Even more than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.
We invite you to celebrate Shabbat with us! Children are always welcome at our services. Reflecting the diversity of our membership, and recognizing that there is no one correct way to reach out to God, we have diversity in our prayer life as well. We celebrate Shabbat with prayer, song and learning. Our services are egalitarian, and women participate fully in the prayer life of our community. If you are unfamiliar with our services and would like to sit with someone who can help orient you, please contact us and we will be happy to connect you with someone who can help. We have large print siddurim (prayer books) and hearing assisted devices available for our members and guests. Please let us know if you need either of theses items and we will make sure to have them available for you. Our bimah is handicapped accessible, as well. For those who are not completely comfortable with reading Hebrew, but still want to join in singing and chanting, a transliteration of the entire service is available in the Welcome Booklet in the pews. Our services are a mix of Hebrew and English.
Erev Shabbat (Friday Evening) services
Our Shabbat evening services are participatory, user-friendly and filled with song. Services are informal, with a lively mix of Hebrew and English. Friday evening services often include speakers and other programs such as our Friday evening Musical Shabbat services, choir enhanced services, and Tot and Family Shabbat. Sometimes we offer a Shabbat dinner following services and we encourage you to look for announcements in our bulletin, in the weekly e-mail, or on our website for details, and to sign up in advance for dinner and other programs. In addition to Siddur Sim Shalom, we also use Siddur Kabbalat Shabbat for Friday evenings, a user-friendly, fully transliterated, gender neutral prayer book.
Shabbat is considered a joyous and festive day, a time when we can set aside our weekday concerns. It is primarily a day of rest and spiritual enrichment, when we refrain from creative activity. It is a time to regroup and pray, to eat and rejoice, to spend time with family and friends, to study and share—to indulge and pamper our spiritual side. During Shabbat services at Kesher Israel, we seek to create a sacred atmosphere of peace and harmony, during which we can nurture relationships with our family, friends and a sense of connection to the Divine.
Shabbat morning services begin at 9:00 a.m. with P’sueikei D’Zimra (Verses of Song) and Shacharit (morning service). We then pause at 10:00 a.m. for a sermon or a half hour interactive Torah study. The Torah service starts at approximately 10:30 a.m., followed by the Musaf service. Torah portions and the Haftarah are chanted by congregants, and congregants lead other parts of the service as well. While we value and honor Jewish tradition, we also seek creative and innovative ways to make worship accessible and meaningful for our community. We use Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, and the Etz Hayim Chumash.
On Shabbat, you are welcome to join us to pray, to schmooze, to nosh, and to share in the rich life of our Jewish community.
Shabbat Attire and Decorum
Services run from 9:00 a.m. until approximately noon. If you arrive after services have started, please be respectful of those already praying and enter the sanctuary as quietly as possible. As we worship together, please be considerate of those around you and keep chatter to a minimum.
Shabbat is a sacred time. In accordance with the traditional observance of Shabbat, we ask that all cell phones and other electronic devices be turned off, or to vibrate if it is a professional necessity. No texting, photography, tape recording, or video are allowed. We give honor to Shabbat when we enter the sanctuary in appropriate attire. While we are a down to earth, relaxed community, in deference to the sanctity of Shabbat, we ask that you dress in an appropriate manner in the sanctuary. Please do not wear jeans, shorts, flip flops or sneakers, and we ask that women and girls exercise a level of modesty in their clothing- high hem lines, bare shoulders, bare midriffs or low cut tops are not appropriate.
We ask that everyone cover their heads as a symbol of respect for God (head coverings are provided in the alcove outside the sanctuary entrance), and that if you are Jewish and have an honor, you wear both a head covering and a tallit (available in the cabinet in the foyer) on the bimah. Our greeters will be happy to assist you. Since tallitot are sacred items, please do not take one into the restroom. There are hooks outside of both restrooms to hang your tallit on, or you may leave your tallit in the pews. Please do not place your prayerbook or Chumash on the floor. If one of the books inadvertantly falls, it is customary to pick it up and then kiss it as a sign of respect and love for God's teachings. For the same reason, it is customary to kiss a sacred book when closing it and putting it away.
It is customary to stand during certain parts of the service. If you have trouble standing for a lengthy period of time, please feel free to remain seated. As stated above, children are always welcome, but we realize that services can be very long and tiring for young children. If your child needs a break or becomes a distraction to our worshippers, please accompany your child out of the sanctuary and our ushers and greeters will be happy to direct you to a quiet space.
Please do not eat, drink or chew gum in the sanctuary. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the building, or on the property.
Thank you, and please do not hesitate to ask an usher or our Rabbi if you have any questions or concerns about any of the above.