Visitor Information

info-iconWe extend a warm welcome to all Jewish & non-Jewish visitors our synagogue.
Its most likely you will be visiting for a Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, Wedding or other celebration (simcha), or a Civic Occasion.
This guide can be applied to all occasions.

Information Tours
Weekday Guided Tours for pre-arranged formal groups and schools can be organised, when a volunteer from the community will explain the different aspects of the synagogue.
Each request is considered individually. Please contact the Shul Office with your request.
This is a necessary consideration these days, so please don’t be offended if we ask you a few questions when entering the shul premises.

Since the synagogue is considered a house of G-d, it is appropriate for both adults and children to wear nice clothes.

Covering your head
All men and boys must wear a Kippah (skull cap) when in the synagogue building.
Your host may have provided you with one.
But if not just ask at the door; we have several which you can borrow.

On Shabbat or Festivals…

  • We do not drive
    (If you are not Jewish this restriction does not apply. But please park sensitively, we’d suggest a block or two away from the synagogue
    – also be careful and do not obstruct residents access )
  • Similarly we do not carry… so Ladies please do not bring a Handbag, even if you’re not Jewish.
  • Mobile phones, Pagers and Cameras are not allowed.
Flix'n'Pix - JLBCU - 48When to Arrive
On Shabbat the service itself begins at 9.15am, though you will find that people do arrive progressively during the morning.
For a Bar Mitzvah you really want to see the Bar Mitzvah boy do his stuff, so aim to arrive and be in your seat by 10am.
On a regular Shabbat arriving by 10.30am should be fine.
For weddings you will want to arrive well before the invitation time.
Men's section of the Synagogue - photo: Howard Gordon Where to Sit
Men and women occupy separate areas of the synagogue. The men’s section is downstairs, the ladies section is the upstairs balcony.
A small downstairs section, with its own internal entrance, is available for ladies who cannot use the stairs.
NB at weddings Women will sit downstairs to one side, whilst the men sit opposite.
At a Simcha (eg. bar mitzvah) there will be a sign indicating which side the family will be sitting on.

[Men’s section of the Synagogue, with Ladies gallery above – photo: Howard Gordon]
Children in the Synagogue
Non-Jewish parents of children invited to the service are welcome to come into the synagogue and stay with them. Remember that men and women sit separately. You are also welcome to attend the Kiddush after the service.It is quite acceptable to drop your child a short distance from the entrance, and to pick him or her up after up service in the same place.If the child brings a mobile phone this should be switched off during the service and used discreetly afterwards to call for a pick up.
Discretely finding your seat and quietly following the service is the normal requirement.Please refrain from applauding.
At a Bar Mitzvah, when the boy has completed his readings, you will hear the congregation say “Shekai’ach” (congratulations) and sweets* may be thrown down from the Ladies Gallery.
(*Use only those provided by your host.)

Mobile Phones, Cameras, Recording & other devices
On Shabbat (including Bar Mitzvahs) and Festivals these are strictly prohibited.
If you are a non-Jewish guest please turn off your phone whilst in the synagogue.

Weddings are held on weekdays and Sundays, so restrictions on Driving and Carrying do not apply.

  • Please be sensitive in your use of Cameras
  • Make sure your phone is on Silent

randomfamilyDress Code – Men

  • Smartly dressed, usually in a suit / jacket, a tie is normal but not obligatory. Boys of 13 yrs and up will normally dress similarly.
  • All males, including young children, will wear a Kippah (skull cap).
  • Jewish men will wear a Tallit (prayer shawl). A number of spare ones are available by the central Bimah (platform).

Dress Code – Ladies

  • A dress or blouse & skirt are required. Sleeves should be 3/4 length and so should the length of the skirt. The neckline should be modest and near the neck. Trousers/Coulottes are not acceptable.
  • The same dress code applies to girls.
  • Married Jewish women should wear a hat or head scarf (optional if not Jewish).
Holy scrollsThe Order of  Service
If you are a guest at a Wedding or Barmitzvah your host may have already provided you with a short guide indicating the order of the service. But if not, don’t be afraid to ask someone for a prayer book. Most have an English translation.The Sabbath service is made up of four parts:

  • Morning Service (Shacharit)
  • Reading of the Law (The Torah and Haftorah)
  • Rabbi’s Sermon
  • Additional Service (Musaph)

There are a number of times when the congregation is required to stand. Stand if the Ark is opened, and at other times follow the rest of the congregation.

When the Service Ends
The service finishes by approximately 12.00 noon on Shabbat.
It is nearly always followed by a short Kiddush in the shul hall… a small glass of wine/whisky with a few sweet or savoury tid-bits… please wait until the Rabbi has said the blessing before tucking in.

Simcha / Celebration Lunch
If you have been invited to a private luncheon in the shul hall after the service, please continue to observe synagogue etiquette.

Thank you for reading this Guide. 

If you have any further questions, please contact the Synagogue Office.