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The order of a Friday night Shabbat service

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Lintu, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. Lintu

    Lintu Active Member

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    I'm hoping that Jewscout or any other Jewish members will add posts about how their service goes :) Here is what we do at the reform synagogue on Friday nights! I may get a few things switched around---there are so many different songs and prayers. Even our rabbi messes up from time to time :p Also, just as a note, in the reform tradition we don't tend to write the name of G-d with the - in the middle or use "HaShem" as a replacement, but I will do that here out of respect for those here who do.

    First, the cantor calls up a girl or woman (typically a bat mitzvah or the female relative of someone being honored) to say the blessing lighting the candles. Lighting the Shabbat candles is specifically a female job. Then the person who said the blessing leads us in a responsorial.

    After the candles, we all sing a song called "L'cha dodi." It was written a few hundred years ago, but is still sung today to many melodies. It is a song welcoming Shabbat, comparing it to a bride. This is a common metaphor. In one synagogue I attended, all the children actually left and came back in, welcoming the bride.

    Then we say the Hatzi Kaddish (the reader's kaddish), which is an ancient prayer in Aramaic. Kaddish is traditionally thought of as a mourner's prayer. It mostly contains verse extolling G-d.

    After this, there is the barchu and some of the Shema. The Shema is probably the most important passage in the service. It says, "Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one." We say this line loudly, and then the next line softly. The next line is a blessing of G-d's name forever. It's said that this prayer was stolen from the angels, so we have to whisper it. On Yom Kippur, though, we can say it loudly.

    Then after this is the v'ahavta. The cantor calls up all the b'nei mitzvah students to lead the chanting. We sing it in a traditional 5-tone chant. The v'ahavta is technically part of the Shema and comes from Deuteronomy. After chanting it in Hebrew, we translate it aloud into English. "You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your being..."

    At some point, we also sing "mi chamocha." I honestly can't remember where this comes, but it's somewhere near the beginning of the service. It begins, "Who is like you, L-rd, among the gods?" It is said to be the song that Moses, Miriam, and Israel sang at the sea.

    Anyway, we get to the tefillah, which includes the avot and givurot. Avot means "fathers," but in the reform service we add the mothers as well (imahot). These prayers are also led by b'nei mitzvah students. Then the rabbi says a blessing. (Baruch atah HaShem, ha-eil ha-kadosh). After this is the sanctification of Shabbat, where we sing about how G-d rested after having made the world.

    If we're having a Torah reading, it would go here. We don't always do this, though. I'm not going to get into all the blessings and prayers that are said at this point :)

    After the Torah reading or "sermon" or guest speaker (typically a civil rights advocate of some sort), we go to the aleinu. The Aleinu was first spoken by Joshua when he reached Israel. This prayer, like most of the others, is in praise of G-d and is hopeful that the rest of the world will stop being idolaters :D

    After Aleinu, there is the Mourner's Kaddish. It's pretty much the same as the Reader's Kaddish, except that has an extra line or so, and we say it in a solemn voice instead of singing it.

    At that point, we give respect for those who have died and call out the names of anyone we think might need healing.

    After everything else, including announcements about Torah study and various Hebrew school activities, we say the blessing over the bread and wine (the motzi and the kiddush). And then we go to the oneg, which is essentially lots of dessert food! Oneg means something like "delight."

    I've probably missed a lot, but I hope this is helpful to anyone who was interested.
     
  2. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    i'll be honest i don't normally go on friday night...we have a home service at Rachel's house for shabbat...

    but i'm always there bright and early 9am the next morning:bounce
     
  3. Lintu

    Lintu Active Member

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    I would probably prefer to do Saturday morning as well so that I could make a good meal for Friday night and light candles, but on Saturday we only have Torah study group!
     
  4. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    i love our saturday service...it's a great chance to reflect and reconnect
     
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