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Tradition Service

In different communities there are many variations to the synagogue services. This section explains some of the common customs in the synagogue when reading from the Torah.

One Sidrah from the Torah (occasionally two) is read publicly each week in the synagogue. The first reading from the Sidrah is read on Shabbat afternoon, Monday morning, and Thursday morning, and the whole Sidrah is read on Shabbat morning.

People are called up to read from the Torah, first a Cohen, then a Levite, then anybody else. The person who is reading the Haftarah is called up to the reading of maftir at the end of the sidrah. The Torah portion is usually read by the Rabbi or another learned member of the community. Part or all of the reading of the Sidrah may be done by the Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy/girl, according to ability.

Jewish law requires men to cover their head at all times, not just in the synagogue, but in everyday life. When they pray, men wear a talit (prayer shawl), when reading the Torah the Bar Mitzvah boy wears a talit, a girl may also wear a talit in some communities.

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