First Time at TBS?
If you are planning to visit Temple B’nai Shalom for the first time, you may find these answers to frequently asked questions helpful.
- Is parking available?
Yes, the parking lot has ample spaces for Friday evening and Saturday morning services. If there is inclement weather, you can drop off passengers in the covered area outside the front door. Please note that the parking lot is one way so be sure to follow the directional signs when entering and exiting. At High Holy Day services, you may be directed to alternative parking areas by the volunteer parking attendants.
- Do services start on time?
Absolutely! Our services start very promptly. It is a good idea to plan to arrive five to ten minutes prior to the start of services to avoid rushing to find a seat in the sanctuary. If you arrive late, an usher may ask you to wait at the back of the sanctuary before taking your seat at an appropriate time in the service. Some Friday night services are preceded by a fifteen minute period of musical meditation performed by one or more congregants. If this is the case, please enter the sanctuary quietly. Feel free to join the congregation for refreshments and socializing at the Oneg Shabbat in the social hall after the Friday night service.
- What should I wear?
At Friday night worship service, most congregants dress in business casual attire. Some men do choose to wear a coat and tie, but most just wear a shirt and sweater without a tie. Women wear slacks or skirts. Blue jeans are not considered appropriate. Attire for a Saturday morning Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is dressier. Most boys and men wear ties and jackets. Kippot and tallit are available at the rear of the sanctuary if you choose to wear them – most congregants do not.
- What can I expect to take place during the service?
When you enter the Temple on Friday nights you will be greeted at the front door. On entering the sanctuary, an usher will hand you a service folder. It contains a chronological listing of the prayers and songs included in the service as well as the corresponding page(s) in the prayer book. During the service, the rabbi will let you know when to stand and when to sit. You should return your service folder to the ushers at the end of the service.
- Where do I get my prayer book?
At most services, we use Gates of Prayer. You will find a copy below the seat in front of you. If you sit in the front row, prayer books are located at either end of the row. If not, you can ask an usher for a book. TBS is fortunate to also have prayer books tailored to specific services or to certain holidays. When these books are used, an usher will provide you one as you enter the sanctuary. If you are attending a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, an usher will also give you a Torah Commentary. Special prayer books and Torah Commentaries should be returned to the ushers at the close of the service.
- If I have any questions, who can I ask?
At Friday night services two temple members in the lobby will greet you. At the back of the sanctuary, you will find two Board members who serve as ushers. Additionally, the Membership Committee will have representatives at a membership table after Friday night services at the Oneg in the social hall. You can ask any of these people for information. At Saturday morning services, ushers at the rear of the sanctuary can answer your questions.
- What should I do if I have a young child who starts to cry or who is having difficulty being quiet during the service?
Classroom #9 is equipped with a live video and audio feed of the service. An usher can direct you to this room. If you are in doubt as to whether or not your child is being disruptive to other congregants, it is usually best to take your child out of the sanctuary. Please be aware though, that noise in the hallway does carry into the sanctuary. Classroom 9 is your best bet. We ask that visitors with small children be especially aware of how noisy their children are so that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah teenager is not distracted while he/she is leading the service.
- Can I get a tour of the synagogue?
If you would like a tour, please call the temple office at 703- 764-2901 to request one.
- Can I speak with one of the rabbis?
The rabbis are often available in the front of the sanctuary upon the conclusion of the service. After Friday night services, the rabbis join congregants in the social hall at Oneg. This is a good time to introduce yourself and engage in a short conversation. If you are a member and would like to have a lengthier meeting with either rabbi, please call the temple office at 703- 764-2901 to schedule an appointment.