With the prayer marathon known as the Days of Awe now behind us, a question raised by a number of people was whether there are ways to help people unfamiliar with the Hebrew, and or uncomfortable with some of the imagery from long ago, to more effectively connect with this age-old process, and with what possible impact.
In response to such musing, monthly adult studies will begin on Sunday, October 11, at 10:45 AM, and our topic for this year will be “How Is Jewish Prayer and its Process Relevant to Enrichment of Daily Life?” We will look at core prayers in daily and Sabbath liturgy with a focus on understanding the meaning of the Hebrew and going deeper into the impact of each prayer in support of how we live our lives.
As we do in each of our learning sessions, all attendees will have opportunities to participate in reflecting on how specific prayer insights affect their life perspective. In addition, in exploring the different prayers, we will uncover how partnership with God becomes more accessible and even fluid. Further, we will have opportunities to explore the varying ways we do the ritual while addressing questions of customs of when and why you stand for some prayers, and not others, as well as reflecting on the meaning and value of various customs.
In engaging different prayers people may know to varying degrees, we will continue to uncover Judaism’s core values for living well and consciously while growing in appreciation for how prayer continues to be relevant in an age where doing so seems more difficult and at times remote.
Among prayers to be included are those surrounding the Shema, the Aleynu, the Daily vs. Shabbat Amidah, as well as prayers requested by the group to have us address.
The purpose of these participatory sessions is both to enable prayer to become increasingly user-friendly, in terms of meaning and how to do them, and also to use them as a basis to continue exploration of Jewish values for enhancement of quality of life along with their contributions to deeper appreciation of life’s meaning.
In terms of the bigger picture re: how prayer and ritual enhance appreciation for life we will reflect on how prayer’s seeming repetitiveness mirrors life and ways that it helps in growing awareness that each moment, no matter how many times you have done the same thing, is in reality a first.
I look forward to seeing you for our introductory session on October 11.