Shamas Instructions

Please take this brief survey to let us know about your willingness to be involved in the shamas tradition and our Gemilut Hasadim committee.


Thank you for offering your time! It’s truly a blessing for the community but also for yourself, and we encourage you, within the bounds of your duties, to enjoy your role as host and welcomer.  The Jewish tradition of hospitality goes back to Abraham, who hastened to welcome the strangers that appeared at his tent and Rebecca, who gave water to human and animal guests.

Serving as a Kolot shamas means that you are hosting – so the most important aspect of your role is to offer a warm welcome to each person who walks through our doors. However, there are many other things to get done so here are the gory details of what shamases do: 

1) SET UP  -  Please arrive by 9:30 AM.  This is very important.  

The custodians will bring up whatever you are not comfortable carrying from the basement yourselves. They pretty much know the drill, but shamases are responsible for the set up at the back of the sanctuary, and for putting out the books when there special events and we’re expecting a full house!   

  • In the Kolot bin you’ll find a blue plastic file envelope in which you’ll find a SHAMAS badges. Please put one on.
  • If you find signs to indicate NO CELL PHONES and NO PHOTOS, please put up those up by the entrance.
  • There will also be two clip boards – one for b’nai mitzvah students to sign in, and one for newcomers. Place the clipboards and other Kolot literature on the round table in the back.  Please check that there are pens attached to the clipboards, and that the newcomer who choose to sign do so legibly so the membership Committee can follow-up later.
  • Clear off the church’s information from the rectangular table and place it neatly under the table. In its place, put out literature from our non-Kolot info bin. (If the literature is scrambled, you might help to put it back in a more organized fashion when you pack upKeep the siddurim at the back to hand out personally. (For special events, please put the books on the pews all around the room.) The large chumashim (Plaut Torahs) are kept upstairs in bins on the stage.
  • It’s also a good idea to up some books and booklets and kippot on the table near the the top of the stairs from the basement, as a lot of people enter the sanctuary that way, especially at 10:30 after breakfast.
  • If there are no booklets for the portion that day, please distribute some chumashim on the pews.
  • Keep the kippot and tallitot on the round table, if there’s room, or on the back window.



  • By 10:00, the first people will have started to arrive and may not know if they’re in the right place, or that breakfast is about to begin downstairs! Give a special greeting to anyone you may not know and help them find their way. 
  • Make sure with your co-shamas to ensure that one of you stays near the door from then on. You can take turns downstairs during breakfast.

3) DURING SERVICES 10:30 am to approx. 12:45 pm

  • Stand or sit right at the entrances to the sanctuary. There are two black chairs (from foyer) which you can place near the round table by the front door.  At least one shamas should be visibly standing or seated there throughout the service so you can see and respond to anyone entering or exiting, or anyone who has a question (most common question: “Where’s the restroom?”).  One shamas should stand by the top of the stairs at 10:30 to greet people coming up from breakfast.
  • Quietly greet all arrivals with a smile, “Shabbat shalom” and offer them a kippa and tallit.  Offer them a prayerbook, booklet with parsha, and song sheet, if Lisa gives you one that day to distribute.
  • When you greet latecomers, point out where we are in the siddur, if you can. Direct them to available seats.
  • Move around the sanctuary now and then to see if anyone needs a songsheet, prayer book, whatever. Diplomatically and quietly ask people to go outside if texting, or using cell phones. You can also suggest to those standing around talking or caring for crying babies that they can hang out downstairs.


  • If there is no bar or bat mitzvah (in which case everyone will be going downstairs for Kiddush) you will be giving out the Kiddush grape juice upstairs.
  • Toward the end of the service (listen for the Aleinu) one shamas should count the number or people in the sanctuary and go downstairs to pour enough little cups of grape juice for Kiddush. (Plastic cups work much better than paper cups which leak!) Bring the trays upstairs. When the service is over and people are gathering into a circle, pass out the grape juice.
  • We’ve also been asked to record the number of people who come to services each week. Enter the number of the sheet of paper in the plastic sleeve which is left with the clipboards you put out earlier.



  • Collect prayer books, put them in the plastic crates and carry them downstairs. Yossi and Randy will help.  The Torah commentaries stay in crates on the stage.  Put everything else back neatly where you found it, including the literature for the church.  Feel free to elicit help from other members. 

Thanks so much.  Have fun taking care of your community! 

© 2017 Kolot Chayeinu | Voices of Our Lives