Description and Goals: This class will take a close look at the Jewish prayer book and the experience of contemporary Jewish prayer in an attempt to understand the practical goals of Jewish Prayer. What are we attempting to accomplish when we pray? Where did the assorted prayers come from? Where are they meant to take us? Beginning with the philosophical foundation, we will journey into the construction of what we say, how we say it, and the modern applications we can draw from these words. This class will attempt to upgrade your conception and positively alter your connection to the prayers and their purpose.
1. The Conceptual
a. Introduction – What is Prayer? Why study it?
b. How Does Prayer Work? - Goals, Expectations, Misconceptions
c. The Fixed Text – Verbalization, Language, Flexibility
2. The Practical
a. The Mental Component – Intent, Mood, Distractions
b. The Physical Component – Posture, Bearing, Movement
c. The Situational Component – Times, Locations, Environment
3. The Siddur
a. Development – Layers, Elements, Design
b. The Standard Prayers – The Common, The Known, The Ignored
c. Reactive prayers – Blessings, Experientials, Lifecycles