How to Find Us
From I-70: Evergreen Parkway exit (exit #252), south (straight) on Highway 74, go 4.5 miles, turn west (right) on Lewis Ridge Road/Bergen Peak Drive, curve with the road back south again, go 1/4 mile, take a right at the Life Care Center and follow the driveway to the back to reach the synagogue.
From Downtown Evergreen: North on Evergreen Parkway/Highway 74, turn west (left) on Lewis Ridge Road/Bergen Peak Drive, curve with the road back south again, go 1/4 mile, take a right at the Life Care Center and follow the driveway to the back to reach the synagogue.
Your Guide to Jewish Customs and Practices at CBE
Shalom and welcome to Congregation Beth Evergreen. We are a congregation of diverse Jewish backgrounds and experiences. Our desire is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable at services – member, potential member, or guest, Jewish or not. We know that one way to make people feel more at ease and able to experience the spirit of the service is to understand the traditions, or minhag, of Congregation Beth Evergreen, which are drawn from Jewish tradition. Here, then, is a brief description of guideline to facilitate your meaningful participation in services with us.
We begin by preparing ourselves for prayer with a few moments of quiet meditation, reflection, or reading. To foster a spirit of reverence and honor the simplicity and beauty of the celebration, we do not bring food or drink, sound, video or photographic equipment into the sanctuary, except with special permission.
Participation, hold the applause
We encourage everyone to participate in our services, and enthusiastic prayer and song are always welcome. Hand clapping along with the music is certainly part of our service of the Divine. However, as this is a participatory service, not a performance, we discourage applause during any portion of the service. If you feel compelled to express your appreciation for a service leader or speaker, it is customary to say, either yishar ko’ach, or kol hakavod. Loosely translated, these expressions mean, ‘Right on!’ and ‘Glorious!’ respectively. Or, for a wordless expression of appreciation, the American sign for applause, holding your hands in the air and wiggling your fingers, is an accepted minhag at CBE.
We kindly ask that all cellular telephones and pagers be either set to silent or turned off and not answered during services.
Entering and leaving
To demonstrate appropriate respect for people and tradition, we ask that no one enter or leave the sanctuary when the doors to the Ark are open, when the congregation is standing in prayer, or when the rabbi or others are addressing the congregation.
Head coverings and prayershawls
The wearing of a kippah, or yarmulka, (head coverings) in the sanctuary is encouraged, but optional. The tallit (prayer shawl) is also optional at CBE. You are welcome to wear either or both as you feel inclined, and there should be both Tallit and Kipot available near the doors to the sanctuary. For those who identity as Jewish (and are 13 years of age or older), we require the wearing of a tallit only if you are called for the honor blessing, lift, or redress the Torah scroll itself.
Current CBE guidelines for Communal practice
The wearing of a kippah/yarmulke (head covering) in the synagogue is optional. For adults (regardless of gender or religious identity) we encourage the practice, especially in the sanctuary, as reminders of the spiritual aspirations of awe and wonder, modesty, humility and responsibility, but leave it as a matter of individual choice.” For purposes of education, we require Bnei mitzvah students and male students in our Religious School to wear a kippah while in the sanctuary. Female students, prior to their bat mitzvah, are encouraged but not required to wear a head covering.
Intention and Purpose
Many religions require specific attire when facing God and/or engaging in holy acts of service. It conveys a message of purity, honesty and sincerity and is a constant reminder of the Divine. In Jewish cultures, there are two common words to describe a head covering worn with religious or spiritual intent. In Hebrew, it is called a kippah, which means ‘dome.’ The Yiddish word Yarmulka (often pronounced yah-meh-kah) comes from an Aramaic expression, Yira Malka, which means ‘Awe of the Sovereign. Traditionally, a Yarmulka is worn as a demonstration of respect to God and an outward, tangible sign of faithfulness to the covenant between the Jewish people and God. As a spiritual practice, the wearing a Yarmulka is a reminder to cultivate the divine attributes (midot) of humility, awe/wonder, and responsibility. Like all Jewish rituals, the kippah/yarmulke connects us to the Jewish people, our highest self, and Divine majesty.
There are explicit mentions of ritual head coverings in the Bible, but they are specific to the vestments made by the Israelites for the High Priest. “You shall make a headdress (mitznefet) of fine linen” (Leviticus 28:39). And this headdress is to have on it a ‘frontlet engraved with the words, “Holy to YHVH.” In the wake of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (and the banishment and exile of Jewish priests), it is possible that, over the course of centuries, the people democratized the practice of a ritual head coverings in accordance with the injunction that we should regard and conduct ourselves as a “kingdom of priests,” each of us assuming the role of a high priest, representing ourselves directly to the Holy One.
The custom in ancient Babylonia was for a Jewish man to place a kerchief called a Sudara on his head to recite “Blessed is He who Crowns Israel with Glory”. In the Talmud, it is strongly recommended that men don a kippah/yarmulka during prayer and study of sacred texts, and before entering the synagogue. There is not an explicit command to the Jewish people to wear a kippah/yarmulka in either Rabbinic or Biblical law. Consequently, the donning of on is not accompanied by a blessing.
Who wears a kippah/yarmulke?
Non-Jews are invited to wear a kippah/yarmulka (even at Orthodox or Conservative Jewish events and venues). According to traditional Jewish law (halakhah), Women were exempted from wearing a kippah/yarmulka, along with other time-bound ritual obligations. However, medieval Jewish law codes say that married women should keep their head covered in public to make clear their marital status. In many communities, like ours, the kippah/yarmulke, when worn, has become a symbol of religious equality.
Rev Huna, son of Joshua, would not walk 4 cubits (6-7 feet) without a head covering saying “Shechina (God’s glory) is above my head. When asked which observance he hoped to be rewarded for, Rev Huna replied, “For never walking with an uncovered head.” The mother of Babylonian scholar Nachman ben Yitzhak was told her son would become a thief. To foil the prediction she never allowed her son to go bare headed.
Please do not place prayer books or supplements on the floor, as these documents are considered holy and worthy of respect.
Children are our delight and our future, and are always welcome at services. According to Jewish law, or Halacha, parents are also responsible for the behavior of their children. Thus, parents are asked to please sit with their children and model for them engaged and respectful communal worship. We ask that children enter and leave the sanctuary only when the doors to the ark are closed, when the congregation is seated, and when no one is directly addressing the congregation. We also ask that they not be allowed to play on the grounds without supervision.
We sincerely hope you'll find our services meaningful, and we hope to see you with us often.