Last summer, a group of parents at Temple Emanuel in Newton Centre began an exciting adventure together. We realized that we liked coming to Shabbat morning services to pray, and that we also liked to do it alongside our children. We wanted a dynamic service that met the needs of a traditional service but was also substantive and engaging for both kids and adults. We decided to create what has become the Ruach Shabbat Family Service.

Meeting once a month, the service is upbeat and fast-paced, and completely lay-led by the participants. Families sign up in advance to lead each prayer, and additional roles are designated upon arrival. Children look forward to standing up and leading prayers in front of their friends, and the community’s pride is palpable. The D’var Torah attracts the adults with an advanced analysis of the weekly portion, and keeps the kids tuned in so that they can receive candy prizes during our Question and Answer section after the Torah reading. The service ends with every family introducing itself, so that we can all socialize during the kiddush and get to know each other better. We’ve even developed our own custom siddur (prayer book) that is egalitarian and easy to access with Hebrew, English and transliteration for all levels of Jewish knowledge.

For more of what the Ruach Shabbat Family Service is all about, check out our video!


We invite you to join us for our upcoming service dates on Saturday, May 7 and June 4, at 10:45 am in the first floor Activity Room. Temple Emanuel is located at 385 Ward Street in Newton Centre. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact Cheryl Stober at, or Wayne Goldstein, Harry Kraft Director of Informal Youth Education, at

We look forward to meeting your family soon!

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