Relax! Hey, we know all this Hebrew praying can be a little intimidating, but relax; the guy you'll be sitting next to doesn’t know what’s going on either!
You see, a Shul, Yiddish for a place of prayer and study, is not just a synagogue, it’s a home for any Jew looking for a warm and spiritual place to grow and study. There are no rules, no assigned seats. You’re welcome at any time for as long as you want.
Alright, the Rabbis here are probably pretty religious. But when you look around, you'll find that most of the people here look just like you! There are Jews from all walks of life, from all backgrounds and affiliations. You’ll see smiles, hugs, and warm handshakes as people greet each other. It’s an intimate and spirited group. There are families, singles, seniors, and lots of children.
People come to the Chabad Community Shul because of the sense of community and Jewish warmth they feel here. At the Chabad Community Shul there are no “labels.” We are all “Just Jewish.” In fact, the vast majority of people that attend our Shul are not Orthodox. Most can’t even read Hebrew; but they all enjoy a refreshing feeling of warmth and openness, camaraderie and joy.
No one is judged and nothing is expected of you. If you are Jewish and want a place to express your soul, you have come to the right place.
That word alone could put anyone to sleep. But thank G-d we don’t conduct services at the Chabad Community Shul. When we pray at Shul, we call it “davening.” Davening is a blend of prayer, song, study, and story. Although the “chazzan” or leader reads the services in traditional Hebrew, the prayer books are both in Hebrew and English, and you are encouraged to follow along in whichever language you’re most comfortable. What stands out at our Shul are the tunes, the spirit and soul of prayer. Even those who don’t read Hebrew are inspired by the Chassidic melodies and quickly hum along.
The what? The mechitza, or separator, is anything that serves to separate men and women during services. Like in the Temple of old, a Mechitza is used during prayer to facilitate the kind of intense emotional experience that prayer should bring. Men and women are given the space they both need to express their spiritual selves without distraction. Children are free to sit on either side and families can be together for study sessions, meals and other celebrations. Hey, separation makes the heart grow fonder!
If you make through to the end, and even sat through the Rabbi’s speech, well then my friend, you’ve earned yourself a drink! Join us for a L’chaim after morning services at the Kiddush. Usually sponsored by one of our congregants, the Kiddush luncheon really hits the spot after a morning of prayer. Here’s to you – and every Jew.
Chabad Lubavitch of the North Shore • 44 Burrill Street • Swampscott, MA 01907-3457 • 781-581-3833