Shabbat (the Sabbath) is a key part of Jewish life; it is observed as a day of rest and spiritual rejuvenation. Shabbat takes place from nightfall on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. In the home and synagogue, blessings are made and candles are lit to welcome Shabbat and signify the start of the festival. The Kiddush prayer is recited to represent the holiness of the day. Blessings are made over wine and challah. (See information on Shabbat services with our new Guide to Jewish Services.)
Regular Shabbat services are held using Mishkan T’filah: A Reform Siddur – the newest prayer book of Reform Judaism. Music for the regular service ranges from pianist and soloist, or our volunteer choir – Shir Chadash. Our services feature many songs – familiar ones and some that may be new to you.
Family Services are held during the school year when our Religious School classes take turns leading services. These “Family Services” are usually held on the second Friday of the month and take place after a Family Shabbat Dinner. Led by the older students, only one service is held for the entire congregation. Twice a year, usually at the beginning and end of the school year, we hold a more relaxed and informal “Blue Jean Shabbat”.
Classical Services are held on special occasions throughout the year, celebrating our History as a founding congregation of American Reform Judaism, Founders’ Day, Isaac Mayer Wise’s birthday, and Bernheim Shabbat. They are led from the Sinai Edition of the old Union Prayer Book. Music from the Classical Age of Reform Judaism, is performed by The Temple professional choir.
Special Shabbat Services are held throughout the year. Just a few of these services include: Brotherhood and Sisterhood Shabbats, Martin Luther King Jr. Shabbat, Interfaith Shabbat, and a Yom Hashoah Shabbat service led by the Grade 6 class. These services often have a special guest who speaks in place of a sermon by one of our rabbis.
Saturday Morning Shabbat Services are always held at 10:30 am, after Torah Study which begins at 9:00 am. On many Saturdays of the year, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah student leads the Shabbat service and a kiddish luncheon for everyone takes place following the service. On those occasions, there is usually a special table – the Rebbe’s Tisch – where congregants can continue studying the weekly Torah portion with the rabbi.
Several times a year when there is no Bar or Bat Mitzvah, The Temple Brotherhood celebrates the opening or closing of a Book of the Bible by having their choir perform at the Shabbat Service, and then hosting an oneg afterwards that features their handmade Sinai Matzo, gravlax, and Heaven Hill bourbon.
Friday Evening Shabbat Services usually take place in the Waller Chapel and are offered in several different styles of worship. During the fall, winter, and spring – between Rosh Hashanah and Shavuot – Erev Shabbat Services begin at 7:00 pm and last for about one hour. During the summer, Erev Shabbat Services begin at 6:30 pm.