Shabbat EveningShabbat MorningFestivals & HolidaysCultural Rituals
We welcome you to Sinai Temple. We hope you enjoy the variety of worship services that we offer and the warmth of our community. This guide is a compilation of the rituals and customs that you will find in our synagogue community and we’ve designed it to make you more comfortable. If you have any additional questions, please approach one of our ushers or come and introduce yourself to the Rabbis and Cantor following services. Enjoy the music, words of Torah, and community we provide.
In front of you at the center of the bimah (pulpit), is the aron kodesh, the holy ark. In the ark are a number of Torah scrolls. Each scroll contains the Five Books of Moses. We read a portion from the Torah every single Shabbat, and special selections during our festival holidays.
The Torah is dressed in sacred vestments, with crowns, breastplates, and jewels. This is the way we show our respect and honor to these scrolls.
Every male that enters our sanctuary is required to cover his head with a kippah, a head covering. A kippah symbolizes the heightened holiness of the acts of worship and study carried out during our service. As you can see, there is no size or color requirement for a kippah. Enjoy the array of kippahs that you see. Females may also wear a head covering as well.
BOOKS OF PRAYER
In the pew before you, there are two books. The smaller blue book is called the siddur, the prayerbook. It consists of all of the prayers that we will recite on Shabbat, including Psalms, Rabbinic writings, and English translations.
The larger red book is called the chumash, literally the five books. This contains the Torah, the portion from the scroll that we will read aloud. In it, you will find the original Hebrew text, English translations, and Rabbinic commentaries, both old and new. Explore these ancient teachings that add meaning to our lives each and every day.
Shema: This is the verse from Deuteronomy that is the declaration of our faith. “Hear O Israel, The Lord Our God, the Lord is One.” We recite this in the morning and in the evening. It is also the prayer that we recite when we take the Torah from the ark.
Amidah: This is our central prayer. After the Cantor leads us in the musical rendition, there is a silent devotion. The congregation reads either the Hebrew or English or offers personal prayers and reflections.
Study Source: Each week, a Rabbi offers words of inspiration from our Biblical and Rabbinic tradition at the conclusion of the Torah reading.
Dvar Torah: This speech is given by the Bar or Bat Mitzvah, and is the interpretation of the Torah reading through this young person’s eyes.
Candy: At the conclusion of the rabbi’s charge to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the Cantor and Rabbi bless them with the Priestly Blessing. As the child walks back to their family, they are showered in candy representing the sweetness we feel at that time.
Clapping: In our Shabbat services, we discourage clapping after a job well done. Instead, we say yashar koach, may you go in strength.