TBEMC Shabbat and Haggim Policy

Temple Beth-El Mekor Chayim is a Conservative congregation affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and upholds and educates its members and those in the community about Halakhah (Jewish Law). The incorporation of Shabbat and Holiday observance into our Congregational life creates a sense of Kedushah (holiness) In the activities of the Synagogue and serves as a model to demonstrate to members the important role that Halakhah can play in their lives.

  1. Scope and Exceptions
    1. This policy applies to all staff and lay leadership and covers all events sponsored by the Congregation, including the Religious School and arms of the Temple (e.g., Sisterhood, Men’s Club, youth groups, etc.).
    2. Requests for exceptions to this policy may be submitted to the Ritual Committee and are subject to review by the Rabbi, who serves as the Mara d’Atra (decisor of Jewish Law) for the Congregation.
  2. Definition of Shabbat and Haggim
    1. Shabbat begins at candle lighting time, 18 minutes before sunset, and ends approximately 25 hours later, 42 minutes after sunset the next day. Specific times are listed in the TBEMC Bulletin and on our website.
    2. Similar rules also apply to the following Haggim (festivals or holy days): 2 days of Rosh Hashanah, the first 2 days of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simhat Torah, the first 2 and last 2 days of Passover, 2 days of Shavuot, and Yom Kippur. The second day of Haggim begins 42 minutes after sundown. Once again the specific times are listed in the Bulletin and on our website.
  3. Preparation for and Timing of Events Following Shabbat and Holidays
    1. To avoid the need for driving or setting up on Shabbat, events must begin no earlier than 45 minutes after Shabbat ends. Later starting times will be necessary for some programs that require extensive set-up.
    2. Set-up for events which follow Shabbat must take place either by 1:00 Friday afternoon (or during times of the year that the calendar permits, 3:00) or no earlier than 15 minutes after Shabbat ends. The same rule holds for the Haggim listed in Section 2b.
  4. Food Policies
    1. The purchasing, preparation, and heating of food must be in accordance with the Congregation’s Kashrut policy.
    2. Purchase and delivery of food may not take place on Shabbat or Haggim.
  5. Expectations of Lay Leadership: The Congregation understands that individuals and families establish their own patterns of religious observance with regard to Shabbat. Lay leaders of the Congregation are expected to provide leadership in regard to learning about and demonstrating a commitment to Halakhah as regards to work done for the sake of the Synagogue. Therefore, lay leaders of the Congregation may not engage in the following activities on Shabbat:
    1. Phone calls, emails, or other electronic communication that relate to Synagogue business.
    2. Handling of Synagogue funds and associated record keeping.
    3. Mailing of Synagogue materials (materials may be deposited before Shabbat begins) or retrieval of Synagogue mail.
    4. Work on written or electronic materials related to Synagogue programs, publicity, and administration.
    5. Regular synagogue committee meetings.
    6. Purchase of materials for use by the Synagogue.
  6. Other Policies for Shabbat and Haggim:
    1. Programs held on Shabbat and Haggim may not involve activities which involve melakhah (“work” as defined by Halakhah). Examples include such activities as writing (such as using pencils, crayons, chalk, markers), cutting, pasting, and other types of craft projects.
    2. Any materials needed for Shabbat or Haggim programs must be in the building in advance.
    3. Use of recorded or instrumental music is not permitted during Shabbat or Haggim.
    4. Use of video, audio, or other electronic devices, cameras, and telephones is forbidden on Shabbat and Haggim.
    5. Use of portable microphones is not permitted on Shabbat or Yom Kippur, but such microphones may be used on other Haggim not falling on Shabbat.
    6. Turning electricity on or off is not permitted on Shabbat or Yom Kippur, but is permitted on other Haggim not falling on Shabbat. The prohibition on Shabbat and Yom Kippur does not apply to non-Jews.
    7. Smoking is forbidden on Shabbat anywhere within the Synagogue or on its grounds. The Temple building is a smoke-free zone at all times.
  7. Any questions regarding these policies should be directed to the Rabbi, who is the decisor of Jewish Law in our Congregation.

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