Use this Guide Along With the Prayerbook for Friday Night Synagogue Services


With specific attention to the service as conducted at the Carlebach Shul

The page numbers are those of the English/Hebrew “Complete Artscroll Siddur”.


DON’T BE SHY: TO FIND THE PLACE IN THE PRAYERBOOK (and in this accompanying guide) ASK SOMEONE FOR THE PAGE NUMBER; the sections below are referred to by both the page numbers of the prayer and the name of the prayer. Suggestion: as the prayers proceed, glance at the section ahead so that you will know what to expect before it happens.


Prayer is a meditation, an attempt to establish a connection with God. Since it may be preferable to say less, but with greater concentration and depth, several special sections are recommended below. Transliterations of some important sections are provided.   NOTE: “[C]Hazan” = leader of the service.




A.     Text Box: OVERVIEW:
 The prayer services Friday evening has 3 components: total time about an hour and fifteen minutes,longer at the Carlebach Shul due to the singing&dancing.

A. the “afternoon service”: about 20 minutes: recited all weekdays including Friday: begins near sunset, about 4pm in December, about 8:15 in June.
B.The special service “Kabbalat Shabbat”, meaning “welcoming/ (accepting upon oneself) the Shabbat = Sabbath”; 25 minutes (at the Carlebach shul it takes about an hour - I wish it lasted even longer!) J)
C.     followed by a festive dinner.

Afternoon service: “Min(c)ha”:


“Ashrei”=“Praiseworthy”.:P232: The [C]Hazan repeats the last sentence or two. (don’t just read it, say it, in a whisper) If you can say only one line, say with deep concentration the line ¾ of the way to the bottom beginning: “You open”. After saying it in English you can say it in Hebrew: “Possay-ach es ya’decha, umasbi’ah lechol chai ratzon”


·        Kaddish” Top p234: The Chazan says “Kaddish” =”sanctification of God”. Beginning with “May His Great Name….”. See siddur for appropriate responses. The congregational response “Amen, May His great Name …” has great spiritual kabbalistic significance and so it is traditionally said with concentration and fervor.  You can follow along with the Hebrew/Aramaic “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


·        P235-249: “ShemonehEsrei-Amidah: about 10 minutes long. Recited (not just read) in silence, feet together (see how most of your fellow congregants do it), with concentration. Better to say a little part of it slowly and with concentration, for example the first 2 pages or so, than to say more of it without concentration.


·        The Amidah is repeated aloud by the chazzan (ten minutes). Each of the 19 blessings begins “Baruch ata adonai”= “Blessed are you God =Hashem=Adonai”. After the Name “adonai  the congregation says “baruch hu oo varuch shmo” = “blessed is He and blessed is His name”; at the end of the blessing the congregation says “o-mayn”/”amen”: This repeat of the service will give you the time to read it all in English as the chazzan is saying it: think of the whole congregation as a unit beseeching God.


·        ”Kedusha”: P236: Towards the beginning of the repetition of the Amidah there is a responsive four part section (“kedusha” = “holiness”) It begins with the chazan saying ”Ne’kadesh” = “Let us sanctify”, and is said with one’s feet together. The prayer is based on the words the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel heard the angels use in praising God! Think of this as you say the words. See commentary etc.


·        Towards the end: “modem” , the congregation will give a response of a few sentences: this is a sign that the next part of the service will begin soon:


·        P252: “Full Kaddish”: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”, with concentration.


·        P252-3: “Alenu Leshabeyach” = “It is our duty”:notice that at the words “and we bow” the congregants will bow slightly.


·        P255 middle-bottom “Mourner’s Kaddish”: Said by mourners or their appointed representatives. See commentary. To follow along: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.



B.     P308:  Kabbalat Shabbat:  a pivotal service! J


·        Six psalms, followed by a kabbalistic poem, and then a series of short verses recited aloud, in unison. After the congregation has completed each psalm, the chazan repeats the ending of the psalm. At the Carlebach shul the entire second, fourth and sixth Psalm of the service are sung; often the last one is accompanied by dancing: move to the front of your section (men/women) to join in. Speaking during the service is of course frowned upon; at the Carlebach shul the singing and dancing is not “a break” in the service, it is taken very seriously as a meditation of great concentration, intensity, and holy joy. The singing is a high spiritual meditation, so you may choose not to read the words of the prayer if it interferes with your “getting into” the singing; you can read the words another time.


·        Mizmor LeDovid”: The sixth Psalm, Ps 29 contains many Kabbalistic allusions and is to be said/sung with intense devotion and great joy.


·        P314 bottom: “Ana-beko-ach” = “We beg you....”:short, intense, Kabbalistic poem: sometimes sung.


·        P316-318: “LeCha Do-di”: the short verses are sung; first by the congregants and repeated by the chazan or v.v.; at the Carlabach shul there is dancing at the conclusion of this section. You’ll hear the words: “LeCha Do-di” repeated many times in this part of the service. BE PREPARED TO PIVOT 180 degrees, to face the back of the synagogue or the door with everyone else, at the last stanza, or the end of the next-to-last one! (see commentary in the siddur for an explanation).


·        P321: Psalms 92: “Mizmor Shir LeYom HaShabbat”: at the carlebach shul the beginning is often sung. This is the Psalm for the Sabbath, and is therefore fittingly the seventh Psalm to be recited in the Kabbalat Shabbat service. Then Psalm 93.


·        P322: “Mourner’s Kaddish”: Said by mourners or their appointed representatives. see commentary. Begins with “May His Great Name”.“Kaddish” =”sanctification of God”. The congregational response “Amen, May His great Name …” has great spiritual kabbalistic significance and so it is traditionally said with concentration and fervor. This transliteration will help you follow along: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


·        Depending on custom: the mishna section “Bameh madlikim” p322 bottom is recited/learned: Song of Songs is read (Shir ha’shirim): the short prayer “kegavna” is said.


·        P329: The chazan recites “The Rabbi’s Kaddish”. One again says: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


There may be a short speech at this point, or after the evening service.


C.      p331: Evening Service: “Arvit”/”Ma’ariv”:


The Friday evening service has the same overall structure as the evening service recited every night, but the actual prayers are somewhat different.     


·        Begins with “Barchu”: p331: See the large font letters “Bless Hashem”: the service-leader bows and says “Barchu es adonai hamevorach”, and the congregants bow slightly and answer “Boruch adonai ha-mevorach le-olam va-ed”. See siddur for translation and explanation.


·        Two short prayers, and then One of the central parts of the entire service, the one-line Sh’ma Yisrael”:

p330 bottom, in large letters: “Hear oh Israel”: said with great intensity, often sung, with the eyes closed for greater concentration and eliminating distraction, often with a hand covering the eyes. See siddur for commentary. You can say it in English, or in Hebrew: “Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynoo, adonai e[c]had”. Spend time on this sentence, and on the following one: “Baruch shem ke’vod malchuso le’olam va’ed”: if there is time remaining you can read/say the rest of the shma prayer, until the top of p334, in English.


·        Following the shma a few short prayers follow - see siddur - some of which may be partially sung, particularly: p337 “Veshomroo”: “And the children of Israel shall keep” To help you follow along in the singing, this is a transliteration of the words: “Veshomroo bnay yisroel, es hashabos, la’asos es hashabos, ledorosom bris olom, baynee oovayn b’nay yisroel, os hee le’olam, key shayshess yamim asah adonai es ha’sha’mayim ve’ess ha’aretz, oovayom hashvi’ee shavass va-yinafash”


·        Half Kaddish: Begins with “May His Great Name” Kaddish=sanctification of God. The congregational response “Amen, May His great Name …” has great spiritual kabbalistic significance and so it is traditionally said with concentration and fervor. In Aramaic/Hebrew it is “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


·        P338-34: “Shemoneh Esrei – Amidah” for the evening service. Silent prayer. Feet together, no interruptions. Better to say a little part of it slowly and with concentration, for example the first page or so, than to say more of it without concentration.


·        After this: “And the Heavens” = “Vayechulu”


·        Chazan: “Blessed….” . The congregation says: “He who was”= “Magen Avot


·        P348: chazan says Kaddish: remember: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


·       P348 bottom: Kiddush, said over wine.


·       P350 Short prayer: “Alenu Leshabeyach” = “It is our duty”: at the words “and we bow” the congregants bow slightly (see how most of your fellow congregants do it).


·       P352: Mourner’s kaddish: see above: “Amen, Ye’hey shmey rabbah mevorach, le’olam oole’olmei olmaya”.


·       P352 bottom: Adon Olam is sung, beginning with “Master..” . Yigdal may be sung.


This completes the service.




At dinner but before the beginning of the meal, which itself is a kind of service, everyone sings Shalom Aleichem, a welcoming of the angels who visit every Shabbat table, then in many places “Eshet Chayil” is sung, and then Kiddush is said over wine, then the washing the hands for bread, and the blessing over the bread. With that the meal begins, often accompanied by singing and the sharing of insights on Torah.


For invitations to a shabbat dinner ask the Rabbi of the synagogue or a board member immediately after the services; if it is a few days beforehand, contact Steve Eisenberg or Eva Levy.



The morning service usually begins about 9 am (later at the Carlebach shul), and end about 11:30 (about 1 pm or later at the Carlebach shul) followed in most synagogues by a “kiddush”, a (free) light meal or snack.

Before sunset the shabbat afternoon service is said, similar in structure to the one for Friday but with the addition of a short reading from the Torah. Followed in most synagogues by a (free) light meal.

After this, when the stars are beginning to appear, is the evening service, very similar in structure to Friday’s, and then Havdallah, the (short) ceremony marking the conclusion of the Shabbat, with a blessing over wine, a fragrance and a flame.



Books on the prayers and about Shabbat can be found online, at Jewish bookstores (ask a clerk for help), in some synagogues, and at Aish Hatorah.  See  (Innernet’s “The Cosmic Prayer Connection”) and other articles referenced in their archive. See also the links to prayer on  eg . See the Artscroll book “Kaddish” for a deeper discussion of that prayer. Classes on prayer can be found at many synagogues as well as at Aish Hatorah and Hineni, and for women at the Jewish Renaissance Center and Drisha.



Please feel free to take this with you when you leave to read later at your leisure; if not please return it to its place.


This is a preliminary edition: Please send your comments, references, suggestions, including suggested additions/changes to:  . This material is copyright, but may be reproduced WITHOUT CHANGE OR ADDITION for non-commercial use in synagogues and schools. If you wish a special version to be crafted for the service at your synagogue, please write to the e-mail address above.




Instead of announcing page numbers every page etc, just have a sign with a holder for cards, placed in succession one on top of the other as the service proceeds, with numbers of sections of the service correlated to the numbers I’ll put on the sections of the Guide, and the name of the section


1.     Afternoon Service: Ashrei

2.     Afternoon Service: Kaddish

3.     Afternoon Sevice: Shemoneh Esrei Amidah


·       (throughout the services, and in various synagogues, you will hear the congregants’ responses said in various pronunciations, based on their background communities.


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