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44 N. 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-5446

Shabbat Holiday Visits

Prayer services are held every morning, as well as every Friday evening, Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, and all holidays and special occasions. The services conducted today are virtually the same as during the eighteenth century.

The service is totally in Hebrew and read by the Hazan (Reader) and/or chanted by the congregation. The only changes are the sermon in English, the reading the prayer for the government in English (currently without reference to the sovereignty of England), and the addition of a prayer for the State of Israel. Our Tish'a Be'Ab service, during which the Hehal (ark) is draped in black and the service is read by candlelight, is unique to our tradition and attracts a large number of worshippers interested in viewing and participating in something different and special.


Schedule for Shabbat Morning Service

In order to enhance the joy of Shabbat (Oneg Shabbat),  the following is the schedule for Shabbat morning services:

  • Zemirot: 9:00 A.M.
  • Sharahit: 9:30 A.M.
  • Torah Reading:10:00 A.M.
  • Conclusion: About 12:00 noon


Shabbat Services

Congregation Mikveh Israel is one of this country's most distinguished religious and historic institutions.  It's Morasha (tradition) is unique.  Our Shabbat services, which follow the Spanish Portuguese Tradition, have continued almost unchanged since 1740.  As a guide to our Shabbat services, we offer the following information with reference to our prayer book edited by Rabbi Dr. David De Sola Pool:


Guide To Our Shabbat Morning Service

ZEMIROTH - (Introductory prayers and psalms) are recited to attune the mind to prayer.  The Reader leads the Congregation from the prayer book.  The asterisks in the book indicate where the Congregation precedes the Reader in chant. 


The Shema'
The SHEMA' consists of three specially selected sections from the Torah emphasizing the Oneness of G-d, Obedience, and Education.  It is the source for the Taleth (prayer shawl) and Tsitsit, Tefillin (phylacteries) and the Mezuzah. The Shema' is flanked by blessings elaborating on G-d's creating a new day, His love of Israel in giving us His Law and His redeeming power.  

The Amidah

The AMIDAH is a very ancient prayer. It is recited standing and in silence and is then repeated aloud by the Reader.  It contains a section of praise, a section about the Sabbath and a section of thanksgiving.


The Reading of the Torah

THE READING OF THE TORAH: The Parnas (President) goes up to the reading desk and the names of those presented with honors (such as opening the Hekhal (Ark) or carrying the Sefer Torah) are announced. The Torah service begins by a processional from the Hekhal.  The Congregation stands until after the Sefer Torah is brought to the reading desk and displayed.  The weekly portion is read on behalf of seven or more persons, each called by his Hebrew name.  The last person (Maftir) also reads a section from the Prophets (Haftarah).


Hashcaboth & Returning the Torah

After the HAFTARAH is read, memorial prayers called Hashcaboth are recited for the departed whom the Congregation has perpetually memorialized and others whose anniversaries are being observed.


Prayers are then read for our Government, the State of Israel, and the Congregation.  Announcements are made by the Parnas.  The Congregation rises to sing during the processional return of the Sefer Torah to the Hekhal. Offerings are then made before the open Hekhal.  The Congregation is not required to stand.



OFFERINGS provide an opportunity for members or guests of the Congregation to make monetary pledges in support of the synagogue, perhaps to note some personal occasion such as the recovery from illness or the special anniversary of a departed loved one. There is no obligation to make an offering, but the procedure is as follows: the person approaches the Reader, gives his/her Hebrew name, the amount of the pledge and the Hebrew name of the person being honored or commemorated. After the offering and blessing have been announced by the Reader, the person bows to him and return to his/her seat.


Following the last offering, the Congregation stands and sings "Shuba." The Hekhal is then closed.


Musaf and Conclusion of Services
Following the Rabbi's remarks, or Debar Torah, is the MUSAF (additional) Amidah. It is recited standing and in silence and is then repeated aloud by the Reader.  The service concludes with the singing of En Kelohenu, the Kaddish recited by mourners, Alenu, and the singing of Adon Olam.


After the services, all are invited to the Kiddush (Sanctification of the Sabbath over wine).  Members and guests may also partake in our Meals program.


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