You are here: Home > Pray > Worship

Friday Evening Services

Erev Shabbat

Regular Friday Night Service

The Shabbat Service on Friday night is the primary worshiping experience at Temple Beth El. Music that is both accessible and participatory enhances this service. We use both Hebrew and English in our liturgy and much of the Hebrew is transliterated for our non-Hebrew readers. At most of these services we read or chant from the Torah and the Rabbi or a guest speaker offers a topical sermon or an interpretation from the Torah portion. Following the service, an Oneg Shabbat with scrumptious homemade pastries enables people to meet and mingle. This service begins at 7:30 p.m. Please check the calendar for any seasonal changes.

First Friday Family Shabbat

Our fun and lively worship experience, beginning at 6:30 pm features exuberant singing, a child-friendly liturgy, and lasts no longer than one hour. In addition, we offer birthday blessings to children under the age of 13, plus a story, a brief skit or a few songs from our talented youth choir.

All children twelve and under are invited to lead the hakafah, the Torah parade around the Sanctuary and come to the bimah to lead the congregation in Kiddush, the blessing over the wine and HaMotzi, the blessing over the hallah at the end of the service.

Third Friday Musical Shabbat

The Third Friday is our Musical Shabbat Service featuring our TBE musicians.  Our fun and lively worship experience, beginning at 6:30 p.m featuring congregational singing, toe-tapping and hand-clapping melodies, and lively accompaniment.  You won’t want to miss this uplifting spiritual experience.

Guest Speakers

Periodically throughout the year, the Rabbi invites local scholars, community leaders and members of Temple Beth El to speak during the Friday night service. Check the calendar to see when our next guest will be speaking.


Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This period, known as the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe or High Holy Days), is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, many with prayer and reflection in a synagogue. There also are several holiday rituals observed at home.

Rosh HaShanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which—because of differences in the solar and lunar calendar—corresponds to September or October on the secular calendar. Customs associated with the holiday include sounding the shofar, eating a round challah, and tasting apples and honey to represent a sweet New Year.

The origins of Rosh HaShanah are found in the Bible.The Book of Leviticus (23:24-25) declares: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of rest, a memorial proclaimed with the blowing of the shofar, a holy convocation.” Although this day eventually became Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, it was not originally known as such.

In ancient times, there were four “new years” in the Jewish calendar. Each had a distinct significance:

  • The first of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the New Year of Kings, was the date used to calculate the number of years a given king had reigned.
  • The first of the Hebrew month of Elul was the new year for tithing of cattle, a time when one of every 10 cattle was marked and offered as a sacrifice to God.
  • The first of the Hebrew month of Tishrei was the agricultural new year, or the New Year of the Years.
  • The 15th of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat, known as Tu BiSh’vat, was the New Year of the Trees.

Although the Torah refers to Nisan as the first month of the Jewish year, the first day of the month of Tishrei emerged as what we now know as Rosh HaShanah.

The Babylonians, among whom the Jews lived, marked a “Day of Judgment” each year.  They believed that, on that day, a convocation of their deities assembled in the temple of the god Marduk. These gods, they held, renewed the world and judged each human being, inscribing the fate of every individual on the tablet of destiny. The legend was a powerful one, and Jews most likely borrowed elements from it in shaping Rosh HaShanah. The meeting of many deities evolved into a belief that the one God judged every Jew on that day, immediately inscribing the completely righteous in the Book of Life and consigning the completely wicked to a sad fate. Those “in between,” however, had ten days, concluding on Yom Kippur, in which to repent before the Book of Life was sealed for the New Year.

In addition to the biblical “holy convocation” and the transformed Babylonian “Day of Judgment,” the first of Tishrei also was associated with the anniversary of the creation of the world, Yom Harat Olam. For these three compelling reasons, the first day of the seventh month ultimately became the “official” Jewish New Year.

It was not until about the second century C.E. that the holiday acquired the name Rosh HaShanah, which first appeared in the Mishnah. Before then, however, the day had many other designations. The oldest name, found in the Torah (Numbers 29:1) is Yom T’ruah (Day of Sounding the Shofar). Two other names, undoubtedly reflecting Babylonian influence, were Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance) and Yom HaDin (Day of Judgment). While those terms are still preserved in the liturgy and rabbinic literature, Jews all over the world today usually refer to Rosh HaShanah as the Jewish New Year.