Language and Participation

Hebrew is read from right to left. Because of this, Hebrew Bibles, and most of our prayerbooks, open in the Hebrew direction. If you are used to only English-opening books, it will therefore seem like the table of contents are in the back of the book, instead of the front. If you have a Hebrew-opening prayerbook and a page number is called out, it might take an extra moment to turn to the correct page.

The Jewish service was always meant to be participatory and inclusive. The whole idea of a rabbi or cantor “leading” the service is a fairly new development in Jewish history. Therefore if you know Hebrew, please join in with the reading, chanting or singing of all prayers.  If you do not know Hebrew, please join in with the transliteration in our dark blue prayersbooks or hum along with the songs.   Most pick up the words quickly after regularly attending services. 

If you are interested in learning Hebrew as an adult or brushing up on Hebrew that you may have forgotten, Temple Shalom is dedicated to finding ways to break down the language barrier for all congregants.  For many years, Temple Shalom has offered various Adult Hebrew classes.  Please contact the Religious School for details on upcoming Adult Hebrew.