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B'nei Mitzvah Information for Guests & Visitors

For those of you visiting Dorshei Tzedek, welcome! We are pleased to have you join us for our Shabbat morning services, and want to let you know about a few of our practices.

First, we like everyone to join in — so please do! All of the songs and prayers that are communally sung are transliterated in English. In order to honor Shabbat and the needs of our community members, we ask that you remember to turn off your cell phone and refrain from taking any pictures, and please do not wear any strong fragrances, including perfume, cologne, and strongly scented hair products. These cause some of us serious illness. Thank you for your understanding! 
 

Current COVID Policies 

All attendees of in-person services must be fully* vaccinated, 
symptom free
 (without elevated temperature, sore throat, nausea, muscle aches, cough, respiratory symptoms, unexplained rash, and loss of smell or taste), and have tested negative using an at-home test that morning. Masks are required for the duration of the service and may only be removed while eating during Kiddush. If you have a medical exemption to vaccinations or masks, please discuss with Melissa beforehand. 
*Fully vaccinated is defined as having had 2 shots (or 1 J&J) plus a booster at least 2 weeks prior for those aged 14+, and having had 2 shots plus 2 weeks for those aged 5-13.

Please note that all services will also have a Zoom option for guests and congregants. This is an exciting time and we all want to celebrate in the way that is most comfortable and safe for us as individuals! 

Click here for our complete set of COVID policies & guidelines.
 

The Site

All Dorshei Tzedek services are held in our third-floor prayer space at 60 Highland Street, West Newton, MA 02465. There are parking lots and building entrances on both sides of the church (on Highland Street and also on Chestnut Street), and an additional entrance on the Mass Pike side of the building. The direct entrance to our prayer space is on Highland Street. Kiddush lunch takes place in Fellowship Hall on the first floor. 

Physical accessibility into and around the building:
     ‣ 
The spaces in the building used by CDT are mostly accessible for wheelchair users and those who have difficulty climbing stairs, with the exception of Rabbi Toba's personal office and the all-gender restroom.
     ‣ The accessible entrance to the building uses an automatic door that is located on the Chestnut Street parking lot side at 61 Chestnut St, Newton, MA, 02465. Please let us know in advance if you will need to use this door so that a staff member can show you how to access it. There are handicapped parking spots in both lots.
     ‣ There is an elevator up to the prayer space on the far side of Fellowship Hall. We also have a portable ramp which can be used in our sanctuary to give access to the bimah. Please have your host family let us know in advance (by the Wednesday beforehand) if you or another guest will need to use this. 
     ‣ There are two restrooms (a two-stall women's room and single-stall men's room) that don't require stairs to access, both located on the first floor. 
     ‣ To see our full Inclusion & Accessibility statement and policies, please visit dorsheitzedek.org/inclusion--accessibility.html

 

Photography & Writing on Shabbat

It is our policy that no photos or videos can be taken during Dorshei Tzedek Shabbat services. We consider this an intrusion on the sanctity of the religious service and a violation of the spirit of Shabbat. If you would like a “photo op” of the B'Mitzvah reading from the Torah, this can be done in the week prior to the ceremony, when the B'Mitzvah will have the opportunity to read their portion from the Torah scroll. Photography is allowed during the Kiddush; we only ask that you respect the sensibilities of members who may prefer not to be photographed on Shabbat.

Because of the traditional prohibition of writing on Shabbat, it is also Dorshei Tzedek policy that members and guests not be invited to write. This precludes guest books or other types of activities where writing is involved. 
 

Childcare

Childcare will be available during the service. Please email the office (office@dorsheitzedek.org) in advance to let us know how many kids you will be bringing and what their ages are. 
 

Ritual items 

Dorshei Tzedek has kippot (yarmulkes) and tallitot (prayer shawls) available, although some families choose to have special kippot made for the occasion.
 

B'Mitzvah Torah Honors/Blessings & Family Participation

There are a number of ways to involve family members and friends in the ceremony. In addition to the B'Mitzvah themself, it is customary to honor parents, grandparents, and close friends and/or family with aliyot - the honor of being called up to the Torah. There are seven aliyot total. Of those seven, two are reserved for members of the congregation. Other honors include chanting a portion of Torah, opening and closing the ark, lifting and wrapping the Torah after the reading, and doing readings in English during the service. 

Aliyah (literally “going up”) refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah (the raised platform at the front of the sanctuary) to chant blessings before and after a section of Torah is read. 

Who gets called up for an aliyah?
At Dorshei Tzedek, any Jewish adult (aged 13 years or older) can be called up for an aliyah. In addition, non-Jewish spouses/partners are welcome to accompany their partner up to the bimah, with the Jewish partner reciting the Hebrew blessing.
 
What do I do if I have an aliyah?
When it is your turn to be called up, Rabbi Toba will call out your name in both English and Hebrew. We request that those called up wear a tallit (prayer shawl). At the very minimum, one person in a group aliyah must wear a tallit. At the Torah reading table, the reader will point out to you the first word of the reading in the Torah scroll. Touch one corner of your tallit to the first word and then kiss the corner of the tallit. Then chant the beginning of the blessing. The blessing translates as:

Bless Adonai, the blessed One; Blessed is Adonai, forever and ever 
Blessed are You Adonai, Source of Life, who has brought us close to Your service
and given us Your Torah. Blessed is Adonai, Giver of Torah.

After chanting a few verses, the reader will show you the last word chanted, and again you will touch that word with the corner of your tallit and kiss the tallit. Then recite the closing blessing, which translates as:

Blessed are You Adonai, Source of Life, who has given us a Torah of truth, and has planted eternal life within us. Blessed is Adonai, Giver of Torah.

The one change in the Reconstructionist version of these blessings is in the third line, where we substitute “who has brought us close to Your service” for the traditional “who has chosen us from all the nations,” consistent with our rejection of the idea of the Jews as the “chosen” people. You can see and hear the Hebrew Torah blessing at http://www.dorsheitzedek.org/torah-blessings

Tue, June 28 2022 29 Sivan 5782