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Prayer Services FAQ

What siddur (prayerbook) does Kehilat Hadar use?

Hadar does not use one particular siddur. We encourage participants to bring their own copy of a siddur, and we provide page numbers for four of the most commonly used siddurim. We have Birnbaum, Sim Shalom, and Koren siddurim and Etz Hayim and Hertz chumashim. Our Sim Shalom siddurim were generously donated by Rabbi Leonard Cahan in honor of the marriage of Josh Cahan and Tamar Gordon, and our Koren siddurim were generously donated by Dr. Ethan Schwartz.

How can I learn tunes that are used at Kehilat Hadar?

Numerous Kehilat Hadar participants have introduced tunes to the community's repertoire and we are always eager to learn new ones! Pri Eitz Hadar contains a collection of 19 eclectic melodies introduced at Hadar over several years, and you can find these and more on our YouTube playlistsHadar Institue also has a number of online digital recordings of tunes that are used at Hadar.

Why don't you announce page numbers or when to sit or stand?

We encourage people to daven at their own pace, and we recognize that not everyone shares the same custom of when to sit or stand. We also believe that interjections such as page numbers and stage directions harm the natural flow and rhythm of the service. In addition, there are large portions of the service where it is halachically forbidden to interrupt. Therefore, we do not announce pages or tell people when to sit/stand.

However, we realize that not everyone knows where the congregation is at any particular point in the service. We have therefore provided a sheet with page numbers for four of the most commonly used siddurim. We also encourage people to ask their neighbors for help if they want to find out where the congregation is.

Why is the prayer leader in the middle of the congregation?

Historically, this is the traditional location of the prayer leader, or sheliach tzibbur. This location reflects our belief that the prayer leader is part of the congregation, and not performing to or for the congregation. Everyone, including the prayer leader and Torah readers, faces east in order to join the congregation in directing our hearts toward Jerusalem.

Abraham Joshua Heschel expresses the philosophy of this layout:
"A [prayer leader] who faces the holiness in the Ark rather than the curiosity of [people] will realize that his audience is God. He will learn to realize that his task is not to entertain but to represent the people Israel....The congregation will then learn that...to pray does not mean to listen to a singer but to identify oneself with what is being proclaimed in their name." (The Insecurity of Freedom, p. 247)

How can I get an aliyah at Kehilat Hadar?

If you or your friends have not had an aliyah at Hadar and would like one, please let one of the Shamashim, know. We'd love to honor you with an aliyah. In addition, if you would like an aliyah for a special occasion, we encourage you to e-mail us in advance of the service.

Please know that it is certainly not our intention to overlook anyone.  We have many people at Shabbat morning services and there are a limited number of honors to give out each time.  Since we can't always remember who has been given aliyot in the past (especially since the Shamashim rotate each time we meet), we need your help in letting us know who hasn't been given an honor. Also, the aliyot are given out before the Torah service, so those who show up early usually have a better chance.

Of course, everyone gets an aliyah at Simchat Torah services!

How do you call up people who don't use masculine or feminine pronouns for Torah honors?

While we had previously done this on a per-request basis, in April 2018 we enacted a policy to officially offer a gender-neutral option for calling up people for ritual honors (such as an aliyah, hagbah, and gelilah). The policy was developed under the guidance of our mara d’atra (halachic advisor), Rabbi Ethan Tucker, in collaboration with the Shamashim (who oversee the ritual aspects of our services), as well as community members who use gender-neutral language or are experienced in developing LGBTQ inclusion training.
Check out our Gender-Inclusive Ritual Guidelines to learn more. 

What is Kehilat Hadar's policy regarding the wearing of a tallit (a prayer shawl) when I lead or participate in services?

Those taking aliyot at Hadar, reading Torah (the ba'alei k'riah) and leading the congregation in prayer (ba'alei t'fillah) should wear a tallit.  It is also preferred that the person who is chanting haftarah wear a tallit.  Those who perform a public religious function during the service, such as receiving an aliyah, lifting the Torah, or taking the Torah from and returning it to the aron (ark) are encouraged to wear a tallit out of respect for God and Torah and also the community, on whose behalf they are fulfilling this mitzvah.

We are sensitive, however, to the fact that tallit historically has been a masculine object, and that some women in our community may feel uncomfortable wearing one even when leading services, reading Torah or haftarah or performing one of the aforementioned public religious functions. Should you feel this way and should a Shamash offer you a tallit, please feel free to decline the offer and participate as you had planned. The Shamashim are always more than happy to discuss these sensitive issues with those who are grappling with them.

Why does Kehilat Hadar start at 9:00 AM in the winter, but 9:30 AM in the summer?

The times for prayer are fixed in relation to the hours of daylight - the shacharit amidah, for example, should be completed by the end of the fourth variable hour in the day, where a "variable hour" is calculated as 1/12th of the time between sunrise and sunset. In the winter, the days are shorter, so the shacharit amidah must be finished earlier in the day, hence services have to start earlier.

Are Shabbat morning services accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes. Our current space is fully accessible and has an elevator. We look forward to seeing you at Kehilat Hadar!

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784