WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER? 
   



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For so many of us, prayer is difficult!  After all - many of us have trouble believing in - or conceptualizing - a God we can pray to.

Of course there are no atheists in a fox hole.  And when we're in trouble - or facing a terrible crisis - I think most of us can find the words to say, "Please Dear God - HELLLLP!!!..."

So that is individual prayer.  We all have direct access to God on our own - to ask for help - for guidance - for support - strength - courage - some "mazel" - luck!  We just need to speak as we feel. 

That is one kind of prayer. 

But then there's another kind - Jewish Prayer - whereby we say the words that have already been written - that are traditional - that speak of traditional concepts and hopes and praises and gratitudes - and we say these AS A CONGREGATION - minimum of ten - the Minyan - because in Judaism we pray as a COMMUNITY. 

Here is where Judaism shines.  The prayers - in the ancient languages of Hebrew and Aramaic - are so beautiful and established and traditional.  Only thing is - they're not easily understood by the uninitiated.  That's ok.  That's how they're MEANT to be!  Because Judaism is totally intertwined - dependent upon - enmeshed with STUDY!  You cannot get what Judaism REALLY has to offer if you don't - somewhere in there - STUDY!  Because study brings you to understand what prayers mean, where they come from, why they are WHERE they are in the service, what they are meant to do - and ultimately, HOW to pray WITH THE CONGREGATION. 

One thing I have found very helpful is attending a shul where the liturgy is largely SUNG or chanted.  In this way, you come to learn the prayers not only through the words but through the melodies, too.  And the melodies are often lovely.  In my Greenwich Village shul there are some very musical people who harmonize to these tunes - so the songs become especially beautiful.  (If you go "shul-shopping" you'll quickly see that there is a completely different "style" to prayer and the liturgy in each of the denominations - all of them beautiful in their own way, so far as I'm concerned.)

When our shul offered the Free Hebrew Crash Course (1-800-44-HEBREW - or www.NJOP.org) I remember the wife of the president of the synagogue signed up for the Second Level Class - as did I.  And I remember her husband saying that she had gone to services for ten years NOT BEING ABLE TO READ HEBREW! - BUT she knew all the prayers well through participating in the service - singing along with everyone else.  Now - with the help of the National Jewish Outreach Program she could at last READ the Hebrew! 

It's a wonderful step to take - to go from being TOTALLY illiterate in Hebrew - to BEING ABLE TO FOLLOW THE SERVICE!  It's a speical thrill - like walking through a wonderful gate for the first time - (kind of like when the Wizard of Oz film goes from black & white to COLOR!...)

Because Judaism is such an ancient religion, it has had many years - decades - centuries - to get itself well-organized and "polished" you might say.  So that, once you become familiar with the service - (and, if you're in a place where it's well "orchestrated") - you can actually see - feel - how the service is DESIGNED to move you toward the ULTIMATE MOMENT when you utter the opening words of the Amidah:  "Adonai (Lord) - Open my lips that my mouth may declare your glory..." - and thus begins the (almost) silent prayer of the Amidah - the heart of the prayer service - the moment when you utter the deepest prayers directed to God... 

When you get familiar with this - and get into the "rhythm" of it - you can feel yourself moving towards this Moment of Truth when you truly pray to God.  It becomes very meaningful - once you understand it - once you get into it - once you're able to participate in it. 

But - as with everything in Judaism - you can't do it "instantly."  Judaism is not an instant religion.  We don't get suddenly "born again" in Judaism.  We study and learn and practice and observe and try and do it again and again and get better at it and then perhaps take a few steps back - and then forward - and eventually - if we keep at it - we get to a place where it becomes meaningful and important.  And that's when Judaism really takes hold.  When it becomes so precious and powerful.  It's truly a wonderful, brilliant, beautifully "honed" religion.  But you won't know how wonderful it is - until you DO IT.

As we say:
The more you do it, the more you get it....

CLICK HERE for
18 Ways to Deepen Your Judaism.

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SHALOM! WELCOME! (HOME)  |  SPONSOR A KEHILLAH AD!  |  OUR MISSION - OUR PLAN  |  NON-DENOMINATIONAL?  |  THE DEVALUATION OF JUDAISM  |  SHOP KEHILLAH! BOUTIQUE  |  18 REASONS WHY IT'S GREAT TO BE JEWISH  |  18 WAYS TO DEEPEN YOUR JUDAISM  |  THE ONE JEWISH RITUAL FOR YOUR FAMILY...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SHABBAT?  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - FRIDAY NIGHT  |  ADD A BIT OF SHABBAT TO YOUR LIFE - SATURDAY  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT SYNAGOGUE?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT READING HEBREW?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT KEEPING KOSHER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT JEWISH PRAYER?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ISRAEL?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT MARRYING JEWISH?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT ORGANIZED RELIGION?  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT "ANCIENT"...  |  WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT PRESERVING JUDAISM?  |  NOT A BELIEVER?  |  THINGS YOU LOVE ABOUT BEING JEWISH  |  YOUR OBJECTIONS - THINGS YOU HATE!  |  ARE YOU A SINGLE PARENT?  |  ARE YOU CREATIVE?  |  ARE YOU "MIXED?"  |  SMALL PLEASURES...  |  GOOD STORIES  |  THE "WOMAN" ISSUE  |  OUR BOLD RADICAL PROPOSAL...  |  ADVERTISE TO EDUCATE!  |  OUR PRO-JUDAISM AD CAMPAIGN  |  KEHILLAH RADIO & TV  |  THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR JUDAISM...  |  JEW VS. JEW  |  PASSOVER - ONE THING YOU CAN DO...  |  Shrek on Judaism!  |  Mel Brooks - On Being a Jew  |  Kirk Douglas: Why Be Jewish?  |  Rabbi Harold Kushner  |  Joe McCain on The Jews & Israel  |  American Presidents and The Jews  |  KEHILLAH is dedicated to...  |  LINKS TO Jewish Organizations, Charities & Websites  |  CONVERSION TO JUDAISM  |  GILLIE'S RECIPES  |  JEWISH HUMOR  |  NY TIMES: BRING BACK SHABBAT! PERSONAL STORY...  |  DO YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?  |  Contact Information  |  YOUR FEEDBACK PLEASE!  |  TO HELP SUPPORT KEHILLAH

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