Category: prayer

Siddur as Hometown: Don’t Dismiss the Travel Guide

We often treat the siddur like our own hometown: we can imagine why others are fascinated

Maintaining Self and Struggle

A meditation linking God’s four-letter name – YHVH (yud-hey-vav-hey) – with the human body/soul can help focus on God’s presence and power in our lives. I have relied on this meditation since Rabbi David Shneyer […]

Map Your Heart Out: A Few Sources

Here, as promised a few days back, are some of the sources that I included in my prayer “heart map”…. Overall structure is formed by two lines from this kavanah [intention] for the Amidah: Create […]

Life, Liberty, and the Promise of Peace

Readers may have noticed a long silence on this blog. But I have not been entirely silent. At start of June 2015, I began an additional blog, #SayThisName, to mark those lost to homicide and […]

Broken-Heartedness and the Days of Awe

One common, powerful theme of the high holidays is the idea of the broken heart. This is encapsulated prominently in the blowing of the shofar, with its shevarim [shattered] call. (See, e.g., The Shofar as […]

“If a corpse be found…”

Chapter 21 of Deuteronomy (Shoftim: Deut 16:18-21:9) tells the Israelites what to do, upon entering the land, “if a corpse be found..the identity of the slayer not being known.” This is the elaborate ritual involving […]

Morning: Blessing, with Echo of Gunshots

How lovely are these tents! not far from housing that has seen better days and housing that has seen too many awful ones. I love the place of Your house, reached through streets collecting cigarette […]

Prayer Warm-up: From Self to Community

Part of the early morning warm-up for prayers — along with awareness of our blessings and awakening body, soul, and mind — is moving from what Mishkan T’filah [Reform prayerbook] calls “self-fulfillment” to “social imperatives […]

Prayer in the Midst of Bullets and Bombs

Decades ago, Yehuda Amichai wrote about the diameter of a bomb — thirty centimeters, with circles of pain outward from its center. (English here). Similarly, every bullet leaves pain in circles rippling outward. We also […]

Praying with Voices of Grief and Struggle

Jewish memorial prayers ask that souls of the departed be bound up among the living. The living help in this process by doing acts of tzedakah – translated as charity, righteousness, or justice – in […]