What to Expect
The central worship experience at Congregation Beit Israel is our weekly Shabbat service. If you are joining us for th every first time you may have some questions about what to expect in a Messianic Jewish synagogue. Our Shabbat services is on Saturday mornings at 11:00am and is open to everyone to join in worship.
Dress: We encourage everyone to come to synagogue in whatever makes them comfortable, for some this may be more dressed up and for others more casual.
How long is the service?: Our Shabbat service starts at 11:00am and usually runs for between 1.5 and 2 hours in length.
Children: We have a strong passion for families worshipping together! We do not have any special programs or classes for children during the service itself. We stonrgly encourage children to take part in the worship experience, including joining in Davidic (Israeli Folk) Dance during praise and worship. For those who may need it, we do have a nursery available near the entrance to the sanctuary, but we do not have a nursery worker so we ask that if you feel your children need to go to the nursery for a few minutes that a parent escort them.
What is the service like?: Our service consists of traditional Jewish liturgy in Hebrew and English, modern Messianic Jewish praise and worship music, a full Torah service and the rabbi's message. Each week after our Shabbat service we have an Oneg Shabbat (literaly Delight in Shabbat) meal together, this is a family style, covered dish meal (typically themed each week) for building community and fellowship.
How do I follow the service?: Our liturgical prayer will require a Siddur (Jewish prayer book) which is available on a table just as you enter the sanctuary, and we will guide you through the Siddur as the services goes. All lyrics for our worship will be on the screen in the front of the sanctuary for everyone to follow along.
What is the etiquette during the service?
Singing and Praying: Join in with Hebrew and English songs and prayers as much, or as little, as you feel comfortable.
Standing and Bowing: We stand a lot during worship. There will be clear cues for you to rise during specific portions of the service (Please do not feel obligated to stand if you are medically unable to do so). You will notice many people bowing as an act of reverence before the Lord at different times during certain prayers. If this is unfamiliar to you, do not feel obligated to bow. You'll get the hang of it over time!
Dancing: We incorporate Israeli-style folk dance as a worship expression during certain parts of the service. You are welcome to participate if you would like, someone will help guide you in the steps.
What are the meanings of some Hebrew words I'll encounter in the service?
Bimah: Rasied platform at the front of the sanctuary and/or the table on which the Torah is read
B'rit Chadashah: New Testament
Challah: Traditional braided bread enjoyed on Shabbat
Haftarah: Weekly reading from the Biblical Prophets that coincides with the Torah portion
Kiddush & Motzi: Special blessings for joy and sustenance said over bread and wine at the end of the service
Parashah or Parsha: Weekly reading from the Torah
Ruach HaKodesh: Holy Spirit/Spirit of God
Shabbat: Sabbath, Sundown Friday to Sundown Saturday
Shalom: Peace, Hello, Goodbye
Tanakh: Jewish Bible, the Old Testament
Torah: First five books of the Bible (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Tzedakah Box: Offering box located in the sanctuary for tithes and offerings
We also have a special "Ask the Rabbi" session with Rabbi Paul every Shabbat before service from 10:15-10:45am, please feel free to come and bring any other questions you may have.