Welcome to Shira Hadasha – A New Voice in Orthodox Judaism
We are a community of observant men and women in Jerusalem, who have been drawn together by a shared desire to create a synagogue where we could increase participation of congregants, and particularly maximize the involvement of women in our services and in the administration – all within the rules and rituals of Orthodox Judaism. In so doing, we have created a congregation that reflects our values of worshipping G-d through meaningful prayer, hospitality, outreach, education, and social activism. Our emphasis on greater participation encourages regular congregants and visitors to join in harmonious singing, and it was therefore only natural that we should adopt the name of Shira Hadasha – ‘a new song’.
We have no official Rabbi, rather a Halacha Committee composed of several ordained and learned lay members. Inclusion of women in our services includes the following:
· As in other Orthodox congregations, men and women pray separately on either side of a mechizta (divider) that runs down the middle of our space, and our bima is situated in the center, affording equal access from both sides of the mechitza.
· Women lead the optional parts of the service, such as Kabbalat Shabbat and Pesukei Dezimra, and girls too lead an’im zemirot – all from the women's side of the mechitza – and recite Kaddish.
· Women are called to the Torah, read from the Torah and make Kiddush. Women too are honored by the congregation on Simchat Torah.
· Jewish life-cycle events for women – baby-girl naming, bat-mitzvah, pre-wedding Shabbat kallah and giving birth – are all celebrated within the synagogue service.
Congregation members offer home hospitality for Shabbat and holiday meals. We encourage socializing among our members and guests, and hold a Kiddush after services on every Shabbat and holiday. On-going Torah study, children's programs, interest groups and volunteer activities are mainstays of our community.
We're pleased that so many guests continue to be drawn to our services, and we’re honored that congregations have formed around the world on the model and principals of Shira Hadasha.
We receive no government or municipal financial support. We meet our expenses – the largest of which are rent, maintenance and security personnel – by means of membership dues and donations.