Ritual - Shabbat, High Holy Days, Festivals and Life Cycle Events
The observance of Shabbat and the Jewish holiday calendar, led by Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton, is central to Or Haneshamah.
OrH holds Shabbat services three times each month. On one of the Saturday mornings of the month (usually the first), OrH members and guests worship together, praying and chanting in Hebrew and English from Kol Haneshemah, the siddur of the Reconstructionist movement, as well as from supplementary readings and sources. Shabbat services include Torah chanting and a d'var Torah (commentary and discussion on the weekly reading), followed by a vegetarian potluck kiddush lunch.
The other Saturday morning service of the month (usually the third) is a service with an alternative approach. We currently use one of three formats: Shabbat Limmud (abbreviated service with extended torah study), Ruach Shabbat (liturgy combined with mindfulness and yoga) and Shabbat Chanting Service (chanting prayer and wordless melody, accompanied by drumming and movement). We hold a vegetarian potluck kiddush lunch after these services.
On the Friday evening preceding the second Saturday of the month, we also hold Kabbalat Shabbat services, followed by a vegetarian potluck supper and then a member-led "JED Talk" (Jewish Education and Dialogue).
Like most congregations, OrH devotes a great deal of attention and effort to celebrating the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We also appropriately observe the three "major" holidays — Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot — including holding a congregational seder for Passover and building our own sukkah for the Festival of Booths. We hold special events for popular holidays such as Simchat Torah, Hanukkah and Purim, as well as for lesser-known festivals such as Tu B'Shevat and Shavuot. Many of the festival programs feature musical accompaniment, which always infuses the events with special ruach (spirit). All of these wonderful programs depend greatly on the support and organizational skills of dedicated member volunteers.
Led by Rabbi Bolton, the OrH community celebrates bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, baby namings, marriages, conversions and other life-cycle events throughout the year.
Please visit our calendar and sign up for our member newsletter for up-to-date information on services and special events.