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Shabbat Services & Rituals


As As a small, volunteer-led congregation, the richness of our programming depends largely on the time and support of our members. With Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton's leadership, we focus on offering opportunities to observe and celebrate Shabbat and other holidays in the Jewish calendar.

Saturday morning Shabbat services are offered twice a month and are open to all OrH members and guests. These interactive and participatory services include prayers and chants in Hebrew and English, blessings for healing and an opportunity to say Kaddish. The Reconstructing Judaism siddur Kol Haneshamah provides the foundation for our prayer but we regularly find new songs and readings to keep our worship fresh and meaningful.

In non-pandemic time, all services are followed by a communal vegetarian potluck kiddush lunch. During the pandemic, we have offered our Shabbat services via Zoom and many of us remain online afterward to shmooze during an informal kiddush. 

Normally, the first Shabbat of the month is a more traditional service, with Torah reading,  communal aliyot and a participatory discussion of the day’s portion. The third Shabbat of the month follows alternative models such as a Shabbat Limmud or a Contemplative Shabbat.

Shabbat Limmud

An abbreviated complete service without chanting from the scroll, followed by extended study on the Torah portion, exploring traditional rabbinic, Hasidic and contemporary interpretations, as well as the insights of participants. Through Limmud Torah, we discover points of resonance between our lives and the Torah narrative that can inspire us.

Contemplative Shabbat

Through niggun (wordless melodies), song and chant, silence and reflection, and following the deep structure of the Shabbat morning service, we find inspiration, connection, and a sense of Shabbat menucha/Sabbath peace. Messages, kavanot and a teaching from the weekly torah portion are drawn from the wisdom of Hasidic masters and other inspirational sources.

All services are followed by a communal vegetarian potluck kiddush lunch.

High Holy Days and Festivals

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. With member initiative 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).

Candle-lighting for Hannukah

Life Cycle Events

Led by our Rabbi, the OrH community celebrates bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, baby namings, marriages, conversions and other life-cycle events throughout the year. We are a small, tight-knit community; and we strive to fill our shared space with joy and celebration. 

Please visit our calendar and sign up for our member newsletter for all the latest news on services and special events.

Sat, 22 June 2024