On Shabbat

On Shabbat, the Sabbath, we rest and rejoice in the creation.  We rest and rejoice in our work of the first six days of the week and, by tradition, do not use the Sabbath to create anything new.  So, we do not do the following in the synagogue or on its grounds:

  • Write or draw.
  • Play musical instruments.
  • Use cameras, other audio-visual equipment, radios, computer games, and the like.
  • Use telephones, including cell telephones, except for medical emergencies. If you are a physician on call, please turn your pager onto vibrate. We invite you to return your calls in the office, which is open, where you will have some privacy.
  • Smoke.

Traditionally, we do not carry on the Sabbath, so we ask that purses not be carried onto the bimaand that gifts not be brought to the synagogue if there is a celebration.

Out of respect for God, we cover our heads in the synagogue because the biblical cohanim(priests) wore head-coverings in the Sanctuary (Exodus 28:4).  All men, Jewish or not, are given kippot; women may wear kippot or other head coverings.  A woman called to the bima for an honor is expected to wear a head covering.

Jewish men are commanded to wear the tallit (prayer shawl) in Numbers 15:37-41:

And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: "Speak unto the Children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue.  And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all of the command­ments of the Lord, and do them; and that you go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; that ye may do and remember all of My command­ments, and be holy unto your God.  I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God:  I am the Lord your God."


Every Jewish man should wear a tallit; Jewish women are also welcome to wear them.

It is the custom at Rodfei Zedek to dress up for Shabbat, for wearing one's best clothes is regarded in the Bible and Talmud as a way of showing honor to God and of affirming human dignity and freedom.  Men customarily wear ties and jackets, and women also dress up.  We encourage children to wear their best dress up clothes as well.  Please avoid very short skirts, sleeveless clothing or evening wear, flip-flop shoes, jeans, and exposed midriffs.

Please do not enter or leave the sanctuary when the Ark is open, during the Amidah or the Haftorah, or the Rabbi’s sermon.

Only kosher food is permitted in the synagogue.  Please do not bring in any food, and please do not eat, drink, or chew gum in the sanctuary.  All meals, including the Kiddush, are preceded by blessings.  Please join us in the Kiddush prayer and the motzi before taking something to eat.

If you have babies or toddlers with you, they are more than welcome in the main sanctuary.  We love having them join us at services and tolerate a goodly amount of moving around.  In case they need to run and shout, or play more intensely than is manageable in the main sanctuary, we try to have the early childhood room open.  Please ask the Gabbai or the custodian if we have forgotten to unlock it.  During a bar or bat mitzvah, we just ask that your little one does not upstage the young person who has prepared so rigorously for this day.

Please feel free to ask an usher, Gabbai, or congregant
if you are unsure of what to do at any point in the service.

Shabbat webpage