Guide to Shabbat Morning Services


The following information is here to help give you some idea of what to expect at our Shabbat morning services! Please see our Online Calendar for our services schedule, and click here for the CNS Shabbat Morning Audio Guide! And scroll to the bottom of this page for transliterated versions of how to receive an Aliyah at the Torah! See you in shul!

Shabbat Morning Service Outline

"SHABBAT SHALOM" (SABBATH PEACE) is our traditional greeting!

Netivot Shalom, "Paths of Peace," is a Conservative egalitarian congregation that welcomes all visitors.We are a vibrant community of thoughtful, observant Jews who come together todaven(pray), teach, learn, and do the work of tikkun olam (repairing the world). We hope that this guide gives you some idea what to expect at our Shabbat service.

The majority of our service is conducted in Hebrew, and the order of the service adheres to traditional observance. People of all genders participate and equally acceptmitzvot(responsibilities and honors).You will see many people wearing a kippah, or head covering, as a way to honor God. We ask that all people who are comfortable with that symbol wear a kippah, Jews and non-Jews alike. As a reminder of the biblical commandment to performmitzvot, many adult Jews wear a tallit (prayer shawl). If you would like to wear a kippah or tallit, Congregation Netivot Shalom has some available for your use.

There are many rules associated with traditional Shabbat observance. Out of respect for our observances, we ask that you follow certain guidelines while at Congregation Netivot Shalom.Please do not take pictures, smoke, or write during Shabbat. Please leave your cell phone off, or on silent. If you must use your phone, please go out to the courtyard or sidewalk to do so. Also, we ask that you not applaud during services. The person leading services or giving the drasha (sermon) is an embodiment of the community’s prayer, intention, and learning; they are not entertaining an audience. Instead, “yasher koach” is how we say congratulations for a job well done. Yasher koach can be translated as “may your strength be firm,” and it is a way of acknowledging the power of the persons’ contribution to the service, and wishing them continued strength.

Siddur Sim Shalom
The Shabbat service blends elements of communal and personal prayer, recitation of various psalms and biblical texts and readings from the Torah and the prophets. Certain passages are chanted aloud, followed by silent readings and a return to chanting for the last few sentences.Everyone is a welcome participant, and we encourage you to sing or hum along, even when you are not entirely sure of the Hebrew or the melody. Praying in English is perfectly acceptable and welcomed.

IT IS EASY TO GET LOST DURING THE SERVICE. Please do not hesitate to look over your neighbor’s shoulder or ask if you cannot find the place. Most of our service follows the prayerbook SIDDUR SIM SHALOM (the blue smaller volume). During the Torah service we switch to the ETZ HAYIM (the larger red books).

Our service has four principal parts. The page numbers are for Siddur Sim Shalom, the blue prayerbooks we use.

These sections contain the preliminary recitation of blessings, Psalms, and biblical texts, setting the mood for the formal morning service that follows.

II. SHACHARIT (pp. 107 - 138)
Etz Hayim
The formal morning service includes the Barchu, or call to prayer; the Shema, a proclamation of Judaism's essential beliefs; and the Amidah, meaning "standing," which is the devotional center of the prayer service. The Amidah is first said in silence and is then repeated by the prayer leader. Kaddish, a prayer of glorification of God, punctuates the major divisions of the service.

III. TORAH SERVICE (pp. 139 - 154)
In contrast to the private Amidah in other sections of the service, the Torah Service is public and communal. The Torah scroll is removed from the Ark with a formal service and processional. Out of respect, we rise whenever the Torah is lifted or carried. We recite a blessing for learning, found on the inside back cover of the Etz Hayim (click here for a video of the melody). A weekly portion (parsha) is chanted aloud in Hebrew from the handwritten scroll. The melody follows an ancient form of musical notation. The Torah reading is divided into seven parts. For each of these parts, a person is honored with an aliyah (literally, "a going up") to recite the blessing over the Torah. Often, an aliyah celebrates some significant life cycle event such as a birth, upcoming wedding, or anniversary. Participation in any part of the Torah service is an honor.  (See below for a transliterated version of the Aliyah blessings.)

After the final aliyah, the Misheberach, special prayer for all those who are seriously ill is recited. The words are on the inside back cover of the Etz Hayyim. (click here for a video of the melody.) When this is completed another blessing is said for those who have come up to the Torah, then we rise as the Torah is lifted and covered.

Blessings for an Aliyah to the Torah 
(click for audio/video of the blessings)
(click the image to enlarge)
After reading from the Torah, the Haftorah, a specific selection taken from the books of the Prophets, is chanted. After the Haftorah, the Torah is returned to the Ark with a processional that is parallel to that at the beginning of the Torah service. A member of the congregation then delivers a drasha (sermon) about the Torah or Haftorah reading.

IV. MUSAF (pp. 155 – 187)

This section of the service begins with another Amidah. The Musaf service contains a finalKaddish, recited by mourners or those observing a yahrzeit (the anniversary of the death of a loved one). A final hymn concludes the service.

Please share in our joy for Shabbat by joining us for the blessing over the wine, Kiddush, immediately following the service. We gather together, each holding a cup of wine while the blessing is recited, and then drinking the blessed wine. Following the Kiddush, we customarily wash our hands and refrain from speaking until the blessing for bread is recited. We are then invited to join in the meal. At its conclusion, we recite birkat hamazon, thanking God for the gifts of food and joy.

Welcome! We look forward to welcoming you to our community!