Shabbat services offer our community an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life as we come together as families and individuals to worship, learn, and reflect. We welcome all, and we find ways to make each participant feel a sense of Shabbat peace (often in the midst of joyous song). more...
We worship together each Friday night, typically at 7:30 at the Temple building. This is followed by a chance to snack and connect at the Oneg Shabbat (“Joy of Shabbat”). We also have special Family Shabbat services which are led in part by our Religious School students. These typically begin at 7:00. There are Tot Shabbat services for our younger participants (up through Kindergarten), which consist of brief and lively worship, a snack, and a craft activity. These take place on some Friday nights at 6:30 and some Saturday mornings at 9:30. When a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is celebrated, we worship at the First Universalist Society of Franklin, 362 Chestnut Street in Franklin. These moving services begin at 10:00 on Saturday mornings. From September though June, the Rabbi leads a Torah study each week at 8:30 at the Temple. Larger Friday night services are held at the Franklin Federated Church, 117 Main Street in Franklin.
The Jewish Holiday Year
The Jewish holidays range from the seriousness of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) to the raucousness of Purim. At Temple Etz Chaim, we find a place for each special moment of each special year. more...
We begin with our High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur. These take place in the early autumn (September/October). Before Rosh Hashanah, we get together for S’lichot, where we reflect on the upcoming Days of Awe and change our Torah mantles to white for the season. On Rosh Hashanah we hear the sound of the shofar (ram’s horn) and participate in tashlich (symbollically throwing our sins into flowing waters). On Yom Kippur, we strive to live better lives while we hear the beautiful melodies of Kol Nidre and other songs, led by our Cantor and choir. Our services provide a combination of tradition and innovation. We also have lively Children’s services for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The solemnity of Yom Kippur quickly give way to the joy of Sukkot (the Feast of Booths). We gather in our communal sukkah for “Pizza in the Hut” and for a family friendly service of joy in the abudance of the harvest. At the end of Sukkot, we celebrate the evening of Sh’mini Atzeret/Simhat Torah, as the Torah scroll is fully unrolled and we dance, sing, and celebrate the meaning of the holiday: the Joy of Torah.
As the days get shorter and shorter, we commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah (November/December). We come together to kindle our outdoor, oil lit Hanukkah menorah and to share with our choir in Hanukkah songs.
We mark the joyous holiday of Purim (February/March) with a Purimspiel, a play that tells the Purim story through such media as Disney, show tunes, or Harry Potter. We read the Megillah (scroll) of Esther, dress up in costumes, and generally have a beautifully silly time.
A month later (March/April) we mark our liberation from slavery in Egypt with the Passover holiday. Individuals and families are encouraged to hold their own seders on the first night of Passover, and members of our community who need a place to celebrate are welcomed in at the homes of other congregants. On the second night of Passover, we hold a communal seder to which all are invited.
In the spring (May/June) we commemorate Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. It is the time that Jewish tradition says the Torah was given to the Jewish people. We join together in Confirmation, as our 10th grade students graduate from Religious School and take on the responsibilities of adulthood. And after a few summer weeks, we begin our year again with Rosh Hashanah.