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On and Off the Bimah

The CDT newsletter includes an occasional column about Jewish ritual and practice in the Dorshei Tzedek community and beyond, by the CDT Ritual Committee. Those articles are collected here.

The Hebrew on our Ark and Torah Table

What is the meaning of the Hebrew written on the inside of our ark and on the Torah table?

When the ark is open, you can see the words etched into the frame above the place where the Torah scrolls rest. It says:

עץ חיים היא למחזיקים
Etz chayim hi l’machazikim ba.
It (the Torah) is a tree of life for those who hold fast to it.

This is what we chant when we return the Torah to the ark...Read more...

Hagbah: Lifting the Torah

Marion Ross, for the Ritual Committee

What is the meaning of Hagbah, the Lifting of the Torah?

On the bimah a member of the congregation holds the Eitz Chayim, (the wooden handles of the Torah scroll), one in each hand, pushes down on the handles raising the Torah off the table, and with knees bent s/he brings the scroll to an upright position and lifts it high.

Off the Bimah, I breathe in, expectantly.

The person lifting the...Read more...

When is the Best Time to Arrive at Services?

Laurie Goldman

Shabbat services at Dorshei Tzedek begin at 9:45 on Saturday mornings. The liturgy flows according to our tradition’s attunement to the rhythms of our awakening souls and the narrative of personal and collective gratitude, praise, and redemption. But since the service is not a performance, it’s perfectly appropriate to arrive at any time. You’ll be greeted with a smile whenever you arrive and service leaders will announce page numbers...Read more...

Demsytifying Leyning: How Do Our Members Know How to Chant From the Torah?

Cindy Shulak-Rome

As a twelve year old I loved my thrice weekly Hebrew School experience that was associated with the conservative synagogue my family belonged to. However, when given a choice as to whether or not I wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah (yes, an unusually progressive conservative shul to offer Bat Mitzvah in the 1960’s) I emphatically said “no!” The reason for that response was clear in my mind. I was terrified to stand up and “sing” in front...Read more...

Our Torah Service: Re-living the Experience of Sinai and the Desert

Elaine Pollack

The words sung just before lifting the Torah out of the ark,” Va’yihi binsoa ha-aron, va-yomer Moshe”…come directly from the Book of Numbers, (Chapter 10, verse 35). “And it came to pass, that when the ark set out, that Moses would say: ‘Rise up oh Lord and let your enemies by scattered…” These words are proclaimed by our service leader in advance of marching with the Torah, and are intended to echo our ancestors’...Read more...

Embodying Prayer

Elaine Pollack

Think about it: from the beginning to the end of our Shabbat morning service we are engaged in a fair amount of standing and sitting, bending and bowing, touching and kissing (and not just because our friend is sitting next to us!). At a certain point, we even go up on our toes three times in succession.

These are moments when the physical meets the spiritual, and we are given a special “choreographed” enhancement which we...Read more...

Mon, 25 March 2019