Our Shabbat Customs
We hold Shabbat services every Friday night and most Saturday mornings, utilizing our own Shir Tikvah created prayer book. We also have member-created prayer books for all other religious services, including High Holidays, other holidays, and for use in homes during shiva.
A mix of formats each month (spirited music, contemplative, earlier, later, tot-oriented) allows congregants to choose what best suits their interests and schedules. About once a month, we have a congregational Shabbat dinner before Friday night services prepared by our Dinner Divas. When the weather cooperates, we sometimes hold services in our beautiful outdoor sanctuary in the woods behind our building.
The balance of Hebrew and English in our services varies, although the English content is always sufficient to make the service understandable and meaningful to all. Men and women participate equally in all services, and the wearing of kippot (traditional head coverings) and tallitot (prayer shawls) is left to the individual's discretion.
Visitors frequently ask “what is your minhag” – (a traditional order and form of prayers). Our answer is “our minhag is that we have no minhag”, meaning that we are always introducing new prayers, melodies and content both to reflect the evolving nature of our worship services and the choices made by lay members when they conduct services.
Our High Holidays Customs
For the High Holidays, we hold evening and morning services (for more details see the "Worship" area of our site) we also conduct family afternoon services. These are designed for younger children and their parents and include all the primary portions of the morning service including the Shofar service on Rosh Hashanah and recitation of Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur.
One unique and important component of the High Holidays at Shir Tikvah is regarding High Holiday “honors.” For all services, lay members who have demonstrated service to the congregation take part with English readings. For Torah aliyot, B’nei Mitzvah from the previous year are the only ones offered this honor and prepare the new passage with one of our teachers. There is never any financial consideration regarding aliyot.
We also observe the second day of Rosh Hashanah with a deeply spiritual and peaceful Tashlich service at a local park with a stream followed by a potluck lunch.
Our Customs for Other Holidays
We have many wonderful customs at Shir Tikvah for holidays throughout the year. Very popular family-oriented services are conducted for Chanukah, Purim, Shavuot and Simchat Torah (which includes unrolling the Torah Scroll on the perimeter of the sanctuary and the Rabbi leading a “tour” of the Torah for the children). Also a traditional second night Passover seder is conducted in our multi-purpose sanctuary that draws several hundred members and we are proud of it's reputation of being very “kid-friendly.”
A favorite tradition at Shir Tikvah is our popular shul-wide camp weekend at a facility on Lake Huron, about an hour and a half away from Troy. This takes place the weekend before Labor Day and includes traditional camping events such as crafts, “talent” shows, group meals plus both a Friday evening Shabbat service and a Saturday morning lakeside service. It is a community-wide event that is loved by all that attend: families, singles, and members of all ages.