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March 19, 2004 - Image 85

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-03-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

a unique prayer posture of religious
significance — standing and sitting
in a Jewish service does not consti-
tute any affirmation of religious
belief; it is merely a sign of respect.
You may receive instructions to bow
during certain parts of the service,
but feel free to remain standing or
sitting as you wish.


Try to follow the service in the sid-
dur, or prayerbook, and the
Chumash, or Torah book, both of
which are usually printed in Hebrew
and English. Congregants are
encouraged to hum or sing along to
congregational melodies and to par-
ticipate in the service to the extent
that they feel comfortable. During
the Torah service, the entire congre-
gation is encouraged to follow the
reading of the weekly Torah portion
in English or Hebrew.

The Service

Major sections of the Shabbat morn-
ing worship service include:


This passage, from the Book of
Deuteronomy ("Hear 0 Israel, the
Lord is our God, the Lord is One"),
and the three passages that follow
constitute a central part of each
morning and evening Jewish prayer
service. Regarded as the most impor-
tant single sentence in the liturgy,
the Shema is .an affirmation of the
oneness of God.

The Amidah, or standing prayer, a

series of blessings recited while
standing silently with feet together,
is the major component of every
synagogue service throughout the
year. On a week day, the Amidah
contains prayers for one's physical
and spiritual well-being as well as for
that of the entire people of Israel; on
Shabbat, one praises God for the joy
and rest the Sabbath brings.
It is acceptable and even desirable
to recite the Amidah in English if
you do not read Hebrew, and wor-
shipers are also encouraged to pray
from their hearts if the printed
words do not speak to them.


Following the Shema and the
Amidah is a transition from prayer
to study. The primary study text is

from the Pentateuch, or five books of
Moses. This text is written on Torah
scroll parchment by a trained scribe,
called a sofer.
The Torah is divided into weekly
portions, according to a prescribed
calendar, so that the entire Torah is
read in the span of one year. The
Torah cover and crown are usually
ornate, and recall the priestly garb of
ancient Temple times, which includ-
ed a breastplate, robe, crowns and
The rabbi, and sometimes the bar
or bat mitzvah, delivers a d'var
Torah, a word of Torah, or sermon,
that comments on the Weekly Torah
Once the Torah reading is over,
another person — usually the bar or
bat mitzvah — chants the Haftarah,
a portion from the prophetic writ-
ings of the Hebrew Bible. The
Haftarah is generally chosen to
reflect a theme or literary allusion in
the Torah portion. Its purpose is not
only to provide an opportunity to
teach from a different section of the
Bible, but also to assert-that prophe-
cy serves to reinforce the laws of the


Although there is no mention of
death in this prayer,.the Kaddish is
recited at the end of all worship
services by family members who
have lost a loved one in the past year
or who are observing the anniversary
of a death. Despite sorrow and pain,
the mourner rises to praise God's
name, to which all congregants
respond "Amen." I 1

Reprinted from MyJewishLearning.com ,
co produced by Hebrew College and
Jewish Family Life.

Beth El Hosts
Party Showcase

Photographers, party planners,
florists, calligraphers, disc jockeys,
video producers and caterers will be
on hand Sunday, March 28, at the
Temple Beth El Sisterhood annual
Party Planning Showcase.
From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 40 local
exhibitors will demonstrate their
services. Visitors to the free event
can sample foods and win a door

hurs, 4 pm to 10 pm

The Detroit Historical Museum

your events
make history!

Hold your next celebration with us!

• Bar/Bat Mitzvahs • Graduations
• Birthdays • Bris/Baby. Namings • Anniversaries


Detroit Historical

Great Lakes Museum

Historic Fort Wayne

...or ask about our
offsite locations! _


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