Prayer / T’fillah / úôéìä

Mishkhan T’fillah: A Reform Prayer Book in Jerusalem

For over 2000 years Jerusalem has been the spiritual and political capital of the Jewish people. Jews constantly pray for Jerusalem: In the Blessing after Meals it is written, “Builder of Jerusalem”, in the Amidah it is written, “God of David and Builder of Jerusalem” and in the Blessings of the Sh’mah it is said, ”G-d who spreads his shelter of peace over us, over all Israel and over Jerusalem.” (Y.Berachot 4:5). This course is an opportunity to study prayer on a deep and meaningful level in Jerusalem while using the dynamic new Reform Siddur.

The Role of Jerusalem in Our Sacred Spiritual Texts

Jerusalem occupies an honored place in the blend of religious ideas formulated and transmitted by Jewish circles through countless generations. Equally unquestionable is the notion that liturgy has functioned as a central medium for the expression of Judaism’s most cherished principles of faith and practice. Explore the centrality of Jerusalem in Judaism and our connection to the city.

Exile and Redemption in Jewish Prayer

There are three blessings that use similar formulations in dealing with the topic of exile and redemption and they occur in the service for The Ninth of Av, in the blessings that follow the haftarah reading, and the blessings recited at a wedding. In is simplest form these prayers ask for G-d’s mercy (not compassion) on Israel, G-d’s people, Jerusalem G-d’s city and the land of Israel…while then adding to the list the ruined city and the hope of return. This is an opportunity to define the terms exile and homeland and their role in prayer.

The Role of the Desert in the Jewish Spiritual Tradition

Most of the Torah is set in the desert. In fact the Jewish people became a nation in the desert. Why did B’nai Yisrael receive Torah on Sinai and why particularly in this type of wilderness? What is the connection between the Hebrew words “midbar” - desert and “midaber” - speech? This course explores the idea of physical and spiritual deserts.

Hidden Dimensions: Meditation in Jewish Sources

Discover the linguistic and meditative link between neshamah (soul) and neshimah (breath), as is noted in midrashic literature. Study how Rabbi Levi who taught in the name of Rabbi Hanina, “With every breath (nehsimah) that one breathes, one should praise G-d.” And why “every living soul (neshamah) praises G-d (Psalms 150:6) should instead read “each breath shall praise G-d”.

Unearthing the Biblical Sources on Jewish Prayer

The siddur is an inter-textual framework with a language and code of its own. Come learn to decipher this language and connect with both the textual and spiritual system. Almost every word in our prayers is drawn from the Bible. Learn to connect and excavate the biblical sources of Jewish prayer.

Wrapped in Torah: A Worship Experience

Spirituality is expressed in the bridges we forge with others from the center of ourselves. Explore Jewish prayer through traditional and innovative experiences by employing texts, meditation and prayer. This workshop is designed to spark conversations about our own spiritual and physical needs and those of our community. Come learn through the eyes of some of the modern day spiritual masters who have made their mark on Jerusalem.

Introduction to Meditation and Kabbalah

Jewish mystics developed a remarkable system of meditation over 2,000 years ago in order for us to connect both beyond ourselves and within ourselves. Kabbalah teaches that we are in fact vessels for "the light of God." Only recently has this mystical Jewish teaching of Kabbalah re-entered normative Jewish life. Come learn why its teachings were restricted to an oral tradition. Experience in Jerusalem the prayers and texts used during Kabbalistic meditation. And draw your won conclusions about this sacred wisdom.

Exploring Jewish Symbols and Rituals

Judaism is an intricate mix of text, belief, hope and image. The manner of identifying with this old-new religion can best be done through the alleys of past, present and future in Jerusalem. The city is alive with symbols and hidden messages. The art and architecture, whether on the street or in a museum, is our collective language. Images and ritual encompass a theology and sociology. We learn as we feel.

Diving into the Sea of Talmud: Jewish Law & Jewish Prayer

This course is designed to give a solid understanding of how the Rabbis in the Talmud set the template for traditional Jewish prayer that still guides us until this day. Using the Talmudic “Tractate of Blessings” we will gain insight into the arguments as well as the compromises that created the laws and standards for Jewish prayer.

Acquiring the Skills and Gaining An Understanding of Jewish Prayer

If you walk in to the modern synagogue today it is filled with some of the most capable and impressive individuals you will ever meet, lawyers, doctors, PhDs entrepreneurs, etc.. However for many of us once we step foot into synagogue, we don’t know what to do and when to do it. This is a hands on course how to run a service and other rituals. Learn about the prayer service- what to do, how to do it and what it means.

Destruction of the Second Temple - Nostalgia and Prayer for Return

As the Second Temple was struck down by the Romans, Jewish pain reached peaks never before experienced. The walls were breached, religious symbols were destroyed and the people were carted off to Rome as slaves. Through the centuries, this disaster has been at the center of Jewish hope. To return to Jerusalem, to be in that holy city "next year" is an echo that permeates the collective story. Two thousand years of history in a day- what a remarkable challenge!