What Is Shabbat Shuvah?
BY MJL STAFF
Shabbat Shuvah is celebrated this year on September 23
The Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur emphasizes themes of return and repentance.
The Shabbat that falls during the week between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah, or the Sabbath of Return, but Shabbat Shuvah is also a pun. Shuvah, sounds very much like teshuva, or repentance, another core concept of the High Holidays.
With Yom Kippur , and the Book of Life foremost on everyone’s minds, the services this Shabbat and the atmosphere are solemn and focused. The Haftarah portion is made up of selections from two books of Prophets — Hosea, and either Micah or Joel, depending on whether the community is Sephardic or Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi Jews read Hosea 14:2-10 and Joel 2:15-27. Sephardim read Hosea 14:2-10 and Micah 7:18-20. The selection from Hosea focuses on a universal call for repentance, and an assurance that those who return to God will benefit from Divine healing and restoration. The selection from Joel imagines a blow of the shofar that will unite the people for fasting and supplication. Hosea focuses on Divine forgiveness, and how great it is in comparison to the forgiveness of man. Other than the special Haftarah, the service on Shabbat Shuvah is not any different from a regular Shabbat service.
How to Host a Shabbat Dinner and Why You Should—Even if You Aren’t Celebrating
by ARIEL OKIN for Vogue
About halfway through each week, I implore anyone and everyone to “come over for Shabbat.” My requests are often met with blank stares or responses of “but I’m not Jewish?” from friends and coworkers.
While I am Jewish, I’m not Orthodox or extremely observant—yet the rituals of this Friday night tradition have become so much more than a religious experience to me. What’s better than winding down the week at home filled with your favorite people and the scent of a chicken roasting in the oven?
How to Have an Aliyah
BY RONALD L. EISENBERG for myjewishlearning.com
What you should know before you're called to the Torah.
The honor of reciting the blessings over the Torah and standing at the bimah while it is read is called an aliyah (plural, aliyot), which means “going up.” This refers both to the physical ascent of the person to the bimah where the Torah is read and to the spiritual uplifting associated with participation in this hallowed ritual. In most synagogues, to have an aliyah, one must be Jewish and have reached the age of bar mitzvah . Traditionally, only men could be called for an aliyah.
Being called up for an aliyah does not mean you will be asked to read from the Torah, although sometimes people ask to combine the two.
The Torah Service
BY RABBI DANIEL KOHN for myjewishlearning.com
The Torah is taken out during prayer services on Shabbat, Mondays and Thursdays.
Each Shabbat , a portion of the Torah is read, advancing each week until the entire five books of Moses are completed in a single year (three years, in some liberal communities). On festivals, special selections are read outside of this order that either mention the particular holiday or highlight a theme of the festival.
The Torah is also read twice each week, on Mondays and Thursdays, when ancient mark et days were held in the land of Israel; on Saturday afternoons, the Torah is also read. The service for removing the Torah from the ark, parading it around the congregation, reading it, and then returning it became an opportunity to symbolically reenact the history of Israel, from the giving of the Torah at Sinai to the worship in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Shabbat Candle-Lighting Times
BY MJL STAFF
Find out when Shabbat starts.
The lighting of candles as sunset approaches on Friday is the traditional sign of the onset of Shabbat. After lighting the candles, it is customary to cover the eyes and recite a blessing. The Shabbat candle-lighting blessing can be found here, as can other key Shabbat blessings.