Name: Agudath Israel
Address: 20 Academy Road, Caldwell, NJ 07006
Denominational affiliation: Conservative
Member units (households): 700
What percentage of members are older than 50?
How many people attend a regular Shabbat service? About 200.
Length of typical Shabbat morning service? 3 hours — we read the full liturgy, no omissions.
Shabbat dress code: Business casual. No jeans or sneakers, but no suits either.
Daily services? Yes.
Does your synagogue have its own building? If not, where do you meet for services? Our building was renovated in 2008 to look like a 21st-century synagogue (instead of a 1960’s Unitarian church!). Sanctuary is a round room made of Jerusalem stone; amud in the center of the room; ark and stained glass designed and handmade by congregants.
Is there an opportunity to socialize after services? Yes, a sit-down kiddush lunch.
Language of service: Almost entirely Hebrew (and Aramaic). Only exception is “Prayer for our country” in English (followed by “Prayer for State of Israel” in Hebrew).
Is another language offered in the prayer book? English (we use the Torat Hayyim edition).
Children’s programming: “Torah Tots” is for children under 5 (parents must attend); one teacher leads a small group of children in basic prayers and child-accessible translations with singalong and hand-motion games/participation (much of which is actually teaching prayer choreography, like “cover your eyes for the shema” or “up on your toes three times for Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh!”), and then there’s story-time and snack. Children 5-12 go to an older service (also small) where there is an actual Torah reading done by kids ages 9-12 This brief service is followed by a read-out-loud drama acting from Parsha Plays, as well as participatory discussion about the Torah portion. Sometimes there are games as well as a snack.
Accessibility for people with disabilities: Building is fully ADA-compliant. There are many congregants of varying ages with special needs. For special-needs children, there are quite a few teenagers who have been specifically trained by our local Friendship Circle (a Chabad organization devoted to special needs) to provide companionship and social support during services and other activities.
Are services streamed online? No.
Are the rabbi’s sermons available online? No.
Percentage of members in interfaith marriages? Unknown.
Will the rabbi officiate at an interfaith wedding? Will he/she attend one? No.
Are there distinct roles for men and women in your synagogue? No, we are fully egalitarian.
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