Is this your first time visiting Temple Beth Israel? Visiting any synagogue? Please take a few minutes to introduce yourself to us, so we can greet you. We hope the information, below, helps give you an idea of what to expect.
Because Shabbat is a day of rest, when no business is transacted, synagogues do not pass a "collection plate" or accept donations at services. Visitors are not expected to bring anything with them, except a kippah (a yarmulke, or skull cap), if they own one - TBI provides extra kippot for visitors.
On a Typical Shabbat
On Friday nights, our Kabbalat Shabbat services begin at 7:30 pm and generally run for 1½ to 2 hours, followed by a small Oneg Shabbat (literally, "Joy of Shabbat," - juice, challah, cookies, and other small snacks). Services for families with young children are scheduled throughout the year.
On Saturday mornings, Torah Study begins at 9:00 a.m. Our Kol Haneshamah service begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning services may last 1.5 to 2 hours, incorporating a full service, and are followed by kiddush.
Dress is generally casual to semi-formal, and be prepared for lots of singing - Temple Beth Israel is a very musical congregation! (Click here to visit our Music page...)
For a Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Is a friend or family member celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Mazel Tov! On these Shabbats, Torah Study takes place at 8:30 a.m., and services begin at 9:30 a.m. Please respect the sanctity of Shabbat and refrain from taking pictures, using your cell phone, or writing during the service. It is customary to dress up a little for such an occasion, as you would for any other important life-cycle event.
If you are also attending Friday night services, the bar or bat mitzvah will probably be asked to introduce all of his or her guests to the congregation, so be prepared to stand up and wave!
About Reconstructionist Services
Reconstructionist Judaism, the newest of the three liberal branches of Judaism, is a progressive, contemporary approach to Jewish life which integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights and ideas of contemporary social, intellectual and spiritual life. The Reconstructionist movement has its own siddur (prayer book) - Kol Haneshamah, which we use at Temple Beth Israel. For services, our Reconstructionist approach means several things:
For more information, visit the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement's website (click the Reconstructionist Judaism tab at the top of the page).