How We Worship

Innovative Shabbat Services

torahcover3Congregation Sha’aray Shalom offers a variety of Shabbat experiences to give voice to the varied sounds of prayer in our community. Experience the spirituality of Shabbat with family and friends, while instilling or reinforcing an appreciation of Judaism. Shabbat affords us an opportunity for worship, for study, for prayer, and reflection on what is most precious in our lives. At Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, we offer innovative Shabbat Services to appeal to our Congregants of all ages. Whether you enjoy observing Shabbat on a Friday night with your Congregational family or a varied Shabbat morning service filled with B’nai Mitzvah, torah study, student led services and so much more, we know that everyone will be able to find a worship experience that touches your soul. You are invited to the Shabbat experience that speaks to you. These services are open to all. If you would like to learn more about our Sha’aray Shalom and are interested in becoming part of this synagogue-community, call us at 781.749.8103.

Erev Shabbat

Our Friday night service begins at 7:30PM and is filled with joyful music and prayer. Sermon topics range from current events to timely and relevant discussions of the Torah portion, giving new insight into our Jewish tradition and contemporary issues.

Summer Services

Services are casual and begin at 6PM and last 45 minutes. They are followed by a Shabbat dinner. Those wishing to stay for dinner are invited to make reservations and payment of $12: members, $18: non-members, the Wednesday preceding the Friday service.

2019 - 2020 Service Schedule

2019-20 Shabbat Services and Events calendar

Friday Evenings

Shabbat Evening Services at  7:30PM

Monthly Services

Friday Night Live at 7:30pm

We celebrate Shabbat with our musical service, Friday Night Live, composed by Craig Taubman, complete with drums, guitar, piano and flute. Enjoy dancing in the aisles, egg shakers, a story and so much more as we dance and sing our way through the Shabbat liturgy. FREE Babysitting is available for Friday Night Live Service. Please register your child at 781-749-8103.

Saturday Mornings

Shabbat Morning Services at 10:30 am, followed by a Kiddush luncheon

Monthly Services

Family Friendly, KIDushat Shabbat & Birthday Blessings
Saturdays – 9:00am or Havdalah – 5pm

These monthly services on Saturday mornings or early Saturday evenings are for our youngest members. Children of all ages are welcome to this informal, 30-minute service with music. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce our customs and traditions to young children.

Shabbat L’Kulam (Shabbat for Everyone)

10:30AM Shabbat Morning Service – On selected Saturday mornings.

Other Services – Check our calendar or contact the office for dates

High Holiday Services

Adult as well as Children’s services are conducted on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Because of the large attendance at these services, we do use a ticket system. There is no charge for members. Tickets for non-members are available for purchase.

Holiday Services

Throughout the year we celebrate the various holidays including Succoth, Simchat Torah, T’u B’Shevat, and Passover with festive holiday services.

Learner’s Service:

Demystify praying. This Shabbat service will teach the meaning and order of the prayers. Hebrew prayers will be said slowly, songs taught and the movement of prayer explained

Healing Service

This Shabbat service will include additional meditative and healing prayers, as well as provide an opportunity to share our stories if one wishes.

Baby Naming or Brit Milah

 “Be fruitful and multiply” is the first commandment. In the Jewish tradition, having children is not only a primary religious obligation; it is considered the crown of human experience and the source of the greatest possible happiness. The arrival of a new Jewish baby has always been greeted with happiness, ceremony, and a wealth of customs.

Mazel Tov! You’re having a baby. You have decided to have a Brit ceremony. Brit, is the Hebrew word for covenant. The covenant of circumcision is the oldest continuous Jewish rite, a ritual that unites Jews throughout the ages. Taking place on the 8th day following the birth of a baby boy, this ancient ceremony announces the parents’ commitment to taking on the responsibilities and joys of raising a child according to the terms of the contract between God and the Jews. Brit bat, the act of welcoming infant daughters to this historic relationship, does the same with words and rituals.

To schedule a Brit ceremony, contact Rabbi Shira Joseph or Cantor Steven Weiss. There are many options available to you:

  • Your Home
  • Congregation Sha’aray Shalom – During a worship service on Friday night or Saturday morning

The clergy will help you decide on the appropriate time and place for your special ceremony. An excellent book to help you get started, is The New Jewish Baby Book by Anita Diamant.

Bar / Bar Mitzvah Meaning

“Bar and Bat Mitzvah is what a young person becomes, simply by becoming thirteen. It is not an event or ceremony. It is not a verb, as in “The rabbi bar mitzvahed my son.” Bar and Bat mitzvah literally translates as, “Son or daughter of the commandment.” What it really means is “Old enough to be responsible for the mitzvot. ” Mitzvot are the commandments that a .Jew does in order to not only live a .Jewish life, but also to sanctify life. ..

– Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, Putting God on the Guest List

Torah graphic 6 2017Bar or Bat Mitzvah means “Son or Daughter of the Commandment”.  When Jewish children reach the age of 13, they are old enough to understand the commandments and be responsible for fulfilling them.  A child, upon becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is included as an adult in the religious life of our people and is now responsible for his or her moral decisions.

  • Being called to read from the Torah and recite the blessings over the Torah.
  • Offering the d’rash (speech,), which showed his Talmudic understanding.
  • Wearing Tefillin and Tallit for the first time.
  • Being present while a special prayer was recited by his father.

In modern times in liberal congregations, women are entitled to access the same mitzvot, as are men.  Therefore, led by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the founder of the Reconstructionist movement, the Bat Mitzvah was created.

At Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, the process of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah includes learning to read Hebrew from the prayer book, the Torah, and from the Prophets, leading the congregation in a Sabbath service, giving a speech as well as performing a Mitzvah project.  It also means the family has made a commitment to our heritage and to our congregation and that the student has attended Religious School and is familiar with our Jewish traditions.  By deed and word, the student states a commitment to continue on through Confirmation. Becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah assumes the student is ready to declare his or her loyalty to Judaism and to be counted as a member of the Jewish people.

Download the B’nai Mitzvah Handbook


During the festival of Simchat Torah we celebrate as a community the beginning of formal Jewish education of our youngest Temple members who have entered Kindergarten as well as new students to our synagogue community. The evening of celebration begins with a dinner for the entire family. The celebration continues on the bimah as the students receive their very own Torah scroll.

Conversion to Judaism

“The Holy One, Blessed be God, loves gerim (converts) greatly” – Midrash

At Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, gerut follows a period of preparation of about a year in length. During this period, the prospective Jew-by-Choice studies Judaism, participates in the life of the synagogue and the Jewish community, and develops and deepens his or her personal commitment to, and relationship with, God, Torah and the Jewish people.

We look forward to working with you as you explore Jewish life. For more information on conversion, please contact the clergy.

End of Life

Funeral Services, Minyans, and Unveilings

“May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

When death is imminent, families and Friends need comfort, support, care, and guidance, which our Temple community can provide.  The time of bereavement is difficult. Personal rabbinic guidance and written materials are available to help families organize their plans and prepare.

At the time of death please notify the Temple immediately at (781) 749-8103. After hours you may speak with either Rabbi Joseph or Cantor Weiss at home. Funeral services, minyans, and unveilings are scheduled directly with the clergy.


“The rabbis who codified Jewish law, made it so easy for couples to marry that the minimal requirements for carrying out a kosher Jewish wedding can be summed up in a few words: the bride accepts an object worth more than a dime from the groom, the groom recites a ritual formula of acquisition and consecration, and these two actions must be witnessed. That constitutes a Jewish wedding; the rest of the traditions associated with .Jewish weddings – the chupah, the seven wedding blessings, the breaking of a glass, even the presence of a rabbi and cantor- are customs. Custom changes over time and differs from one nation to the next. Some Jewish wedding customs have been discarded and forgotten, and some persist with even greater symbolic and emotional power that the religious prescriptions.” -Anita Diamant, The New Jewish Wedding

At Congregation Sha’aray Shalom we can help make your wedding the once-in-a-lifetime simcha it should be. You can choose to have everything from the rehearsal dinner, to the ceremony, and the reception here at Temple. Or, perhaps you just want to be blessed by the rabbi or cantor prior to taking your vows.

Weddings Q & A

Q: What is the first thing I do to schedule my wedding at Congregation Sha’aray Shalom or at a reception hall?
A: Contact the rabbi and the cantor to confirm the date and time of your wedding.

Q: Will the clergy officiate at my ceremony in which my partner is not Jewish?
A: The clergy are open to discussing officiating at Jewish weddings in which the non-Jew agrees to have a Jewish wedding and a Jewish home. Contact the rabbi and the cantor to further discuss these sensitive issues.

Q: Will the clergy officiate at my ceremony in which my partner and I are gay?
A: The requirements for officiating at a wedding are the same for all wedding couples.

Q: Is there a charge for my wedding?
A: There is no charge for the worship space for our members or children of our members. Fees apply for any reception space you choose to utilize. It is appropriate to give Tzedakah in honor of this simcha.

Q: How do I schedule an aufruf or a blessing of the bride and groom?
A: Let the clergy know you would like to be blessed during one of the Shabbat services preceding your wedding. They will schedule it at a time which works for both you and the synagogue. Traditionally, the aufruf is just prior to the wedding date although this is flexible. To recognize the blessing it is appropriate to contribute towards the Oneg Shabbat following services.

Q: Where can I get more information about the Jewish wedding ceremony?
A: Anita Diamant’s book, The New Jewish Wedding, is available at Judaic Treasures and the Weisberg Library. The Life Cycles office maintains a source list of vendors with everything from where you can order’ a Ketubah to who call do your wedding day hair and makeup.