If you would like to tour our historic synagogue or meet our clergy and leadership, please contact the main office at 617.277.9155 or email us. We are always happy to show off our beloved building.
It’s always odd to walk into a new place without knowing anyone. We are a friendly and welcoming synagogue, but sometimes it’s easier to meet people if you have a guide. If you know you will be coming on a specific Shabbat, please call the main office and we will match you with a member who can show you the ropes and introduce you around. If you’re more spontaneous, just mention that you are new to one of the ushers—or anyone else in attendance!—and they will make sure any of your questions are answered.
Shabbat Service at KI
Most people visit during Shabbat services, either to get a feel for the congregation or as a guest at a bar or bat mitzvah or other special day.
If this is your first Jewish Shabbat service, it may be markedly different from your own traditions. You will see people standing, sitting, swaying, bowing, and chanting. These are all attempts to connect with God through prayer. You will hear music and melodies. Some of these are centuries old; some were written last year. Most are in Hebrew or Aramaic (another ancient language), many are in English. Our prayer book has one page in Hebrew (the right side), with the translation in English on the left. Follow along with whichever feels more comfortable.
Don’t worry about following every word of the service. We invite you to relax and experience the service in any way you would like. You can appreciate the aesthetic experience of watching, listening, and experiencing the prayers around you and the community that you are within. Know that no one is judging you, wondering on what page you’re on, or trying to ignore you. We welcome you to our congregation and hope that your energy will join with those around you to contribute to a joyous service.
A few things to note:
- Electronic devices are not permitted in the synagogue during Shabbat. Please turn off cameras, phones, tablets, etc. If you need to take a call, please step outside the building.
- Men and women are invited to wear yarmulkes (kippot). They are available in a basket on the table outside the sanctuary. Many Jewish men and women also wear a tallis, a Jewish prayer shawl, while in the sanctuary, but doing so is entirely optional.
- Our services are participatory, they are not a performance. Feel free to get up, walk around, and come and go as you please. Small children are welcome to just wander around! If you have children, you are also welcome to join one of the children’s services we have that are geared to specific age groups. More information (times and rooms) can be found in your shabbat leaflet or on our home page.
- You are encouraged to sit and stand according to your own customs and preferences. Feel free to watch folks around you for cues.
- Most of the service is in the siddur, which is the green book at your seat. The page number for the siddur will be posted at the front of the room. The Torah and Haftorah readings are in the humash, which is the red book, and the Rabbi or service leader will announce the page number.
- Special events such as a bar or bat-mitzvah, an aufruf (blessing before a marriage), or a baby naming may take place during the service. These are considered part of a regular service.
- After the service, all are invited to partake of a kiddush (luncheon) in the Social Hall. The luncheon will begin after the Rabbi says a blessing over the challah (bread), and we all share a blessing over wine (or grape juice).
For a more detailed description of our services, please click here.