Shalom and Welcome
to the
Franklin Lakes Synagogue

Q&A with Rabbi Kaplan about Shabbat Services at Chabad.

Why do we celebrate Shabbat?

For six days we work, raise a family, take care of errands, manage relationships and try to heal and refine the world. Then we take one day, Shabbat, and press pause on all the white noise around us. We use this day to reconnect, refine and heal ourselves. One of the traditional Shabbat practices designed to aid us in achieving that goal is to attend Synagogue Services. Got Shabbat?

So, who comes to Shabbat Services at Chabad?

Everyone. Even stuffed animals. You don't need to be with a spouse, kids or anyone for that matter. It's all about carving out a personal space in which to rejuvenate and connect with yourself, the Creator, and community. If you're not sure what the value of community is, it's time to invest a little in it and discover what it will add to your appreciation of life.

But I don't know how to pray?

Who said you need to pray in the Synagogue? Close your eyes and relax a bit. Talk to the person sitting next to you. Catch a few zzz's while the Rabbi talks. But if you are up to it, why not say just one prayer; from the siddur, in English or Hebrew, or just make your own. Talk it out with yourself and the Creator.

Does the Rabbi give one of the those long winded boring sermons about the current state of political affairs in Antarctica?

Isn't that his job? The Rabbi speaks for a couple minutes here and there, between the Torah readings. He tells jokes, probes the narrative and brings it all together with a timely and relevant message. Then you get to vote with a big yawn, guffaw, snore or Aha! Every reaction is appreciated. You can even jump in with your own question or comment. Then the Rabbi gets to vote.


Ummm, yes, That's generally a good idea. But we don't care what you wear. The clothing scene at Chabad is a perfect mix of an average crowd at Starbucks any random day. You'll see pants, sweaters, sneakers, skirts, jackets, heels and the occasional jeans. Wear whatever you are comfortable with. Just come.

Aren't the services long?

If you like long services come at 9:30 AM. If you like short services, come at 11:00 AM. If you just like to eat and hang out come at 12:00 PM for the kiddush luncheon. If you like to clean-up, come at 1:30 PM or anytime for that matter. Come for whatever period of time you're comfortable with. Or just drop in for 10 minutes. Warning: it's tough to leave when you enjoy yourself.

But I go to the Synagogue on the High Holidays and umm... I really don't enjoy it?

You are in good company. Sitting through something that you don't understand - in content or structure - is like watching a game of Seepak Takraw (I figure you don't know what that is; neither do I.) Maybe its time for some practice. If you do come, you will learn the 'rules of the game' and you will learn to enjoy and will see the value it adds to your life. And there's nothing un-fun about a little Shabbat lunch. One other thing: services on Shabbat are very different than on the High Holidays. That's because when there are 500 straight-jacketed unfamiliar people doing their 'duty' once a year, it doesn't make for a warm, congenial, inspirational environment. So how about this? Stay home on Rosh Hashanah and trade it in for a little Shabbat during the year. I bet you may decide to come on the High Holidays too.

Is there a fee?

Of course not. You never pay to pray. But on occasion, you might choose to sponsor a kiddush luncheon to remember a loved one or celebrate an occasion. Or like others have done, you might feel so thankful to have found a shul you love, you sponsor the kiddush just to say thank you to your fellow congregants for bringing warmth, meaning, enjoyment and camaraderie into your life. (Formal membership dues are only requested from families outside NWBC wishing to participate.)

Where do I sit?

Wherever you want. It's G‑d's Shul and in his presence we are all the same. Just don't park in the Rabbi's spot. Just kidding. But you might want to make family time and walk to Shul!

Won't I feel intimidated that everyone else knows whats going on and are familiar with the prayers?

Let's put it this way. Most people who comes to services on Shabbat are just like you. In fact, they thought the very same as you do when they came the first time. And then they realized that you don't need to know anything to be part of the services and they got comfortable. Some of them still don't know much about Judaism but they enjoy the atmosphere and always learn something new. Others have caught on and gained much knowledge over the years. But regardless, everyone is warm, accepting, non-judgemental and utterly thrilled to have you.

What will my kids do?

They'll hang out with other kids, play in the play room, daven a bit with Mimi, get some snacks, hear some Torah stories and eat lunch with everyone. But more than anything else, they will find a place in their own heart for growth, appreciation, community and G‑d.

What's the schedule like?

9:30 AM - Shachrit prayer service; 10:30 AM -Torah reading with sermonettes; 11:40 AM - Musaf prayer service. 12:00 PM - Kiddush Luncheon.

If it's your first time, or second, or third, don't come at 9:30. That's for seasoned professionals; better come at 11:00 AM.

Have another question? Ask Rabbi Kaplan.