There are four different types of services available at the Temple Gates of Prayer. The nature of these services bears in mind the schedules of the congregation in regards to work, school, and life at home. Because the members live such hectic lives, attendance during the week is sparse, and the heart of the community lies in the Saturday morning Shabbat service, and during major Jewish holidays.
The Saturday morning Shabbat service runs for three hours. Before the service starts, a quiet, meditative air is present among the members who have arrived early. Silent prayer ensues as other members sporadically arrive, but small talk also takes place as the members greet each other before the service starts. During the service, a few members also arrive late and some audibly say hello to their friends, much to the dismay of the rabbi. At our last visit, one member sitting in front of us kept showing all her friends a photo of her granddaughter.
During the service, elder members read from the holy books. Rabbi Thaler encourages the children present at the service to read as well, and personally asks them to read and sing. Part of the service is also dedicated to praying for the sick, and the temple’s members are specifically mentioned out loud. The Shabbat service ends with announcements made from the Rabbi and other officers, which includes announcing the upcoming birthdays of members and their personal events.
The Passover service held on a weekday is just as long as the weekend Shabbat service, with more singing. However, there is a lesser attendance. Children are noticeably absent from this service, due to the late nature of the seder of the night before.
The weekday morning services are usually very short, due to the low attendance. Oftentimes, the minimum of ten members needed for the Minyan service is not met and thus the service is cut short. As a result, it is held in a much smaller room than where the Shabbat services are held. Additionally, men wear tefillin, which is not seen on Saturdays. When the service is over, most members immediately leave to go to work or engage in small talk on current events.
The weekday evening service lasts longer than the morning service because there are more people who come from work or school. Many either silently pray or talk. Usually those who pray silently tend to sit in the same section, as the ones who converse do the same. After the service, members mingle around after or attend the bible study class that follows.