Interest in attending a shabbat: what should I do?

I’m in school to gain my teaching license, and one assignment for one class consists of attending a cultural event outside of one’s normal activities. I’ve decided to go to a shabbat service; a friend of mine in town said that the local reform synagogue was very welcoming, and I know they’ve got a shabbat seder at 5:45 tonight, and a Tot Shabbat at 6:45.

I’ve got no idea what the difference between these is, or which would be more appropriate for me to attend, or whether I need to be more dressed up for one than for the other, etc. Does anyone have any advice for me? If I go to the later one, I can change clothes (put on dress shoes instead of hiking boots and clothes that aren’t dusted with dog hairs). Do I need some sort of head covering?


While I haven’t seen the term “Shabbat Seder” at our Synagogue, I’m willing to guess that it’s a Shabbat dinner held before services for the congragation. You may want to check ahead, as often those meals are by RSVP, in order to plan for the meal.

A Tot Shabbat is a service geared towards the youngest of children (toddlers-preschoolers). The prayers are explained more fully, some may be streamlined and often will include a child friendly activity, such as a book reading.

To a novice, it may be helpful, as much of the service is explained for the kids. You may want to see if there is a Family service, often geared toward older kids, and may be more meanigful.

Have fun and Shabbat Shalom! (means “Good Sabbath/Shabbat” or Peaceful Sabbath/Shabbat- typical greating at services)

Too finish your question :smack:

Dress nicely and neatly, but dressed up isn’t required- the typical “uniform” for guys is chinos and a nice shirt, no tie. For ladies, nice pants and shirt, skirt if you want to.

Reform synagogues vary on the requirement of head coverings, if you need one they have kippot for the men there. Few people bring there own.

You’re fantastic, Denizen–what an idiot I would have felt like if I’d shown up unannounced to a reservation dinner!

There is a third service listed tonight at 7:30. It says:

Next week’s calendar says

Finally, tomorrow at 10 am, there’s

Do any of these look more appropriate than others?


I know one…“oneg” means “snack”.

Okay–with y’all’s advice, I went to the 7:30 service, and that was the right one to go to. It was very interesting, especially when compared to the Catholic mass that I attended (on a similar assignment from the same professor) a couple of months ago.

Thanks again!

Oneg Shabbat is the gathering after services where you eat snacks, drink coffee, and chat. Very informal, but you should be at the services beforehand.

Sorry I didn’t get back to you before your service! I’m glad you found one that worked out for you!