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Temple Etiquette

Engaging with a synagogue community can be enriching and rewarding. No matter what draws you in – worship, music, relationships, learning, or something else – a spiritual home is a place like none other. Familiarity with Temple etiquette will help you get the most from your experience. 

1. Skullcaps and Prayer Shawls

It is customary – but not required – to wear a kippah (yarmulke in Yiddish) as a sign of respect in the sanctuary, even if you don’t wear one in your day-to-day life. Kippot (plural of kippah) are available near the sanctuary entrance and can be worn by both men and women. Wearing a tallit is an individual decision, but required for people called to the bimah for the honor of blessing the Torah.

2. Cell Phones

Always turn off (or silence) your cell phone before entering the sanctuary and refrain from using it – for talking, texting, or taking photos. As tempting as it may be to snap a picture of the bat mitzvah or the bride and groom, it is not appropriate to use a cell phone during worship services because it distracts from the prayer and destroys the holiness that is present. If you absolutely must use a cell phone, leave the sanctuary to do so. 

3. Sitting and Standing

There are no assigned seats and prayer books are available near the sanctuary entrance. When the ark is open (and at other times during services), it is appropriate to stand as a sign of respect. If possible, those unable to stand can sit taller in their chairs. If you return to the sanctuary during a peak moment in the service – when the Torah or the ark is open or the Torah is being carried through the sanctuary – wait to return to your seat so as not to distract others during a pivotal portion of the service.

4. Dress Code

Synagogue Dress Code varies depending on the occasion. For the average Shabbat Service business casual or "School Picture Day" attire is appropriate. High Holy Day Services and Jewish Lifecycle events like a Bar/Bat Mitzvah are dressier events. If you have been invited to Temple ask your host if there is a dress code they wish for you to follow.

5. Socializing

People greet each other with Shabbat Shalom, as a general “nice to see you” phrase on Shabbat. On Friday evenings there is typically a gathering after service except for the summer months when we gather before service for Wine & Welcome. If you don’t know others, it is always appropriate to introduce yourself at these gatherings. If you know others, make it a point to welcome those visiting or new, and introduce them to fellow worshipers.

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784