Temple Shalom welcomes students and other visitors, and we invite you to participate with us in our religious services. We hope this introduction will provide you with the information you need to understand, feel comfortable, and get the most from your visit.
PRAYER SERVICES AND BOOKS:
As Jews, we pray directly to God, without an intermediary, such as a minister or priest. The rabbis, meaning “teacher,” and cantor lead the services, announce which prayers are being said, provide explanations, and tell the congregants which prayers should be said while standing. If the clergy is unavailable, a lay member of the congregation will lead the services. The prayer books are written in Hebrew and have transliterations (Hebrew written in Roman letters) and have English translations for each prayer. Since Hebrew reads from right to left, the books will appear to open from the wrong direction, but the pages are numbered so you will be able to follow the services.
TYPES OF SERVICES:
There are two types of services at Temple Shalom each week, and you may attend any of them. While all services contain the same principle elements, there are some differences in the form and specific prayers. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sunset each Friday and concludes at sunset each Saturday. Therefore, the Sabbath services occur on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the services.
Friday evening services begin at 6:30pm, last 60 to 90 minutes, and are preceded by an “Oneg Shabbat,” a wine and cheese reception at 6:00pm.
Saturday morning services begin at 10:30am and last approximately one hour. If there is a Bar or Bat Mitzvah on a Saturday, you are welcome to attend that service as well, either at 10:30am, or 5:00pm. Please consult the Temple calendar or newsletter for a listing of those services.
CUSTOMS AND PRACTICES TO BE AWARE OF:
As in religious services of all faiths, there are certain customs and practices we follow. While you may be visiting in order to observe and learn, please remember that congregants are worshipping.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR STUDENTS:
We understand that you may have an assignment to write a paper on what you observe and experience. Please wait until after you leave the Temple before you write down your observations. While you are at the Temple, feel free to ask the rabbis, cantor, ushers, or congregants any questions about the services or Judaism. (Please remember that there is a wide range of knowledge and understanding about Judaism, and varying degrees of religious observance among Jews. Therefore, you may wish to clarify whether their answers reflect the personal beliefs and practices of the individuals you talk with, or whether they are universally accepted within Judaism.) The web site myjewishlearning.com is especially useful in obtaining explanations and information about Judaism.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR CLASSES OR GROUPS:
When you contact the office, please let us know you’d like to attend as a group. We will arrange for a docent to host your group, provide additional information about our worship services, facility and Judaism, and to answer questions. To arrange a group visit, please contact Clergy Assistant Elise Donosky at (972) 661-1810 x201.