The New Shul

FAQs / What can I expect at services?

If you are used to a mainstream Conservative or Reform service, then one of the first things that you will notice about our service is that no one is “conducting” it.  The prayer leader faces the ark instead of facing the congregation.  That way, we are all praying in the same direction.  There are not a lot of directions or instructions to break the flow — just an occasional page announcement.  You will also notice that we like to sing — a lot!  Out of respect for Shabbat, we don’t use musical instruments, but we don’t need them because our voices more than take up the slack.  We believe that when it comes to prayer, music is just as important, or even more important than words.  For people who are not comfortable with the Hebrew, the music helps to make the service more accessible (if you like, you can just hum along and forget the words entirely).  For people who already know their way around the Hebrew, the music helps to keep the words from feeling routine.  Our community is very warm and supportive, so feel free to sit anywhere, and someone will help you to find your place.  Or if you prefer, just take advantage of the atmosphere to focus on your own thoughts.