Shabbat and Holidays: Worship at Temple Israel combines tradition and change, the bywords of Conservative Judaism. The Talmud tells us, "AL TA'ASEH T'FILATCHA KEVA- Don't make your worship fixed". At Temple Israel that means we begin with the core prayers that have been part of our history since our inception, and use new melodies, alternate blessings and prayers, and occasionally shorten the service to allow for more study or special additions.

We use the Siddur Chadash prayer book which is has a very accessible egalitarian translation of the Hebrew prayers, and which also has extensive transliteration of Hebrew into English for almost every congregational prayer or melody we use.

Scattered throughout our calendar are special Shabbatot to honor those in our community who serve various professions, including Law Day Shabbat and Health Care Shabbat, and we have services that feature our Hebrew School students leading various parts of the worship.

On a typical Shabbat morning we begin at 10:00 am with P'sukei D'Zimrah- welcoming hymns and blessings, including the Birchot HaShachar (literally, Morning Blessings) which help us to appreciate the blessings we have and not to take even the mundane aspects of life for granted.

This brief service leads into Shacharit which includes the Bar'chu, the Call to Prayer and the official start of the morning prayers. This includes the Shema and the Amida. On holidays the psalms of praise known as Hallel are added at the conclusion of the Amida. This is followed by the service for taking out the Torah which is carried around the sanctuary before being read.

The Torah reading for Shabbat is based on a triennial cycle- in other words, we read the entire Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) over a three year period. We encourage members of the congregation to learn to read Torah portions, especially when celebrating a special event with the congregation. The Haftarah (also called Haftorah) is an additional reading from the Prophets and historical books of the Bible, and different members of the congregation chant this section. Cantor Abraham is always ready to help new participants learn a Haftarah to chant or reprise the Haftarah they chanted when they became Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Before the Torah is returned to the Ark we offer special prayers in English for our country and for peace and often friends or family members that were not raised Jewish are given these sections to read at a special celebration such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

After the Torah is returned to the Ark the Rabbi usually gives a sermon on a topic related to the weekly Torah portion or one that is related to events in our lives. On other Shabbatot there is an extended Torah study during the Torah service in place of the sermon. We occasionally have a guest speaker at this time, and we also have a pulpit exchange each year with 1st Presbyterian Church which has been a tradition for dozens of years at Temple.

The concluding service is Musaf and it also contains the Amida followed by concluding prayers and hymns which are often led by our children. After services the congregation joins in Kiddush, which refers to the blessing over the wine that sanctifies the Shabbat or holiday, as well as the light lunch buffet that gives us an opportunity to sit and catch up with friends or meet and welcome new people to our Temple. The Kiddush may be sponsored in honor of a special event and our office is always eager to help with that Mitzvah!

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Temple Israel
239 South River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Phone: 570.824.8927 Fax: 570.824.1537
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