- Making it work for you
- Ritual garb
- To each their own
- Orienting each other
- Welcoming Children & Families
Is there a cost for attending services?
No - services are free of charge. We understand this is unusual, but it is a deep reflection of our values as a congregation. We do hope that folks will be moved to contribute to the congregations to make this and other community spaces possible. You can donate to T'chiyah by clicking going to http://www.tchiyah.org/give
Should I bring my own Machzor/High Holiday Prayerbook?
If you have one, yes! We'll be using Kol HaNeshamah: Machzor LeYamim Noraim, the Reconstrucionist movement's machzor and will have copies to share, but you're welcome to follow along with whatever High Holiday prayerbook you feel called to use. We encourage everyone with the means to do so purchase a Mahzor or two from the Jewish Reconstructionist Press online for their own continued use or as a donation to the congregation.
How shall I dress?
One way to make the day feel special is to wear something a little nicer - but most of all, we want you to be comfortable and in the right headspace for services. There is a wonderful tradition of wearing white on the High Holidays -- especially on Yom Kippur -- so you may wish to try that out.
There are members of our community who have chemical sensitivities -- that means it can be very difficult for them to be in enclosed spaces when people are wearing perfume. Soaps and such are fine, but we thank you for refraining from extra scent. Thank you!
I want to be at services, but I can’t focus for four (plus) hours. Can I bring a book? Or take a break?
Great idea! Some Jewish books that might be good for the season are This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation and These Are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life. But please leave the electronics - phones, kindles, ipads, etc - at home. Feel free to take a walk outside, and please use the space as need to stretch your legs and your body! Schmoozing is great as long as it’s not too close to where services are - please be respectful to not interfere with others' spiritual practice!
Do I need to wear a Kippah or a Tallis?
We welcome the use of head coverings and prayer shawls as symbols of Jewish worship. However, individual choice is respected. Some folks who don’t wear a tallit for the rest of the service try to put on when they are coming up for an aliyah -- someone in your row might be willing to lend theirs. Above all, we want you to feel comfortable, welcome and holy in whatever garb you choose to don for the occasion. And please, do not impose your standards of ritual dress on others, or make assumptions about people's genders based on their choice of garb!
I notice that the person next to me isn’t wearing a tallis and/or kippah and it's really bothering me. Can I remind them to wear one?
Nah. Focus on how you can best get your heart right and let your neighbor worry about how they can best get their heart right. As Reconstructionists, we uphold the necessity of individual and communal autonomy in determining how to best reconstruct Judaism for our particular time and place.
My neighbor is flipping furiously through the pages. Can I help them find their place?
Absolutely - a good rule of thumb when it comes to giving direction to a fellow seeker is to ask if you are helping them get where they want to be or where you think they should be. If it’s the former, help away! We will also have a "scoreboard" visible at the front of the room with page numbers on it, as well.
Are children welcome in the main service? Shall I encourage parents to visit the childcare room?
As a community that prides itself on intergenerationality, we seek to empower families to participate in services in the ways that they so choose. Kids are welcome in the main sanctuary or in our supervised childcare for the duration of the High Holidays, and families are encouraged to bounce back-and-forth between the spaces as needed. We ask that children remain under parental supervision when going to and from the childcare room. If you are bringing children, please bring a snack and whatever else they might need to have a good time in the service or at childcare - we want to make the space as comfortable as possible for all!
We ask that attendees be respectful to our families by refraining from shushing or shaming children if they are cry out or make noise. Prayer comes in many forms!