December 2011

Ritual Committee would like to send a reminder to the community of how we best conduct ourselves when in shul. This is not meant to be “the ten commandments” of shul behaviour, rather it is meant to encourage us to be considerate of others when in shul so that hopefully it is an enjoyable experience for all.


Sanctuary Etiquette 

With regard to Shul etiquette:

  • We dress with respect in honour of Shabbat and festivals.

These days are special, so dressing in special clothes does honour to the day

  • When participating in a Shul service, whether from the Bimah or in front of the open ark, we dress in an appropriate and modest fashion. Out of respect to God and other service participants, we cover our shoulders, our feet, and our legs at least down to the knees.
  • We avoid entering the Shul while the Congregation is standing for a prayer.
  • We respect the dignity of the service by ensuring mobile telephones are switched off before entering the sanctuary.
  • We do not talk during services.
  • We avoid eating and drinking in the sanctuary. We recognise that children, in particular, may require food or beverage during a service. Should this be necessary we encourage attendees to leave the sanctuary before consuming food or beverage.
  • When we come late to a service we walk behind the Bimah to avoid walking in front and disturbing those at prayer.
  • We welcome children into our services.  We recognise that at times children have needs that are not met within the sanctuary and that they may become restless or noisy at such times.  When that happens, we settle the children down outside the sanctuary before returning, once again to avoid disturbing those who are praying. 
  • We respect each other for each other’s contributions, their uniqueness, their differing approaches when participating in/attending a service.
  • When participating in a service, or in any way involved, we aim to be present 10 minutes before the Service to reassure other Participants and Congregants that we will be present. This will also allow time for liaison between participants.
  • We regard it as disrespectful to place a Siddur or Chummash on the floor.  To this end, we pass the Chummash to the end of the aisle for collection by Shammashim after Torah service.
  • During Torah service Torah Bearers and Service Leaders should never stand with their backs to the open Ark, rather stand side on.
  • Photography and video filming are not acceptable during regular services of worship including the chagim and Bat/Bar Mitzvah services.  This can be done in the sanctuary if required, either before or after the service.


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