Spiritual Life: Davening in the Time of Corona
In spring 2021, we continue our tradition of having members of PSJC lead us in davening (praying) under Rabbi Carie's leadership both via Zoom, as well as in the synagogue building and in the Yard for Shabbat Morning. 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. Check the Events Section for specific times for all services and In-Person Services to learn about which services are available for in-person attendance and how to register to join them.
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 (Prophets) readings for the day, a D'var 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. To learn more about how we celebrate Shabbat at PSJC, including Children and Youth services and our all-sung joyous monthly Lev Tahor Friday night service, please go to the Shabbat at PSJC page.
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. Services also are provided geared to the ages and stages of children and youth of various ages.
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. On the first Friday night of every month, PSJC welcomes Shabbat with our lay-led, all sung service, Lev Tahor (the Pure Heart) and Cantor Ribnick leads us on the third Friday night of each month. 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.
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.
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!