Public worship

For many Jews the synagogue is an important place of worship. Synagogue services remind Jews that they are part of the worldwide Jewish community.

There are three main public acts of worship that take place in the synagogue: daily services, Shabbat services and festival services.

Public worship in scripture

The Tenakh suggests that there is much value in public worship:

I will fulfil my vows to the Lord in front of all his people.Psalm 116:14

Many Jews believe this passage shows the importance of worshipping with others as a community.

Daily services

A day in the life of Nachi, a young Orthodox Jew

Orthodox Jewish synagogues usually hold three daily prayer services. These are known as Shacharit (morning), Minchah (afternoon) and Arvit (evening). Some Reform Jewish synagogues also hold these services, but many do not.

A day in the life of Jess, a young Progressive (Reformed) Jew

Each service includes the use of a prayer book called the Siddur. These services are often led by a rabbi, although in some synagogues anyone can lead the service. There may also be prayers, which can be sung. Jews usually stand to say these prayers as a reminder that they are in the presence of God.

The importance of public worship

Public worship is very important to Jews for many reasons:

  • it gives Jews an opportunity to listen to and reflect on readings from the Torah and the rest of the Tenakh
  • it unites the Jewish community
  • it allows Jews to show love to God, which is a requirement of the Torah
  • it fulfils the requirement to worship publicly, which is laid out in the mitzvot

How many daily services usually take place in an Orthodox synagogue?

There are usually three services that take place each day in an Orthodox synagogue: Shacharit (morning), Minchah (afternoon) and Arvit (evening).