Overview of the Shabbat ServiceAll Jewish synagogue services are based on the same structural patterns, although there are often modifications that can make them seem quite different.
Services represent a combination of Bible reading and Temple symbolism, and a combination of public and private prayer. The liturgy itself combines biblical passages with poetry and prose by later writers.
The core of the service is the Shema and the Amidah.
The Shema consists of three paragraphs from the Pentateuch (Deut. 6:4-9, Deut. 11:13-21, Num. 15:37-41), which are recited at all morning services and at all evening services.
The Amidah represents the ancient Temple sacrifices. The priests used to offer a morning sacrifice every day (the Shaharit) and there was also an afternoon offering (the Minhah). On Sabbaths, New Moons, and other holidays, an additional sacrifice (the Musaf) followed the Shaharit offering. After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, the rabbis ordained that prayer should be substituted for sacrifice and the tradition arose of reciting a special prayer, while standing, mornings and afternoons, with an extra repetition on those occasions when there would have been a Musaf. This is known by several names: Ha-Tefila (The Prayer) because it was the specific prayer that was considered the substitute for the sacrifice; Amidah (Standing) because one stands while reciting it; Shemoneh Esrai (Eighteen) because the version recited during weekdays originally consisted of eighteen benedictions. (Later, a form of the Amidah was added to the evening service as well.)
On Sabbaths, New Moons, other holidays, and on Mondays and Thursdays, which were market days, there is also a public reading from the Torah scroll, following the Shaharit (and before the Musaf, if it is a day on which that is recited).
Preliminary benedictions and psalms were added over time because there was a feeling that one needed some preparation to get into the proper mood for prayer, and some final benedictions and hymns were also added to create more of a sense of closure to the service.
A recitation known as the Kaddish came to be added as a punctuation mark, marking the various divisions of the service. (The words Kaddish, Kedushah, and Kiddush are all variants on the Hebrew term usually translated as "holy.") The final Kaddish in a service is designated as the Mourners' Kaddish.
There is also a more detailed guide to the specific parts of the Sabbat morning service of Shir Hadash. Shir Hadash is a Reconstructionist congregation. Reconstructionism is one of four major Jewish movements (the others being Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform). It is based on the thesis that Judaism is a civilization and that the Jewish religion is the primary way in which that civilization symbolizes and transmits its values. The name of the movement comes from the writings of its best known thinker, Mordecai Kaplan, who argued that Judaism has periodically reconstructed itself when it found itself in a changed world.