Ritual Committee Codes
Approved by Ritual Committee, November 2012
A. Synagogue Decorum and Etiquette
- Temple Beth Shalom does not mandate or reject the use of kipot or taletot during any of its services. Each member may, according to his or her preference, pray using any, all or none of these ritual garments, according to one’s conscience.
- To preserve the dignity of the synagogue and sanctuary, which represents God’s house, persons entering therein will be dressed appropriately with due regard to modesty. Click here to see the dress code. There will be no food, beverage or smoking permitted in the sanctuary and no smoking permitted in the building.
- Photography will not be permitted in the sanctuary during a service except by permission of the rabbi. If, during a special ceremony, photographs are desired, the procedure will be that flashbulbs or artificial lighting is not permitted unless the artificial lighting is turned on before the service begins and remains constant throughout. No persons or photographers will be permitted to move through the sanctuary taking photographs or cinematography during a service. No flashbulbs or floodlights that are turned on or off during the service will be permitted; but may be used before or after the service.
- General decorum shall be maintained during religious services. Any officer, member of the Ritual Committee or the Rabbi shall be empowered to request anyone breaking the accepted rules of social behavior to leave the building.
B. Religious Ritual:
- It has been the policy of Temple Beth Shalom since its inception that no interfaith marriage may be celebrated on the premises. The synagogue’s Rabbi, if she or he deems it appropriate, is free to perform such ceremony outside of the synagogue.
- Only Jews may participate in Jewish ritual activity on the bimah. Oral participation by non-Jews is possible with permission of the service leader, provided that the content not be part of Jewish liturgy. However, at life-cycle events, a non-Jewish family member may be permitted to offer from the bimah a non-denominational prayer, personal prayers, or other discourse.
- No member of the congregation may celebrate an event in the Synagogue such as a wedding, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or baby-naming without first consulting with the Rabbi, who will then satisfy his-or herself that all the criteria for the proper observance of same as established by the Synagogue are met.
- No member may invite a rabbi or other person to perform a service at Temple Beth Shalom without the permission of the Temple’s Board, in consultation with the Ritual Committee and the Rabbi. The final determination belongs to the Rabbi.
- Any qualified person wishing to perform a service or part of a service shall consult with the Rabbi to insure that it is performed according to Synagogue guidelines.
- Any time the permission of a Rabbi of the Synagogue is required and the Rabbi is not available to extend that permission, the Ritual Committee must give it.
C. Dietary regulations.
- No meat products of any kind, and no shellfish or other non-kosher seafood, may be brought to Temple Beth Shalom for purposes of consumption therein. Only dairy and pareve products are permitted. Only fish that have both fins and scales are permitted.
- All cakes and baked goods served at the Temple should be made with butter or vegetable shortening and not with any other animal fats.
- In the week prior to Passover, children and adults will clear the Temple kitchen of all foods that are not appropriate for Passover. During Passover, no food classified as chametz may be brought into the Temple.
D. Shabbat and Holy Days.
- Complete decorum and respect for the Shabbat and what it represents shall be maintained at all times.
- Each member shall respect decorum during services being held on all Holy days.
- The TBS Judaica Shop may not be open for business transactions on Shabbat or Yom Tov, until after Kiddush and Motzi.
- The TBS Office is closed on Shabbat and Yom Tov. No work will be performed in the office on these days.
- Volunteer projects sponsored by TBS are permitted on Shabbat and Yom Tov, as long as they do not conflict with services. These are acts of G’milut Hasadim and as such are permitted.
- No animals or pets of any sort may be brought on to the synagogue premises.
- The Synagogue’s Board of Directors must approve the use of the sanctuary by any private groups for other than religious purposes.
- Whenever the Synagogue is without a Rabbi, consent for the performance of activities set forth in these guidelines shall be with the consent of the Ritual Committee and/or the Board of Directors.
Requirements for Bar/Bat Mitzvah at Temple Beth Shalom
- Minimum of three years of religious school education al TBS or the equivalent in Jewish education. What is equivalent is to be determined by the Rabbi. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah will continue attending religious school at least until the end of the school year his/her Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Test of basic knowledge is required before beginning the preparation.
- Attendance at services on a regular basis during the year preceding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. (At least one evening and one morning service per month as well as on the holidays).
- Knowledge of Prayer Book and ability to lead evening and morning Shabbat services, preferably including the cantorial.
- Ability to chant or read in Hebrew at least verses of Torah and the Haftarah, including the appropriate blessings, as assigned by the Rabbi.
- Comprehension of the Torah and Haftarah portions, as well as the relationship between them. Preparation of a sermon (written principally by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah) with the emphasis on the significance of the portions to the celebrant.
- Involvement in a social-action project during the year preceding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah (in consultation With the Rabbi).
- Parental participation in the preparation (in consultation with the Rabbi, with respect to services, learning, social-action project, celebration).
- The Rabbi and Religious School Principal have final say in preparation of Bar/Bat Mitzvah (readiness of the child to begin preparation, determining the date, and the preparation process). When more than one rabbi is involved in the preparation of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, the rabbi who will officiate at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony is the person who defines the ritual and directs the Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s preparation, and all other rabbis should coordinate with him/her.
- Conversion is an individualized process between the rabbi of record and the potential convert, within the framework established by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).
- TBS will maintain current archives which include copies of all life-cycle events transpiring in the congregation (weddings, b’rit milah and baby-namings, consecration, b’nei mitzvah, confirmation, conversion, deaths, etc.).
- Visiting rabbis should ensure that they accurately record the progress of current candidates for conversion and that this information is passed on to the rabbi who follows them at TBS. The chair of the Ritual Committee will ensure that this information is transmitted to the first rabbi of each Jewish calendar year.
- In the event that someone comes to TBS and claims to have converted previously with a Rabbi elsewhere, it is required that a document be produced, photocopied, and kept in the archives of the congregation. The document must be validated by a Rabbi. If there is no Rabbi in residence, then, a copy of the document should be validated by the Regional Director of the URJ. The written validation by the examining Rabbi will be attached to the photocopy of the document in the Temple’s archives so that there will never be a question of validity in the future.