Spiritual Life: Davening in the Time of Corona
During this time of social distancing, when we cannot be in the PSJC Sanctuary together, we join together virtually (through Zoom) to connect, pray and celebrate lifecycle events. On Zoom we continue our tradition of having members of PSJC lead us in davenning (prayer) under Rabbi Carie's leadership. We hope that people at home will be inspired to pray and learn and sing along, and whenever possible, to join in with congregational responses. Zoom services are held for holidays, Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night, Shabbat morning (both Shacharit and Tot Shabbat services), Havdalah on Saturday night at the end of Shabbat, and on Wednesday morning. In the fall of 2020 we added socially-distanced services in our outdoor tent, where we can accommodate a limited number of people in-person. Check the Events Section for specific times for all services.
To help you celebrate Shabbat and holidays at home, please take a look at our Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat Morning and Festival and Holiday Resource pages, filled with resources for welcoming Shabbat in your home, including Siddurim and Transliterations (Hebrew words in English print) of the Shabbat Services, texts of special prayers for the day (prayers for healing and Mourner’s Kaddish), recordings of Torah and Haftarah readings for the day, a Dvar Torah, and often other teachings as well. We hope that these resources help you to observe Shabbat at home, and that it will help to connect with your community, even in the midst of these days of isolation.
See below for a fuller description of PSJC conventions (e.g., gender neutral language) and of our services as they take place at PSJC when we are able to join together in the synagogue.
Prayer/Tefillah at PSJC
PSJC is a welcoming congregation and a friendly place, where our services are filled alternately with enthusiastic song and powerful silence. PSJC services are fully egalitarian (equal roles for all regardless of gender), and are grounded in the traditional Conservative liturgy, complemented by contemporary forms of religious expression. Members of our congregation come from a wide range of backgrounds, from rabbis and yeshiva graduates to people with little or no Jewish background, including many who are Jews by choice (converts to Judaism). We request that all service participants, regardless of gender or marital status, wear a head covering during all services.
Our goal is for the synagogue to be accessible and comfortable to people who have varying degrees of familiarity with traditional prayer. Services are conducted mostly in Hebrew, with occasional readings in English. Transliterations (Hebrew words in English letters) are available in all services for people who are less comfortable reading Hebrew. PSJC's Rabbinic Intern leads a break-out Learners’ Minyan at least once a month during part of the regular services, for those interested in understanding more about the Shabbat morning service - check the Events page for the schedule.
We observe and hold services on all Jewish holidays and festivals, as well as on Shabbat, with Friday Night and Saturday Morning services. we also hold a weekly Shacharit (morning) service every Wednesday at 7:30 am, and on the mornings of Rosh Chodesh (the new month according to the Jewish Calendar). A number of different services are provided for children and teens on Shabbat morning and during the High Holy Days. Times for services are always posted in the Events Section.
Our services are highly participatory and we encourage everyone to join in and even to lead the prayer services, chant Torah (leyn) and Haftorah, as well as to give divrei Torah (sermons/discussions). Classes and one-on-one support are provided to help develop new prayer leaders, leyners (Torah readers) and Haftorah chanters. High Holy Day (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) prayers are led by Cantor Judy Ribnick as well as by members of the congregation. On the first Friday night of every month, PSJC welcomes Shabbat with our lay-led, all sung service, Lev Tahor (the Pure Heart); Cantor Ribnick leads us on the third Friday night of each month; and throughout the year there are also Kabbalat Shabbat Kulanu services, our wiggle-friendly, shush-free service that is accessible to all ages. All other Friday night, Shabbat morning, Wednesday morning, Rosh Chodesh and Chaggim (Festival) service prayers are led by members of the congregation, in collaboration with Rabbi Carter.
We pray from Siddur Sim Shalom, which draws its text from the Bible, Talmud, and other classical sources, as well as modern interpretations, prayers and poetry composed over the last 2000 years. Although the siddur uses traditional male references for God, as an egalitarian congregation our practice is to substitute gender neutral terms (e.g. “ruler” for “king,” “Adonai” for “Lord”).
We look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when we will all be able to daven together again!