Ashrei is a prayer that is recited three times every day. It consists of Psalm 145 plus three other psalm verses. The files in this section will help you participate in the responsive version sung on Saturday mornings, whether as part of the congregation or as the person leading the chant.
At home as well as in the synagogue, we usher in every Shabbat and every major Holiday by chanting the Kiddush (“sanctification”) prayer over wine or grape juice before the evening meal. We also chant a shorter version of the Kiddush in the morning, before lunch. Some of the lines in the Kiddush are common to all of these special days, while others are specific to each occasion. The word “Festivals” in the titles below refers to Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. The term “Holidays” includes these three Festivals as well as Rosh Hashanah.
We bid farewell to our periods of sacred time—at home as well as in the synagogue—with the Havdalah (“separation”) ceremony over wine, sweet-smelling spices, and a braided candle. The Havdalah prayer for Holidays is a reduced form of the version used for Shabbat, so we use the same Havdalah for Shabbat & Holidays text sheet for all occasions. The audio for this sheet is grouped into two files:
When a Holiday begins on a Saturday night, a special abbreviated form of the Havdalah is incorporated into the Holiday Kiddush. The words for this abbreviated Havdalah appear on the respective Festival and Holiday Kiddush text sheets in the Kiddush section above. Listen to the recording here:
Before eating anything, we acknowledge God’s role in providing us with that food. Blessings differ depending on whether we are eating a meal or individual foods. All the blessings appear on the text sheet in Hebrew letters as well as in transliteration. The audio for this sheet is grouped into three files:
The Birkat Hamazon (also known as “Bentshn”) is a group of prayers chanted after eating a major meal. There are variations in some of the paragraphs corresponding to variations in the liturgical calendar, e.g. weekdays, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat, and the different Holidays. Also, there are optional personal and occasional additions towards the end of the Birkat Hamazon (between paragraphs 12 & 13). These variations beyond the basic texts are not included in the sound files. Even if they do appear on the PDF sheets, they are marked “omitted from recording.”
Learning suggestions: Instead of learning all the paragraphs in order, you may choose to learn them according to sizes: #10, #14, #21, #23, etc.
Please choose the following text sheets to follow the words and melody in the recordings of the Birkat Hamazon.
Please Note: The PDF sheets are much clearer in print than they appear on the screen. To print them in correct horizontal (landscape) format, please select “Fit To Printable Area” and “Auto-Rotate and Center” in your printing menu.
To Listen: please select the recorded Birkat Hamazon Blessings below.
The congregational melodies of the High Holidays are special because they are sung only during this liturgical season. While they probably all sound familiar, you now have an opportunity to learn them and actively participate by singing or humming or even speaking the words. Please choose a Hebrew text sheet and/or a transliterated text sheet to follow along with these short recordings which are keyed to the numbers on the sheets. The prayers are recorded in the sequence in which they appear in the Rosh Hashanah services, followed by prayers that are sung only on Yom Kippur. Page numbers are listed next to all of the titles.
The The hymn after the Musaph Amidah refers to God in four ways: Eloheinu (our God) Adoneinu (our Master) Malkeinu (our Ruler) and Moshieinu (our Savior). Each of these is combined with the five phrases Ein (“there is none like…”) Mi (“who is like…?”) Nodeh (“let us thank…”) Baruch (“praise to…”) and Atah (“You are…”). The stanzas on the text sheet are marked “A” and “B” corresponding to the two halves of the melody.
This very old prayer first appeared in the repetition of the High Holidays Musaf Amidah. It eventually came to conclude all services throughout the year. Please choose a Hebrew text sheet and/or a Transliterated text sheet to follow the words and melody.
The Friday night and Festival night Ma’ariv services usually conclude with Yigdal, although Adon Olam can be used as well. The uneven number of stanzas are due to Yigdal’s contents, which are based on the Thirteen Principles Faith formulated by Maimonides. For each set of stanzas, the Hazzan sings the first one and the congregation sings the second one; for the final stanza, the Hazzan sings it and the congregation repeats it. The congregation’s lines are numbered on the Yigdal text sheet.
The various rituals and songs of the Passover Seder center about a Festival meal which begins with the Kiddush and concludes with the Birkat Hamazon. You will find the text and audio for these two prayers in their respective sections on this web page.
This “Seder Melodies” section contains some of the special Passover texts of the Seder, all of which appear in one 6-page PDF file in both Hebrew letters and transliteration. Printing out copies of this file will not only help you learn the songs, but will also give you and your guests the perfect supplement to your own Haggadah. The title of each song contains a color-coded page reference keyed to the three Haggadah editions most commonly used. You are encouraged to consult these Haggadah pages for the English translations of the songs you are learning.
On the evening and morning of Simchat Torah (coinciding with the last day of Sukkot) we celebrate our Torah by taking out all the scrolls from the Ark and parading them around the room with song and dance. There are seven parades, each featuring several lively Hebrew songs. After printing out the Hebrew songsheet or the transliterated songsheet you can select a numbered title on the sheet and listen to the corresponding audio file below: