Connecting with God and with ourselves


For centuries, prayer has been one of the main ways that Jews connect with the divine (along with study and performing mitzvot).  But Jewish prayer is not so simple.  The prayers themselves, developed over the course of thousands of years, present challenges to our understanding and interpretation.  The practices that go along with prayer – silence and response, standing, sitting, and swaying – are often obscure to us.  And prayer “equipment” – from the prayer book itself to tallit and tefillin – are unfamiliar to some of us.  Luckily, we have several opportunities in coming weeks to learn about both the content and the equipment of Jewish prayer.  Along with Rabbi Lewis, I am teaching a “Davening 101” class on Tuesday nights that is an introduction to the evening service (Ma’ariv), with special attention to the structure and meaning of the prayers that make up this service. Because of the snow, we have only had one class, so you are welcome to join us this coming Tuesday at 7:00 PM in the Magil Chapel.  In addition, the Men’s Club is organizing our participation in the “World Wide Wrap” on Sunday morning, February 2nd, also in the Magil Chapel.  This is a chance for those who may never have put on tefillin or those who haven’t for some time to engage with this powerful ritual of wrapping ourselves in words of Torah.  In a time when we see signs of the Orthodox world opening up to women wearing tefillin (see the article in the Jewish Exponent here), we especially encourage women who may not have had experience with tefillin or who may not have previously seen this mitzvah as open to them to come and try it out!  May we each continue to grow in finding our own way to connect ourselves to the divine and to each other as a community.