A rabbi (teacher) is the appointed spiritual leader who guides and
represents the congregation. In addition to the rabbi, there are elected
layleaders, both in the congregation and in the community.
Rabbis may be addressed as chaplain although they are frequently
referred to as rabbi. Jewish chaplains may belong to one of four Jewish
traditions (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist), and
support requirements will vary according to the tradition to which the Jewish
chaplain and congregation subscribe.
Worship services are usually conducted by a rabbi, often assisted by a
cantor. The cantor is a synagogue official who sings or chants liturgical
music and leads the congregation in prayer. Any knowledgeable Jew may
conduct worship services in the absence of a rabbi.
There are fixed times for public worship. A minyan, or quorum of 10
males, is required for a public worship service. When the minyan is not
available, individuals must worship privately.
In the days of Abraham and Moses, priests or kohanim supervised
and/or conducted the holiest acts of faith. The priests were descendants of
Aaron; Moses was a descendant of the tribe of Levi. The rest of the Levitical
tribe assisted the priests.
Place of Worship
The public place of worship for Jews is the synagogue. It is usually
oriented to the east so that worshipers can face Jerusalem when they pray.
The synagogue contains the Ark which houses the Torah.
Equipment for Worship
The basic equipment needed for worship is as follows: The Torah, or the
Scroll of the Law, and its accouterments; prayer books; Hebrew Bible;
yarmulkahs (skullcaps); tallits (prayer shawls); and tphillin/phylacteries,
which are worn by males at morning prayer (except on the Sabbath). A male
Jew is required to keep his head covered while in the Orthodox synagogue. If
these items are not available, the National Jewish Welfare Board will arrange
to make one set available per chapel.
For major daytime worship services, Orthodox, Conservative, and
Reconstructionist male members of the congregation wear a tallit or prayer
shawl (wearing of the prayer shawl is optional for Reform male members).
The leader at a service is almost invariably so garbed. Such prayer shawls are
available to military personnel from the National Jewish Welfare Board,
145 East 32nd Street, New York, NY 10016.
Jewish men, who are strict observers of the Jewish tradition, wear tefillin
their foreheads and arms during weekday morning worship. Generally,