Frequently Asked Questions

What is Reconstructionist Judaism?
Reconstructionists approach Judaism with deep consideration of the past and a passion to relate it to the present. In a rapidly changing world, Reconstructionist communities share and create new ways of being Jewish to connect us to the divine and one another and to ensure our lives are filled with purpose. Reconstructionist Judaism is founded on the values of human dignity and inclusivity and is committed to democratic practice in Jewish life. We believe that Jews hold the right to reconstruct Judaism in order for it to remain relevant in our lives. For more information about Reconstructionist Judaism, affiliated communities, and exploring Judaism through a Reconstructionist lens visit https://www.reconstructingjudaism.org/
Can I attend services if I am not a member?
Yes! Anyone is welcome to attend any of our services or events throughout the year. Come experience a Shabbat potluck, musical service or study session. We look forward to meeting you!
Do I need tickets to attend High Holiday Services?
Congregation Shir Hadash has always been committed to providing High Holy Day services that are open to the community. Tickets are not required for members or guests, however guests are encouraged to make a donation as they are able.
What should I wear to services?

Our community is casual so dress in whatever feels appropriate and comfortable. While attendees at High Holy Days tend to "dress up" a bit, including wearing white on Yom Kippur, we tend to dress in a way that enhances our ability to participate, to dance, and to feel comfortable. Kippot (head covering) and tallitot (prayer shawls) are available if you don't have your own, but their use is not required.

Are children welcome to attend services?

Children are always welcome! They often enjoy and participate in the music of our services.  Families may bring quiet activities for their children to do during the service.  We also have an adjoining play area and often provide supervision.

Why do you meet in a church?
Congregation Shir Hadash has always rented space rather than own a building. When we decided to move into the city of Milwaukee we discovered a wonderful partner in Plymouth Church. The church's location, values, warm welcome, and focus on community and social justice have made it a perfect home for us.
Are interfaith partners welcome at Shir Hadash?
Yes! We wholeheartedly welcome interfaith families to Shir Hadash. Our congregation is diverse and welcoming to all and values all of our members regardless of religious background. Our rabbi is part of an interfaith relationship. You can read about her and her husband’s experience and approach in their book “Mixed Up Love”.
What are Shir Hadash services like?
Our services are creative and participatory, full of music, learning, and discussion. We use the Reconstructionist Kol Haneshamah prayerbook, which has Hebrew, often with transliteration and beautiful English translations and interpretations, as well as poetry, commentary and meditations. A Shir service is something you can easily become a part of!
I am interested in having a bat/bar mitzvah at Shir Hadash.
Becoming bar/bat mitzvah is a wonderful journey of learning and reflection. Whether you are looking for your child or considering this path as an adult, our rabbi will work with you to create a meaningful and personal experience. Since we believe this milestone should mark the beginning of your Jewish future within a community, the first step is to determine if Shir Hadash is the right community for you. A minimum membership commitment of two years is required during the process of preparing for a bar or bat mitzvah.
Do I need to have certain beliefs about Judaism or God?
Absolutely not! We are a diverse and open minded community that understands there is no single way to be Jewish. If you are are searching for meaningful Jewish experience, we welcome you.
What food should I bring food to a potluck?
All Shir Hadash events are dairy/parve, which includes all types of vegetarian dishes as well as tuna, salmon and whitefish. Selections at our delicious potlucks often include vegan and gluten-free dishes and are generally labeled to indicate their ingredients.
What are the membership dues at Shir Hadash?
We understand that our community has a wide variety of income levels and financial obligations and so we suggest a membership commitment range, rather than a fixed amount. Each member household is encouraged to be both realistic and generous, so that we can continue to thrive as a community while honoring our diversity. For more information about membership, please contact us and a member of our membership team will be in touch with you!
I would like more information on joining Shir Hadash. Whom should I contact?
For more information about membership, please contact us and a member of our membership team will be in touch with you!