Tefillah Tuesday: Nobody is Perfick

As an old children’s book has it, “nobody is perfick.” We may try to daven with kavanah – focus and intensity – paying attention to the words and to our own inner experience. But that doesn’t always work. Any regular davener will admit to plenty of zone-outs, extraneous thoughts, mispronunciations and misunderstandings of the words… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Shema in All Languages

“Hear, O Israel.” There are two aspects to the mitzvah of the Keriat Shema. First, we are supposed to recite it, morning and night. That’s what keriah means: recite this Torah passage aloud. And, we are supposed to absorb its message. That’s what shema means: we are called upon to hear. Jewish tradition has always insisted on interpreting the Torah in precise… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Unfinished Monotheism

ה’ אחד. God is One. The central affirmation of Jewish faith: that within all the world’s flaws and brokenness, there lies is an incipient perfection and wholeness. That beyond the chaos, there is cosmos. That the One God is the paradigm of goodness, order, meaning and purpose. That is what keeps me going as an… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Covering Your Eyes

This week let’s continue with the theme of common gestures that enhance Jewish worship, and make davening more than reciting words, and more like a choreographed ritual dance. Synagogue goers are familiar with the practice of covering one’s eyes while reciting the first line of Shema. Where does this come from? The commonly cited source… Read more »

Souls On Fire: An Oratorio 

in anticipation of the May 6, 2018 performance at Ansche Chesed   “My father, an enlightened spirit, believed in man. My grandfather, a fervent Hasid, believed in God. The one taught me to speak, the other to sing.” Elie Wiesel, Souls on Fire These striking opening words of the Nobel Laureate’s 1972 book capture the… Read more »