Orthodox services take place every Friday night and Shabbat throughout the year, as well as for all the major festivals, and everyone is welcome at these. Details will appear on the website and in synagogue member mailings a few weeks prior to the date itself for each festival. For relevant details go to Shabbat, Festival And Other Services.
Apart from the High Holy Days, services are conducted by volunteers. However, if you are able to, you are encouraged to identify portions of the Torah that you are competent to read already or to prepare other portions in advance from time to time. There are members of the congregation who are prepared to teach people to read Haftarah and Torah.
On Shabbat, 7 men will be called up to the Torah and an 8th will read the Haftarah. Taletot (prayer shawls) are always available in shul. If you require a special blessing or a memorial prayer recited, you should inform the Religious Services Committee or the Gabbai (service organiser) for the day.
Orthodox services follow the Singer Prayer Book for Shabbat and Daily Services and the Routledge Prayer Books for all the Festivals. If you are able to lead any part of the services, please let us know - the Oxford minchag (tradition)is very flexible and we welcome the opportunity to listen to niggunim (tunes) from other communities.
Following normal orthodox practices, men and women sit separately. Because the Oxford mechitsah is not a 100% physical barrier, some newcomers may take time getting used to it. Normally, our mechitsah arrangement has women sitting to the right as you enter the main shul whilst men sit on the left. On the High Holy Days, this arrangement is applied a little more flexibly to allow the larger number of congregants to participate in the services.
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