Traditional Movements in Worship
Defining the RCVP
Jewish Knowledge
Principles of Reform Judaism
Books of the Tanach
Creative Services
D'Var Torah
10 Commandments of Service Preparation
Planning a Service
Service Outline
Traditional Movements in Worship
Last Minute Reminders
The C in RCVP
RCVP Resources
RCVP Forum

Bowing:
We bow during a prayer to show our respect
of God.  We do this in imitation of a subject who enters the presence
of his/her soverign.  General Rule when bowing—one should stand erect when reciting the name of God (That means Adonai, Melech, etc.)

Barchu:
We rise for the Barchu There is a debate as to when we rise.  Some believe one should rise right for the Barchu; others say during the Reader’s Kaddish; and still others say before the Reader’s Kaddish.  Traditionally, one rises at “tushb’chatah v’nechemata” during the Reader’s Kaddish for the Barchu.
Leader recites the first line, Bar’chu et Adonai hamevorach.  Leader bows down at “Barchu et” and straightens up at “Adonai.”
Congregation responds with the second line, bowing at “baruch” and straightening at “Adonai.” 

Shema:
According to Hillel, one says the Shema in the same posture in which they said the blessing before it.  This has been interpreted differently by different groups. 
Traditional Jews sit after the Barechu and remain seated for the Shema. 
Classical Reform Jews ignored Hillel’s instructions and sat after the Barchu.
Mainstream Reform Jews created a compromise by remaining standing after the Barchu and through the Shema.
During the V’ahavta it has become customary to sit during this prayer, although Tradition says that we retain the position that we are in when reciting Shema.
“Baruch shem kevod...” is said in a subdued voice as a humble response to God’s name
If reciting the full V’ahavta, one kisses the tzitzit of their tallit when reciting the word “tzitzit”

Beginning the Amidah:
We take three steps forward, as if entering the presence of God—left foot first!
Remain standing with the feet together.  Although it should not be audible to others, one must pray loudly enough to hear him/herself.

Avot/Imahot
Bow at the beginning and end of Avo/Imahot: bend knees at “baruch,” bow at “ata,”  and straighten at “Adonai.”

Gevurot:
Do not bow at end of Gevurot.

Kedusha:
Again, one stands with their feet together.
One rises up on their toes when saying “kadosh, kadosh, kadosh” and “yimloch.”
We rise up on their toes to symbolize that we seek to break loose from the bonds of earth and unite our service with that of the angels.
Some teachings say that everyone recites the whole Kedusha, even the parts traditionally assigned to the chazzan, and some say that only the verses assigned to the congregation should be recited by the congregation.  Shulchan Aruch follows the latter.

Selicha: (We recite this prayer on weekdays only)
Strike the left side of the chest with the right fist while reciting the words “chatanu” and “vashanu.”

Hoda’ah:
At the beginning—bow at the waist (not knees) at “modim” and straighten up at “Adonai.”
This is a declaration of submission to God; accepting God’s sovereignty.
At the end—bend the knees at “baruch” and straighten up at “Adonai.”

Oseh Shalom:
Bow at the waist and take three steps back, starting with the left foot. 
We are now excusing ourselves from the presence of God, like a bugject excuses himself from a king’s presence.
Bow left and say “oseh”
Bow right and say “ya’aseh”
Bow forward and say “v’al kol...amen.”

Alenu:
We stand and face the ark, which is sometimes open.  We bow our knees at “va’anachnu korim” and straighten up at “lifnei melech.”

Kaddish:
At the end when get to Oseh Shalom, we bow at the waist and take three steps back, starting with left foot.
Bow left and say “oseh”
Bow right and say “ya’aseh”
Bow forward and say “v’al kol...amen.”

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An affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism and a snif (branch) of Netzer Olami.