At University Synagogue, we welcome Shabbat and Jewish holidays with services filled with participation, beautiful music, learning and celebration.
Our services are very accessible to people experienced in traditional worship, as well as to newcomers, and those who want to learn more about Jewish tradition in a meaningful way.
Friday evening services conclude with an Oneg Shabbat, which provides a wonderful opportunity to greet old friends and meet new ones. Saturday morning services are followed by a kiddush.
Attending services is a great way to experience University Synagogue’s contemporary approach to Judaism. Guests are always welcome. Join us and refresh your spirit.
We use the “Kol Haneshamah” Reconstructionist prayerbooks for our Shabbat services. The Reconstructionist prayerbooks are gender-neutral and inclusive, combining traditional liturgy with a contemporary outlook. Don’t worry if you don’t know Hebrew or are a bit rusty. Everyone can join in because our siddurim (prayer books) have transliterations for almost everything that’s recited aloud or sung.
Our monthly Shabbat Alive service is a music-filled event with a focus on spirituality as expressed joyously through music and song. Shabbat Alive services feature different musical themes that run the gamut from jazz to Sephardic music to show tunes. Our wonderful Cantor Braier is accompanied by musicians, our choir, Young Cantors Ensemble, and our Religious School classes, all performing and singing Jewish music. At Shabbat Alive, we let the music transport us to a different level of Shabbat experience.
Once a month, on the evening of Shabbat Alive, we also hold Tot Shabbat services. This unique service, which begins at 5:45 p.m. and lasts approximately one half hour, is led enthusiastically by Rabbi Rachlis and Cantor Braier, and is geared towards families with children through age seven. Children have plenty of opportunities to participate in this highly interactive service, in which traditional prayers are supplemented with song and stories told by our Pre-School Director, Heidi Kahn.
Our monthly Friday evening Family Service is always a fun event, as our children participate in the service and the Rabbi addresses them directly when he speaks to them about subjects ranging from holidays to Tikkun Olam. Rabbi Rachlis engages and teaches using a variety of props and costumes to keep everyone interested. Family services are preceded by a Family Shabbat dinner in the social hall, with activities and games for the children, and followed by our Family Fun Oneg.
University Synagogue is known for our love of discussion, interesting topics, and our Synaplex Speakers Series. Each monthly Shabbat Alive service is followed by a noted speaker, selected to stimulate ideas and engage the audience. Throughout the years, we have hosted many fascinating speakers, including; “An Evening of Jewish Stories” with Jeremy Piven, Rabbi Marvin Tokayer speaking on the “Exotic Jews of China, Japan and India,” Sam Harris on his book: “The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason,” L.A. Times Movie Critic Kenneth Turan on the “World of Yiddish Film and Culture,” and many more. Click the button at the top of this page to see our exciting upcoming speakers.