As part of our year of Shabbat services with a twist, we are leading the congregation in an exploration of our ritual. Many of us say the prayers but don’t think about why. So we have embarked on The Prayer Project, with the aim of highlighting one prayer each month. For two or three Fridays, when this prayer comes up in the service, we spend a few minutes studying it from many different angles. When appropriate, our musicians will sing it with different melodies, reflecting the Jewish diaspora. The Rabbi will explain where the prayer fits within Jewish history, liturgy, and how it has changed from one epoch to the next, and from one culture to the next.
Once a month, congregants will come to the bima to offer a brief—3-4 minutes—presentation of what that month’s prayer means to him or her. Our volunteers include authors, artists, film makers, curators, lawyers, doctors, architects and business people; each will bring unique perspective and knowledge. Most will likely offer their reflections through talk, but we invite musical, visual and other interpretations as well.
Every month we will post the responses of congregants who volunteered to speak at services. We invite readers to add their commentaries, 500-700 words, which we will post here. Please send your submissions to villagetemple (at) villagetemple (dot) org and put PRAYER PROJECT in the subject line. Look forward to hearing from you.