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Jewish Prayer as Medicine

02/20/2023 03:34:46 PM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

A 3 session class beginning Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 pm on Zoom

I grew up quite secular and didn’t learn about the gems in Jewish prayer until my 20s or 30s, and even more deeply in my 50s. Whether this is your story or whether you know many prayers, discovering what the prayer has to offer you specifically can be precious. We don’t have to be “religious” or “believe in God” in order to find Jewish prayer meaningful. Jewish prayer can be poetry, truth-telling, a gift from those who wrote it, and it also can help us find our own words we need to express.

I might have said the Kaddish or the Shema or sang Shalom Aleichem many, many times in my life, but when the prayer became personal, it was a deeper experience.

This class is a way to take some of the more familiar prayers and a few new ones, and find a personal connection to them. I have taught this class many times to people from varied backgrounds, including people with no exposure to Jewish prayer at all. We will 1) Learn a little bit about the prayer, 2) Do some personal writing about what stirred us from what we learned (where are we in this prayer, what story did it remind us of) and then 3) Share what we want to with others in the class in a format where we are listened to. The feedback I consistently hear is that people come away feeling more connected to some of the prayers in a way that can be healing for them. Some people feel that the prayers we sing or say are now like a salve to their soul.

I am passionate about this process because prayer is often experienced as rote and we miss the medicine or healing woven within it. Please join me on an adventure with Jewish prayer. No Hebrew or experience with Jewish prayer is needed.


Artwork by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Sat, July 20 2024 14 Tammuz 5784