SHABBAT GUIDE

Join us for weekly Shabbat services on Saturdays at 9:15 am. 

Temple B'nai Shalom is an egalitarian conservative synagogue. Services are led by Rabbi Van Lanckton and Cantor Seth Grossman. Our congregation is very welcoming and many participate as lay leaders.

Two prayer books are used during services: Siddur Sim Shalom for those who read Hebrew and Siddur Or Shalom for those who prefer English and transliterated Hebrew. We also use the Etz Hayim Torah & Commentary.

The Temple, or synagogue, is a Jewish house of worship. It is significant because it houses the Torah scroll.

No smoking or picture-taking is allowed in the synagogue or the grounds on the Sabbath. Please do not enter or exit the sanctuary when the Ark is open or when the congregation is standing in prayer.

It is customary for all men in the Sanctuary to wear a head covering or a yarmulke, as a sign of humility and respect. Women participating the service also wear a head covering.

The Talit (prayer shawl) has 613 fringes to remind us of each of the 613 commandments found throughout the five books of Moses. The four corners symbolize the four corners of the Earth. The Talit is worn only at morning services.

Looking at the raised platform called the Bimah, you see the Ark, in which the Torah scroll is housed. The Ark is located so that it is visible everywhere in the sanctuary. Usually it is placed on the eastern wall of the sanctuary, the closest wall to Jerusalem. Above the Ark is the Ner Tamid, or “Eternal Light,” which symbolizes G*d’s eternal presence.

The Torah is a scroll consisting of the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). Each Torah is handwritten on parchment by a special scribe.

The Torah is divided into 54 portions. One portion is read each week. Sometimes two small sections are read together so that the entire scroll can be read in a year.

The Rabbi of the congregation is the spiritual leader. The Cantor chants the service and may lead the prayer service. Other adult members of the congregation may lead parts of the service. A group of ten Jews constitutes a Minyan, or quorum, which is necessary to conduct a full service.

The first part of the service consists of songs and psalms -- a warm-up to focus our minds and hearts. Then, worshippers are “called to prayer” and prayers are recited. After this, the Torah is removed from the Ark, carried through the congregation, and placed on a desk to be unrolled and read.

Seven adults are called for an Aliyah -- which means an “uplifting” -- during the Torah reading. They recite the Torah blessings. It is a great honor to be called up for an Aliyah.

Following the Torah reading, the Cantor chants the Haftarah, which is a lesson from the prophets. The lesson is chosen for the pertinence of its message to the Torah reading of the week.

At several points during the service, a prayer called the Kaddish is recited. It is the only prayer that is in Aramaic and not Hebrew. It usually signals a change from one section to another in the service. It is also said by those mourning the death of a loved one, a signal that they have moved from one “section “ of existence to another. The Kaddish does not speak of death but rather honors G*d for all our blessings. We recite it for all who have passed on, realizing that for many there are no survivors to remember them.

At the end of the service, the Rabbi and Cantor will make a blessing over wine and bread. Wine is a symbol of joy and bread a symbol of continued sustenance.

Following the services, there is a kiddush where food is served and everyone socializes and extends a warm welcome!

 


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41 Storrs Avenue | Braintree MA 02184 | 781.843.3687 | inquiries@tbsbraintree.com