Shabbat Services

Join Us For Prayer

The observance of Shabbat is a central focus of congregational life at Bet Ha’am, and we offer a variety of worship experiences and Shabbat programs. To keep our congregation safe, we are currently offering services online. Please email the office to get the Zoom registration link.

We are grateful that our congregants have responded so positively to online services. We have heard from congregants and friends no longer in Portland who can join us from wherever they now live. We have heard from people who were originally skeptical but have found that we maintain a worshipful feeing and a strong sense of communal connection. One congregant wrote, 

“Last night, I attended Shabbat services virtually. I really did not know what to expect. It was great. I felt a connection to my religion, spirituality, Shabbat, and other congregants. There were no distractions. I was not looking around to see who was there. I was not concerned with sitting or standing at the right time or with singing off-key. I let myself absorb the full meaning of the service, sermon, and prayers. At the end, all of the congregants wished one another well. There can be some good during these times. You just need to take the time (which we all have) to find it.”

When it is safe, we will return to holding in-person services every Friday night and Saturday morning, as well as on Jewish holidays. All Bet Ha’am services and events are open to the entire community. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Everyone is welcome regardless of religious background, Jewish knowledge, or age.

The Union of Reform Judaism offers a helpful guide of what to expect during many reform Jewish services. If you are new to Zoom, you may find some of our basic Zoom tips helpful.

Shabbat Evening Services (Friday)

Friday Evening Shabbat Services are held most weeks at 7:30 PM. Our services are a little later in the evening so that you can light the Shabbat candles and enjoy a dinner at home before coming to services. 

On second Friday of most months, we hold a Family Shabbat Service. The evening begins with a pizza dinner (by donation) at 5:30 PM; the service is 6:00-7:00 PM. This service is presented with “visual t’filah“–the prayer book is projected onto a big screen. The service is geared toward families with children 12 years old and under, but all are welcome.

In this past, we have held a Contemplative Service on the second Friday of most months. This service focused on music, meditation, and sacred chant. At this time, monthly contemplative worship is not being offered. 

A monthly Tot Shabbat Service (for families with children up to age 5) is held on the fourth Friday of most months, 5:30–6:00 PM. There is a short service, a story, and an activity followed by a pizza dinner. The dates for 2019-2020 are here.

Shabbat Morning (Saturday)

Shabbat morning begins with Torah Study, 9:00-10:00 AM, We draw from classical and modern commentaries to study the weekly portion and, as a group, explore the meaning of the text in our lives today.

Saturday Morning Worship is 10:30 AM-12:30 PM. The service is filled with song, changing, and meaningful English text, and usually includes a reading of the weekly Torah portion and a drash (teaching or sermon) on the portion or some other timely topic. Our Saturday service often include celebration of young people (and sometimes adults) becoming bar or bat mitzvah. The entire congregation is welcome and encouraged to join in Shabbat worship when our youth and adults are called to the Torah.

Photo of chairs surrounding a children's play rug with toys

The PrayGround

Once we are back in our sanctuary, we encourage families with children 5 years old or younger to join us on Saturday mornings at the "PrayGround," a Jewish-themed play space in the sanctuary. In this way, the youngest members of our community can begin to fall in love with Shabbat.

Wednesday Shacharit (Morning) Service

Join us every Wednesday for a Shacharit (morning) prayer service at 7:00 AM. If you are coming to recite Kaddish and desire a full minyan (a quorum of 10 worshipers), please contact the office in advance.

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