What communities does Temple Israel draw from and how large is the temple?
Our 300+ families live in 29 different towns and cities. The largest concentration is from New Hampshire’s Seacoast. We serve Southern Maine and Northern Massachusetts.
How would you describe the religiosity of Temple Israel?
Temple Israel is best described as a community synagogue with members of varied levels of observance. Interfaith families and Jews by choice are an integral part of our synagogue family. We appreciate and welcome diverse family structures into our community. Our goal is to create a synagogue that offers a sense of belonging to the greatest number of people.
What is it like to be a member of Temple Israel?
The diversity of our membership and the respect we have for that diversity means new members feel at home from the moment they enter the temple. A culture of inclusivity informs the breadth of programs and services we offer our members and how we approach teaching our children in our Religious School.
My partner is not Jewish. Will my partner feel comfortable and welcome at Temple Israel?
You are not alone! Interfaith families make up approximately 30% of our congregation and 50% of the Religious School. We look for every possible opportunity to be inclusive. Each household dynamic is different so we encourage you to discuss specific concerns with the Rabbi.
Does Temple Israel welcome the LGBTQ community?
Judaism teaches us that everyone is created b’tzelem elohim – in the image of God. At Temple Israel, we welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to become involved in the religious, social, and educational life in our congregation.
What is the timing and style of Services?
Services at Temple Israel are warm and communal. Our services are conducted by our rabbi and members of our congregation, many of whom take part on a regular basis.
Shabbat Services take place at 6:15 PM on Friday night and 9:30 AM on Shabbat (Saturday) mornings. Please enter from State Street entrance. After Saturday morning services we enjoy a catered Kiddush luncheon in the Schmoozatorium. Please join us.
For Special events and Musical Shabbat Services: Please check our calendar
For weekday service schedule, please click here
Please click here for our temple calendar to see this week’s specific schedule.
Do I need to know Hebrew to participate in services?
In short, Hebrew Skills Are Not Required! The services are conducted in both Hebrew and English and the page numbers are continuously announced throughout, allowing everyone to follow the services. An Explanatory Prayer Book, available in the pews, includes both Hebrew and English as well as transliteration for all the parts of the services that are sung or read out loud. This allows everyone to pray in the language in which they feel most comfortable. The Explanatory Prayer Book includes plain English explanations of ritual, prayers, and synagogue life.
To download a PDF copy of our Explanatory Prayer Book, please click here.
Can we attend a couple of services to see how we like it?
Of course. Our Shabbat, Festival, and Weekday Services are open to anyone who wishes to join us. High Holy Day services require advance tickets, for both space and security purposes.
How can I arrange a visit to Temple Israel?
Please visit us! We would love to show you around our beautiful Temple and answer any questions you may have. To arrange an appointment, please contact our Administrative Director Heather Tomlinson.
Temple Israel / 200 State Street / Portsmouth, NH 03801 (603) 436-5301