Custom and Protocol in the Synagogue

Synagogue Decorum


TCOMD is a Central Florida synagogue. As such, customary dress and behavior is somewhat more relaxed than one would find in the venerable synagogues in New York or Jerusalem.

That being said, we do have a few pointers on decorum.

  1. With regard to cell phones and beepers: We ask that physicians and first-responders, please, put your necessary emergency electronic devices on silent mode.
  2. Please refrain from entering and exiting the Sanctuary during the Repetition of the Amidah, when the Torah is being read from the scroll, and during the Sermon.
  3. Please do not engage in unnecessary conversation during the prayer service. We have come as a community to stand before G-d, to pour out our souls, with requests and thanksgiving. Conversing during prayer is disrespectful to those present, and is a Hillul Hashem.
  4. We strongly encourage that the dress code ‘business casual’ be followed, allowing for short sleeve polo or button-down shirts during the warm season. Married women are encouraged to wear a head-covering. Men are required to cover their heads at all times, and adult male Jews are required to wear a tallit during the morning service. Shorts are not to be worn under any circumstances.
  5. When the Heihal (Ark) is open, or when the Torah is in procession, all physically able are to remain standing.  With a few exceptions discussed below, one must always remain facing the Heihal.
  6. During all formal prayer services it is necessary that men and women sit in their respective sections.  As a child approaches the age of Bat or Bar Mitsvah, this becomes incumbent on them as well.

Evening Services for Shabbath generally start with the afternoon service. As this is still a week-day service, the weekday Amidah is recited and during the repetition the names of those in need of a special prayer for Refuah-healing will be mentioned, and a request for those not on the Hazzan’s list will be made.

The Afternoon service is followed by Kabbalath Shabbath – the service that welcomes in the Shabbath – with traditional psalms and songs. The singing during Kabbalath Shabbath is often vigorous and accompanied by hand-clapping.

Arbit, the evening service is somewhat more dignified. There is no talking between Borkhu (the Call to Prayer) and the end of the Amidah.

The Shabbath Morning Service begins with Birkoth haShahar and Pesukei d’Zimrah – Morning Blessings and Verses of Praise. The Shaharith (Morning Service) follows with Kriat Shema, the Amidah and its repetition, the reading of Torah and Haftarah, Sermon and Mussaf.

After Mussaf, Synagogue announcements are made, and the Congregation withdraws to the Community Building for a Kiddush lunch.

If one is called upon to read a psalm or Mishnah, please stand in your place for the recitation. If one is called to Torah (given an Aliyah), please be ready at the foot of the Bimah (the central platform) prior to one’s being called. After one’s Aliyah, one takes the place next to the Gabbai Sheni on the right (south) side of the Tebah (Reader’s Desk). When then returning to one’s seat, one should walk slowly, so as not to give the impression of being in a hurry.

If one is called upon to open the Heihal (Ark), one approaches the Heihal in a measured walks, as if in procession. After closing the doors to the Heihal, one backs up three steps before turning around to walk slowly back to one’s place.

Aside from this, returning to one’s place, or when teaching or giving announcements from the Bimah, one never turn’s one’s back on the Heihal (Ark).






The Traditional Congregation of Mount Dora
Proud to be Jewish in Lake County
848 N. Donnelly St, Mount Dora, FL, 32757
Phone: (352) 735-4774