Workshops, seminars and courses that inspire full-hearted living

Pathways into Prayer

Dear Friends,

The Lev Shalem Institute just completed a six-week series called Pathways into Jewish Prayer, coordinated by Pauline Tamari with sensitivity and skill. A wonderful group gathered who were interested and able to speak personally and intimately about their relationship to prayer, the ways prayer feeds their lives, and the ways that they feel blocked from or unable to pray. Cantor Micha’el Esformes led a class on the deep structure of the Jewish prayer service; Shir Yaakov Feit led a session on the power of chant as a form of prayer; I taught about poetry as prayer and prayer as poetry; and Pauline introduced us to “davenology”, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi of blessed memory’s coinage that describes and experiments with the many ways prayer can become a meaningful practice in our lives.

The course was a learning lab in the best sense of the word, and left us all eager to continue.

We will be scheduling the next series of these workshops to resume sometime after New Year’s. All will be most welcome to join in, so stay posted for the precise dates. I am excited by the groundwork this course is laying to deepen and revitalize our congregation as a praying community. In the process, we are also deepening our connections to one another, as we share the yearnings and longings of our hearts. It feels so nourishing, real soul food.

As I prepared for my teachings, I came across a prayer/poem I wrote some years ago. I would like to share it with you here:



Seek me always

Look for my face

Search the byways

Ready for grace


Make yourself porous

Open to love

Join the chorus

Below and above


Peer into the eyes

Of those that you meet

There in disguise

Is my countenance sweet


I am within you

And all around

Whenever you’re ready

I can be found


So make yourself ready

With deeds and with art

My presence is steady

Alive in your heart



And I will take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, light-filled Chanukah!

Love and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jonathan