We welcome you, whatever your background, questions or interests. Among our traditions, we pause during Shabbat services to welcome visitors and ask them to introduce themselves. All members wear name tags, making introductions easy and we reserve a table at the Oneg (meal and social gathering after services) for visitors to our community. We look forward to meeting you!
LOCATION & PARKING: Adat Shalom is located at 7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, Bethesda MD 20817, just beyond the Beltway between River and MacArthur (behind historic Hermon Presbyterian Church; look for the stone entrance sign). The parking lot may fill up, so please consider carpooling. If you must park in the neighborhood (on Lilly Stone or Country Club Way), please observe all posted signs; look for our van at Carderock Elementary and other parking areas.
TIMING: Shabbat morning services start at 9:30 AM, with the first 50 minutes or so being musical liturgy from the prayer book and from the heart. After the Torah processional comes a community conversation about the weekly Torah portion (usually 10:30 to 11), then chanting from the Torah. B- mitzvah* students may play roles earlier, but they generally lead the Torah Service around 10:20; receive a blessing and tallit (prayer shawl) from their parent/s mid-morning; and will chant from the Torah scroll, read a section from the Prophets, and give a dvar Torah (talk) sometime between 11:20 and noon. Services typically end around 12:15, with the child saying blessings over bread and wine/juice; a full dairy/veg oneg (lunch) for all follows.
ACCESSIBILITY: Headphones, connected to a hearing loop, are available; so are large-print prayer books and copies of the Torah. The entire main floor, from entrance to bimah (stage/altar) to restrooms, is ADA-compliant and wheelchair accessible. Click here for more information about accessibility.
ELECTRONICS: Our services are a literal ‘sanctuary’ from the everyday, including from personal electronics. Please turn it all off – chirps and beeps, as well as rings, can be distracting to many. And since we emphasize our time together in the sanctuary as an experience, not a performance, photography is not allowed in the sanctuary during services. Pictures may be taken from the glassed-in audio booth at the rear, and the family will receive a video recording as well. Discreet photography is allowed on the premises after services.
RITUAL ITEMS: As you enter, an usher will offer you a prayer book (siddur) and a copy of the Torah (chumash). They are in both English and Hebrew, and they both contain many interesting commentaries; we encourage you to follow along. Adult (post-b-mitzvah*) Jews wear the tallit, or prayer shawl, which is expected for those with a Torah honor on the bimah. During services in our sanctuary, all – regardless of religious identity, faith, or gender – are encouraged to cover their heads with a kippah / yarmulke / skull-cap, or other covering. Wearing a kippah is a sign of honor and respect, but not a statement about the wearer’s faith or identity. If the kippah has the child’s name printed on it, you’re welcome to keep it.
BEHAVIOR & DRESS: Though ours is a rather informal community, we do ask attendees to act and dress respectfully. A wide range of attire, from casual to semi-formal, will fit right in. We ask everyone in and near the sanctuary to be conscious of others, and to keep noises and side-conversations to a minimum; you may come and go as you must, but please do so quietly. There is no applause during services, though beaming of love and appreciation is always welcome. Food and beverage follow afterward, but do not belong in the sanctuary.
PARTICIPATION: Please follow along, learn, enjoy, and join in, as much as you feel comfortable. People of all backgrounds, faiths, hues, orientations, and beliefs are welcome in this “house of prayer for all peoples.”
*We honor our young people’s gender identity and choose this formula rather than the more binary “bar or bat” language.