Shabbat is the most joyous day of the week, set aside for spiritual replenishment, contemplation and the appreciation of God’s creation. We remember that God ceased work on the seventh day and that we too must cease our mundane efforts. We gather in our homes with family and friends and in our synagogues with our community. We observeShabbat with acts that enhance the day’s holiness and refrain from acts that diminish it.
Our Shabbat service includes silent meditation, quiet chanting, communal singing and study. Read through the prayers, whether in Hebrew or in English translation, at your own pace. Linger over them. Notice the sounds, the images, the beauty of the words, the melodies. Allow yourself to meditate upon them. Don’t expect to be moved by every prayer, and don’t worry about keeping up. You are likely to respond to different prayers in different ways at different moments in your life.
On many Shabbat mornings, the congregation celebrates a bar or bat mitzvah. This milestone marks the occasion when a Jewish child is expected to begin to observe all themitzvot (Jewish ethical and religious obligations). The child participates by being called to the Torah, reading from it, chanting the haftarah, and leading other parts of the service. Members of the child’s family may also participate.
The Shabbat Morning Service
Our morning service begins at 9:15 am with early morning prayers called Birkhot HaShahar, followed by P’sukei DeZimra. By reminding us what we have to be thankful for, these selections prepare us for communal worship.
Together we recite the Sh’ma, the Biblical text which confronts us with the reality of God and our obligation to love God. Led by our Shaliach or Shlichat Tsibbor (prayer leader), we then recite the Amidah, a standing prayer which, on Shabbat, concentrates on the essential holiness of the seventh day.
We ceremonially and reverently remove the Torah (a scroll containing the Five Books of Moses) from the ark, march in a processional so the entire congregation can see it up close and reach out to kiss it, and then chant portions from it. After the Torah reading, ahaftarah (a related selection from the Prophets) is recited in its own unique musical mode, and then we return the Torah to the ark. At this point, our Rabbi will reflect on the meaning of the Torah portion of the day, either delivering a sermon or leading a discussion with the congregation.
We conclude our service with the Musaf Amidah (an additional standing prayer) and closing hymns.
Please join us for kiddush at the conclusion of the services. And please introduce yourself to the Rabbi, Cantor, President, ushers, and members of the congregation.
Three New Shabbat Morning Programs 5779 (2018-19)
We would like to tell you about three new initiatives aimed at enhancing Shabbat in our synagogue that we hope to introduce in the coming months.
First, almost every week, someone comes up to one or the other of us to tell us how much they enjoy Shabbat morning services at Temple Aliyah. Often, however, this is followed by something like, "... but I don't always understand what's going on!" or "... but I just wish I could follow along better." If this rings true for you, now you can do something about it.
Right after the High Holidays and continuing monthly through June, we will be running a Shabbat Yearner's Minyan. What's a Yearner's Minyan? It is designed for those who yearn for more Jewish knowledge. It is designed for those who yearn for more spiritual depth in their Shabbat experience. It is designed for those of us who yearn to take on some new role on Shabbat morning -- but may feel intimidated by the prospect.
We want to provide a safe, non-judgmental place for all of us to explore our liturgy and to rethink our connection to davening. Each month, one of us will lead the Yearner's Minyan from 9:00-10:00 AM, focusing on one particular part of the Shabbat morning service. Folks of all backgrounds are welcome. Just come with an open mind.
Second, on the first Friday of each month beginning with September, we will be introducing a new, monthly Friday night service. Shabbat Aliyah will include upbeat melodies, both familiar and new, congregational singing and a lot of ruach, spirit. The hope is to have everyone present participate, bringing everyone together. We will attempt to bring a fresh, engaging Shabbat spirit to all of us, however involved we are (or aren’t), and to give all of us the opportunity to feel more connected as we worship as a community. You do not need to know how to read Hebrew, be familiar with the Friday night service or even have an amazing voice. You just have to love to sing and want be a part of a spirited Shabbat experience.
Finally, we have created an opportunity for us to familiarize ourselves with the melodies that we sing together as a community. Once a month, Cantor Gloth will lead whoever wants to sing together in ShabbaTunes at the end of the Saturday morning kiddush lunch. We will sing prayers sung on both Shabbat morning and Friday night, as well as occasionally introducing brand new tunes (as well as special requests). This is a great opportunity to be a part of an informal group of people who just enjoy singing and learning together.
As always, we welcome your input as we put the final touches on these three new initiatives. If there is something specific you would like us to include, please let us know. We are excited to continue to grow our congregation's Shabbat experiences, and hope you will join us!