How long is a Family Service?  My kids get tired after a long day of school and activities.

Yes, we know that.  Services begin promptly at 7:00 PM and they conclude at 8:00 PM. We are very aware of the needs of young kids (and their parents) and have created this service to meet those needs.

Where can I see the Family Service schedule so I can put it on our family calendar?

They can be found on the Home page of our website,

On the service listing it says “with seventh (or sixth/fifth/fourth, etc.) grade participation.”  I don’t have a seventh (or sixth/fifth/fourth, etc.) grader.  Can I attend?

Absolutely!  The services are designed for participation by all grades and ages.  Each month one grade is assigned additional participation responsibilities, either reading a prayer in Hebrew or in English, or presenting a topic that they have been studying in Religious School.

Will there be lots of singing and music?

Yes!  Student Cantor Kathy will be playing her guitar and leading us in song at every Family Service.  All students in all grades will have multiple opportunities to participate.

What should I wear?

OC has no formal dress policy. Practically anything goes. Although Saturday mornings during a Bar/Bat Mitzvah folks are much more “dressed up.” Most boys/men have buttons on their shirts and pants–as in shirts with collars and no sweatpants.

Can I take photos?

Yes, during Family Shabbat services things are somewhat more relaxed. Photographs are NOT allowed during Shabbat morning services and afternoon services.

Birthdays are celebrated on Family Shabbat Services.  What does that mean?

If you have or will be celebrating a birthday during that month, you will be invited to the bimah (platform) to receive a token birthday gift (typically a Hebrew pencil or Israeli bubblegum.)  Additionally the congregation will sing Happy Birthday to you in Hebrew.  All ages are invited, members and non-members.  It is totally inclusive.

What happens if my child is not comfortable going on the bimah?

We will not force your child.  We will only encourage.

Can I invite friends/guests/relatives?

Absolutely!  All services are open to anyone and everyone to attend and enjoy.  It is especially nice to invite others.

What is a celebratory oneg?

Oneg (translated to delight) is the party/food/snacks/dessert that happens immediately after services.  It is a time to schmooze with your fellow congregants. Children are expected to take a bite of a cookie and then decide they want a bite of a brownie.  There is coffee served.  It is always decaf in the evening. (OC programs in the morning serve caffeinated coffee.)

What happens if my child makes a fuss during services?

Please do not stress.  Kids make noise.  Kids drop prayer books.  It is totally OK.

Can I bring my younger children/siblings to Or Chadash?

Yes!  Strollers are always welcome inside the sanctuary if that is easier for you.

What is the room with the glass window and shade in the back of the sanctuary?

That is known as the “quiet” room. (aka Room Number 3)  You can see and hear what is going on in the sanctuary.  It is soundproof!   If you ever need a place for you or your child(ren) to be able to spread out and play with toys, “chill” or stretch, this is the room.  You can go there, relax, and return to the sanctuary when/if you are ready (or not!).

Interesting fact!  Why do we sometimes stand and sometimes sit?

Our bodies are in the same position as the Torah.  So if the Torah is out of the Ark and vertical, so are our bodies.  If the Torah is resting on the Torah stand, we are sitting.  If the curtain is drawn open, we stand.  If the curtain in front of the Torahs is closed, we sit.  Of course, there are other times and prayers we stand for (like the Sh’ma or Kaddish), so sometimes it does seem like we are doing exercises. If you are not sure, just follow everyone else!

Is it OK to leave the service in the middle if my child needs to take a break or go to the bathroom?

Yes!  But please try not to leave during the Kaddish prayer. See below.

What is up with the egg shakers?

The egg shakers are all about fun.  They make noise.  Kids love them.  Adults love them.  There is no right or wrong way to shake them.  With a small(er) crowd we have enough for two per child.  With a big(ger) crowd, everyone (adults and kids) gets one. All we ask is that they get returned to the egg shaker box at the end of the service. If we forget to take them out and your child really, really wants to shake them? ask Rabbi Forman or Cantor Kathy to get them.

What is the Mi Shebeirach prayer?  Why are people calling out names?

Rabbi Forman will say, “At this time in our service we think about others in our community who are ill or in need of healing.  In a few moments I’m going to ask you to share the names of your friends, family and loved ones… Rabbi Forman will look around the room and people just call out names.  You just say a name out loud, your children can do this too.  It can be a friend, a teacher—anyone. Sometimes two people will say a name at the same time.  It is as if they were said in unison.  It is ok.

What is the Kaddish prayer and why does the mood seem different in the sanctuary during this prayer?

If there was one time in the service where you as a parent want to teach/instill/introduce “service decorum”–even to a young(er) child(ren) this might be it.  The Kaddish prayer is a special prayer that is said at the end of the service. We stand up when we say this prayer.  It is a prayer for those people in our community who are remembering loved ones who are no longer with us.  It is important to preserve the quietness and the serenity and dignity and reverence and respect for those remembering during this special time.  This is the one time in the service that we would prefer there to be no bathroom breaks.  Again, it is a learning process.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.  We would be happy to answer them.