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“The gates of prayer are never closed.” (Devarim Rabbah)

To pray is a challenge for most of us. What do the words actually mean? Do they say what I wish to say? What do I want to say? And to whom am I speaking anyway? Are they, or They, listening? Does it matter? If I’m not “religious”, why am I so drawn to services? 

Good prayer feels both inspiring and demanding. It should both cultivate deep feelings and make meaningful claims upon us, asking us to consider the implications of our feelings and the responsibility we should take for them.

In Hebrew, the sacred language of Jewish prayer, to pray is “l’hitpallel”, from the root p-l-l which means to judge or evaluate. When we pray, regardless of whether or not we believe in God or a Higher Power, regardless of whether we say the words on the page or the words in our hearts, what unites us is our commitment to make the time and space in our lives to consider deeply our choices and actions, and to recommit to our values and vision for ourselves and our relationships, human and Divine. 

Building on the idea that learning is also a form of prayer, our services include planned and spontaneous discussions, explanations, and commentaries. Music, too, is a key language for prayer - not merely an enhancement to the atmosphere but a mode of expression for wonder and emotion. Music gives voice to the hope, humility, doubt, joy, fear and gratitude that fill our souls during prayer.

Informal and warm, authentic and intimate, Sha’ar’s prayer services touch the heart and the mind as we dig deep into ourselves and extend a powerful embrace of one another.

Highlights from March 6 Shabbat Service: A Teaching and Im Eshkaheykh

Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782