Shabbat Shalom: Guide to Our Sabbath Services
We welcome you to Temple Ahavat Shalom and are delighted that you are able to join us. This brochure serves as a guide to our Shabbat and Bar/Bat Mitzvah Services Friday evening and Saturday morning Shabbat and the associated ceremonies and rituals. Please feel at home at Temple Ahavat Shalom. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself to our Rabbi, President or other congregational representatives. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and to be of assistance to you. Prayer booklets are located in the pews. Please enhance our service by joining us in prayer.
Customs / Ceremonies
We would like to introduce you to some of our customs and rituals.
A kipah is the head covering worn in the synagogue as a sign of reverence to God. If you choose to wear a kipah, they can be found next to the lobby table at the entrance to the sanctuary. A tallit is the prayer shawl that is worn by both men and women. It is adorned on it’s four corners with tzitzit (special fringes). Wearing a tallit is a religious commandment applicable only to adult Jewish men, however, it is now worn by many women as well. Many Bar/Bat Mitzvah students receive their tallit at their Coming of Age Ceremony.
We are proud of the beauty and symbolism in the decor of our Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is situated so that the congregation faces east, toward Jerusalem. In the center of the Bima –altar, on the Eastern Wall, is the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark). This special enclosure houses Torah Scrolls, one or more of which will be removed and studied during the Saturday morning Torah Service and on special Jewish holidays. A Torah Scroll contains the first part of the Hebrew Bible, the Five Books of Moses.
Each Torah Scroll is hand-written on parchment by a specially trained scribe in an ornate Hebrew script that contains no punctuation or vowels. The reader must commit to memory the vowels as well as the prescribed melody for the chanting.
The Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) hangs above and in front of the Ark. It burns constantly as a reminder of God’s eternal presence.
The Siddur (prayer book—blue), meaning “order”, is found at each seat. The prayer book contains the Sabbath Services in both English and Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people. Translations of the prayers and recitations appear in the prayer book so that all may follow along.