At UT services, we welcome Jews of various backgrounds and people of different faiths to pray along with us, led by our Rabbi and Student Cantor. During the summer months when the rabbi studies in Israel, congregants act as prayer leaders.
Most services are conducted in our bright, open, and intimate Third Floor Chapel. At special times, like the High Holy Days and for B’nei Mitzvah, we open our large and beautiful sanctuary on the Main Floor.
Since customs vary among synagogues, we offer this overview to help you feel at home when you join us. We invite you to also familiarize yourself with our liturgy and the ritual elements of our sanctuary.
During services we refrain from the use electronic devices such as cameras, video equipment, and cell phones.
Services are conducted in a mix of Hebrew and English and are easy to follow for non-Hebrew speakers as our wonderful prayer book contains translations (both literal and modern) and transliterations of all Hebrew. The rabbi prompts the congregation on page numbers, when to stand and sit, and other customs.
Mishkan T’filah, our siddur (prayer book), offers the traditional liturgy for Shabbat and the holidays with a balance of creativity and beauty, theology and purpose. Its translations are gender neutral when referring to both people and God, and provides alternative readings and running commentary.
The Torah: A Modern Commentary features a translation in modern English based on the latest scholarship and extensive classical and modern commentary that illuminates the historical context. It also uses gender-neutral translations of the Torah and haftarah that are organized by parashah and includes a helpful index and aliyot markers.
Mishkan HaNefesh, our machzor for the Days of Awe leads us on the journey of t’shuvah (repentance) and cheshbon hanefesh (self-reflection), and bridges the personal and the communal, as well as the ritual and the ethical dimensions of Yamim HaNoraim. It features new translations, a fully transliterated liturgy, expanded options for Torah readings, study texts that offer background and context, contemporary poetry and alternative readings, rich commentary, essays by the leading Reform Movement thinkers and original woodblock art.
These books should never be placed on the floor; they should be kept in one’s lap or on the seats.
Both men and women are welcome to cover their heads with kippot (yarmulkes) and to wear tallitot (prayer shawls) during services, but this is a personal choice at UT. Communal kippot and tallitot are provided for the use of our members and guests.
Music is a central element of prayer at UT. Our rabbi and cantor lead congregants and guests in song accompanied by our piano soloist and additional instrumentalists. We sing both traditional and contemporary melodies.
Volunteer ushers distribute the prayer books, seat visitors with a welcoming member, assist those who have special seating needs, and assure that everyone is comfortable.