Recognizing that going to synagogue for the first time can be a challenge, we offer you our booklet, What To Expect At A Synagogue. In it, you will find an overview of what Shabbat is, and how it is celebrated in synagogues. Language is explained, the prayer services are broken down, and many common questions are answered.
Mishkan is a social and spiritual community in Chicago reclaiming Judaism's progressive edge and ecstatic spirit. We believe Judaism is a vehicle for bringing more goodness, more justice and more joy into the world. Mishkan is inspired, down-to-earth Judaism.
InterfaithFamily Shabbat is an opportunity for your synagogue or organization to join with other welcoming communities in a bold statement that we will continue to build an inclusive Jewish community in our local areas and across the country.
A great way for Jewish professionals and volunteers who work with and provide programming for people in interfaith relationships to locate resources and trainings to build more welcome into their Jewish communities; connect with and learn from each other; and publicize and enhance their programs and services.
Friday night worship begins with the part of the service called Kabbalat Shabbat. This first part of the service consists of prayers written with words from the Psalms and medieval poetry. A group of Jewish mystics, the Kabbalists, who lived in Safed (also known as Tzfat) in northern Israel in the 16th century, created the Kabbalat Shabbat service. They would speak of Shabbat as both a queen and a bride. And so, right before sunset, these rabbis would dress in white and declare, "Come, let us go out to greet the Sabbath Queen!"
A poem we still sing in synagogue, called Lecha Dodi (Come My Beloved), was composed by Rabbi Solomon HaLevi Alkabetz. The first line is:
L'chah dodi li'krat kallah, p'nei Shabbat n'ka'b'lah...
Beloved, come to meet the bride; beloved, come to greet Shabbat
(Mishkan T'filah: A Reform Siddur's translation.)
The last verse of Lecha Dodi has similar imagery to the start of a wedding, as guests eagerly await the groom and bride. In some synagogues, congregants will rise and turn to face the entrance of the synagogue during the last verse; people imagine they are greeting the Sabbath bride by bowing to the left and the right.
Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple."The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday.
InterfaithFamily is the premier resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our new InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative providing coordinated comprehensive offerings in local communities.