Expressing Faith through Worship
There are three daily periods of prayer:
– early morning – shacharit – afternoon – mincha – evening – ma-ariv.
All prayers are said facing east towards Jerusalem. Each period of prayer consists of readings from the Torah and prayers praising G-d. Jews may also pray spontaneously at any time when they feel that they want to speak to G-d.
The main synagogue services are on the Sabbath: Friday night and Saturday morning. For a service to take place there must be a minimum of ten adult males (minyan). In an Orthodox synagogue the service will be almost entirely in Hebrew. The service consists mainly of prayers and the central reading of the Torah.
Worship at home: The Jewish home is central to worship and prayer life.
Every door except for the bathroom has a mezuzah. The mezuzah is a small cylinder fixed to the top of the right-hand doorpost. It contains a piece of parchment on which is written the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:31-21; Numbers 15:37-41) – the central statement of Jewish belief. As they pass through the door Jews touch the mezuzah and take their fingers to their lips.
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).