Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What communities does Temple Israel draw from, and how large is the Temple?

Our community includes over 300 families, from more than 40 towns and cities. Most of them are in the New Hampshire Seacoast, but we also serve southern Maine and northern Massachusetts.

How would you describe the level of religious observance of the Temple Israel congregation?

Temple Israel is  a community synagogue affiliated with the Conservative movement.  Our members have different levels of observance, and interfaith families are an integral part of our synagogue community. We appreciate and welcome diverse family structures in our community. Our goal is to create a synagogue that offers a sense of belonging to as many people as possible.

What is the level of kashrut at Temple Israel?

Temple Israel keeps a kosher kitchen, overseen by our rabbi. All food at official temple functions, including Friday night onegs and Saturday morning kiddush luncheons, is strictly kosher.

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. Our culture of inclusivity guides the mix 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 and encourage them to become involved in the religious, social, and educational life of 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.

See our calendar or Pray section for updates on Shabbat service times. Please enter from the Court Street entrance. After Friday services, we share some snacks and fellowship during our Oneg ShabbatSaturday morning services are followed by a catered kiddush luncheon in the Schmoozatorium. Please join us!

For weekday service schedule, special events and musical Shabbat services: Please check our calendar.

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. Our new “Lev Shalem” prayer book offers transliterations of many of the prayers, along with English translations of all prayers. Supplemental readings and explanatory text are included on each page to deepen your understanding of our prayers and practices.

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.