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Prayer at Beth Shalom: One of the many ways to connect with Judaism

When we draw closer to God it is often via a crooked path. We take a step forward, retreat a step, circle around, pause, change direction. Along the way we might feel excitement, boredom, frustration, and enlightenment. Isn't it like the path of the Israelites in the desert? We didn't make a bee-line to Israel. It took many miles and many years, and along the way we fought, complained, argued, and raised a new generation. Somewhere along the road there must have been joy and (God forbid) fun. We reenact our journey through the desert in every Shabbat morning service. We try to draw closer to God through prayer, through study, and through hearing the words of God. But it is not a straight line. We circle around, we experience the sorrow and joy of our past, and we search for the words to reach God. Occasionally we must pause, inject some fun and humour, and begin again, refreshed, for the intense experience of, maybe, sensing the Eternal. Just as Shakespeare knew the value of levity on the way to the dramatic climax, so too do we need services which have moments of fun and humor. It is part of the journey, it is part of being human.

The next time we join together in prayer, step back, look at the service as a whole, and consider where you are going. The path to Israel is long, the road to God requires effort. The fulfillment that drawing closer to God brings is what gives meaning to our lives, but, along the way, don't be afraid to enjoy the music, sense the emotion in the words, and have fun.

Prayer/Avodah Goals

  • Creating meaningful spiritual experiences
  • Morning and evening minyanim
  • Clergy and congregant-led Shabbat morning services
  • Guided meditation
  • Musical family Shabbat evening services
  • Collaborative holiday observances

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