyone is invited to enter the “social hall” and enjoy a light refreshment, which is preceded by a Kiddush (blessing over wine or grape juice), a prayer for washing hands, and a blessing of the snacks; we then proceed to enjoy the company of our community.