Qabbalat Shabbat: Friday, 6:00 p.m. Torah Study: Saturday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Weekday Minyan: 6:15 p.m.

Bringing Prayer into the Home

An Introduction to Prayer

A beautiful statement found in Midrash Tehillim teaches: “When you pray, pray in the synagogue of your city; if you are unable to pray in the synagogue, pray in your field; if you are unable to pray in your field, pray in your home; if you are unable to pray in your home, pray on your couch; and, if you are unable to pray on your couch, meditate in your heart.” 

While prayer can take place anywhere, we most often gather together on Shabbat. However, many people walk into the synagogue, open the prayer book, and realize they don’t really understand the words they are saying! 

Our goal is to help each member learn the order of the service, the prayers involved, and the meaning behind those prayers. This page will give you the mechanics of our Temple Israel services so that each time you walk through our doors, you feel empowered to fully participate in Shabbat. 

“The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation, from the world of creation to the creation of the world.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel 

Translation

Hinei Ma Tov: How good and how pleasant it is that brothers and sisters dwell together (Psalm 133.1)

Intention

Hinei Ma Tov often begins Shabbat evening services, welcoming everyone into the sanctuary and reflecting how wonderful it is that we have come together as a community to pray.

Version 1

Version 2

Translation

Beloved, Come to meet the bride; beloved come to greet Shabbat

“Keep” and “Remember”: a single command the Only God caused us to hear; the Eternal is One, God’s Name is One; glory and praise are God’s

Come with me to meet Shabbat, forever a fountain of blessing. Still it flows, as from the start: the last of days, for which the first was made.

Awake, Awake, your light has come! Arise, shine, awake, and sing: the Eternal’s glory dawns upon you.

Enter in peace, O crown of your husband; enter in gladness, enter in joy. Come to the people that keeps its faith. Enter, O bride! Enter, O bride!

Intention

L’cha Dodi is a poem composed by Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, a 16th Century Safed Kabbalist. This prayer reflects the mystical tradition that was cultivated in Safed (tzvat) and is still alive and well in the Israeli city. The Rabbis of the Talmud would go out and great Shabbat, like a groom stepping outside the Chuppah to great his bride.

Translation

Praise Adonai to whom praise is due forever!

Praise be Adonai to whom praise is due, now and forever!

Intention

The Bar’chu is our call to prayer. We have just begun to open our voices and hearts with song and are now about to enter into the next part of our service. This short prayer is actually a conversation between the prayer leader and the congregation, asking the congregation, ‘are you ready in your heart and mind to begin in earnest prayer’. The second line is the congregation’s response that, ‘yes! We are ready!’

Translation

Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,
Creator of light and darkness, who makes peace and fashions all things.
In mercy, You illumine the world and those who live upon it.
In Your goodness You daily renew creation.
How numerous are Your works, Adonai!
In wisdom, You formed them all, filling the earth with Your creatures.
Be praised, Adonai our God, for the excellent work of Your hands,
and for the lights You created, may they glorify You.
Shine a new light upon Zion, that we all may swiftly merit its radiance.
Praised are You, Adonai, Creator of all heavenly lights.

Intention

Yotzer Or commemorates the creation of the world, and praises God who “renews creation daily”. We experience periods of light and darkness not only outside but also within ourselves. What needs to be illuminated inside yourself? What are the “heavenly lights” you are helping to create?

Translation

Hear, O Israel, Adonai is out God, Adonai is One!

Blessed is God’s glorious majesty forever and ever.

Intention

The She’ma is the central idea behind Judaism, declaring faith that there is only one God. Judaism was the first religion to declare this radical concept. Surrounded by polytheistic communities, it was important to come together and proclaim “Adonai Ehad!” that God is one!

Version 1

Version 2 with Cantor Einhorn

Translation

You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your might.
Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.
Impress them upon your children.
Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead;
inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Thus you shall remember to observe all My commandments
and to be holy to your God.
I am Adonai, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God:
I am Adonai your God.

Intention

The V’ahavta tells us that we are commanded to be active in our world- to teach and share the messages of Torah. While many of the words or Torah are reinterpreted in each generation, they do have a central theme- that we are partners with God and each other in creating a better world. When we treat others with kindness and respect, we are showing love and carrying out the demands of this prayer. What actions can we take today to live out these Jewish concepts? How are we teaching our children to make positive change? Are there physical or metaphorical reminders in our lives that help us remain active when life gets even more difficult?

Translation

Who is like you, O God, among the gods that are worshiped? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, working wonders?

Intention

Mi Chamocha recounts the moment the children of Israel reach freedom and safety from Egypt after the splitting of the Red sea. It was sang during their first moments of freedom after living through the hardship of bondage and oppression. When we sing Mi Chamocha, we celebrate our lives and our freedom, and also recommit ourselves towards freeing all who are enslaved, all who are oppressed in our world. Mi Chamocha is our rallying, justice cry – our moment say that we can change, but only when we come together.

Translation

Grant, O God, that we lie down in peace, and raise us up, our Guardian, to life renewed.

Blessed are You Adonai, Guardian of Israel, whose canopy of peace is spread over us, over all Your people Israel, and over Jerusalem.

Intention

Hashkiveinu is drawn from the first known Hebrew prayer book, Seder Rav Amram, in 860 C.E. The medieval rabbis lived and led without the benefit of modern science. When they were asked “what happens to us when we sleep?” they could not rely on sleep studies and neuroscience. They recognized the night as a time of great vulnerability, so they prayed that God would put a “sukkat shalom,” and “canopy of peace,” over us when we are unable to care for ourselves. Today, we say this prayer at night and also in moments of spiritual, emotional and physical vulnerability.

Translation

Our calling is to praise the Living Source. Our duty is to make known the greatness of the One Creator, who trusts us to be guardians of the earth and messengers of Torah; who give us a destiny shared with all human beings, and who binds our lives to theirs. And so we bend, and give thanks before the Blessed One whose realm is unfathomable, whose sovereignty over all makes all life holy and precious.

Intention

Several years ago, Temple Israel decided to adopt a new version of the Aleinu prayer. The original, traditional text focuses on Jewish chosenness and the idea that someday non-Jews will all know and accept Jewish truth. This is not the theology or ethics of this community. We traded the tradition text for this new version, which instead focuses on our responsibility as Jews and human beings in this complicated world.