Shabbat/Festivals שבת וחגים/מועדים


Kabbalat Shabbat services

Fourth Friday of every month at 6:30pm, followed by a shared meal. Please bring a dish to share (no meat please, but fish is okay).

Shabbat Morning services

Every Saturday at 10am

Shabbat is the centrepiece of Jewish life when most Jews, whether traditional or not, tend to enjoy the day as a time to slow down, a time to eat well, a time to sing and a time to engage with family and friends. Shabbat, for most, is a day of peace, reflection and hospitality.

At Etz Chayim we make Shabbat a unique and meaningful experience as we join together in prayer, reflection and song. Our services, conducted in both English and Hebrew, create an experience accessible for those both familiar with the liturgy and for those starting their explorative journey.

At Etz Chayim, we use Mishkan Tefilah as our siddur [prayer book] and Rabbi Gunther Plaut’s The Torah: A Modern Commentary as our Tanakh, Torah Commentary. Both are available for loan during the service as you enter our sanctuary.

This resource may help you enrich your Shabbat experience at home.

The following resources may help you enrich your Shabbat Morning services:
Blessings for Reading the Torah – audio with text, transliteration and translation
Blessings for Reading the Haftarah – audio with text, transliteration and translation


With their roots firmly entrenched in the Torah, the key Jewish Holidays and Festivals are not random days scattered throughout the year but are focussed moments of time, each drawing their power from multiple sources including nature, seasons, historical events, communal memory and religious traditions.

As such, Jewish Holidays and Festivals reflect both seasonal and historical cycles and focus our attention to the big questions of life: birth, death, food, shelter, freedom and responsibility.

Each Holiday and Festival can mean different things to different people at different stages of their lives.

At Etz Chayim we welcome you to explore with us the perspectives and possibilities Judaism offers in celebrating or commemorating the richness of our tradition, and its relevance to us today.


High Holy Days

Some of our High Holy Day services (Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidrei and Yom Kippur) are conducted at the City of Glen Eira Town Hall in Hawthorn Road, Caulfield. Other services are conducted at our synagogue in Bentleigh.

Tickets are issued several weeks before the commencement of the High Holy Days to all Etz Chayim Members who are currently ‘financial’. Tickets must be presented for services at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in order to gain admittance.

We also welcome members with valid tickets from our sister congregations at Temple Beth Israel and Leo Baeck Centre. We welcome visitors, of course, but they should obtain tickets beforehand through our office.

The prayerbooks we use are the Mishkan T’Shuvah for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These books may be purchased by contacting our office.

The list of service dates and times will be available in our Weekly Hada’ot newsletter and our bimonthly magazine, Hakol several months beforehand.

Life Cycles

Traditional Jewish rituals accompanying important life cycle events bring joy and comfort to the individuals involved. They also bring the community together in celebration and support. These life cycle rituals are probably amoung the most important function that a synagogue can perform. Progressive Judaism has an egalitarian approach to all these life-cycle events.

Etz Chayim also marks other milestones in their lives, such as a special birthday or wedding anniversary. Some members enjoy being honoured in a Shabbat morning service or may with to sponsor a Kiddush for the whole community. Other may mark a significant event by making a donation to the synagogue either for general use or to help us acquire something from our community wish list.