The rabbi and the chazan

In any Jewish community, the rabbi is a respected and educated person who has studied and understands the sacred texts and traditions of Judaism. In Orthodox Judaism a rabbi is always male. In Reform Judaism rabbis may also be female.

A Jew will often turn to the rabbi when they have a question about any aspect of their faith, rather than studying the Torah or other texts. The rabbi helps people to understand what Judaism teaches about God and the sort of life God wants people to live.

The chazan is an individual who helps lead the Jewish people in songful prayer alongside the rabbi. The chazan should be a Jewish male adult who is musically trained.

The meaning and purpose of personal worship

Jews pray three times daily, each time they reflect on a different part of Jewish history.

Morning prayer (Shacharit) reflects on the time when Abraham chose to pray as he started his day with God. Afternoon prayer (Minchah) recalls the time Isaac chose to pray, it is also a time to for Jews to remind themselves of God in their day. Finally, evening prayer (Maariv) reminds the Jews of Jacob's practice and it ensures that God is in their minds before sleep.

Prayer is one of the commandments which Jews follow in their everyday life. Private prayer is important because most people cannot get to the synagogue three times a day. As women can only attend synagogue on Shabbat, private prayer is crucial for them.

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