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Posts Tagged ‘Barkhu’

Teaching always jazzes my soul.

Prayer makes my soul sing.

Blending both is pretty close to ecstasy.

Last week, I had the opportunity to navigate the world of prayer in a way I have never before experienced.  I was asked to be a substitute teacher for an amazing adult education class on Basic Judaism.  The subject was in essence about navigating liturgy.

my favorite siddurim

my favorite siddurim,           not my only ones

At first, I was apprehensive! I am so off beat when it comes to my own prayer practice.  I love prayer, but in my own practice incorporates many modalities not found in most of the communities I have lived and worked.  I wanted to share my love of prayer while still helping people develop the foundation or understanding to feel more comfortable within worship services.

With a heavy heart I began thinking about how do I honor the community I work while sharing the excitement for prayer that is intrinsic in my own spiritual practice.  As soon as I started the heavy heart was replaced with my excitement for teaching.  I loved this class; nearly every learner was engaged in some way.  And in the end, I brought my full self into teaching.  In truth, I could have taught for another two or three hours, but that wasn’t in the cards.  🙂

Later, I realized that I hope to one day teach a full liturgy course to engaged adult learners. I want to teach much of what I did with a focus on specific prayers and where they come in the service.  I want to share how I use chanting, drumming, movement, and reflection within my prayer practice.  I want to empower those that want to play with prayer to play.  I want folks to learn that prayer is within their heart, but it can also be found in some phenomenal siddurim (prayer books) too. Growing a strong foundation within prayer comes from knowledge.  Perhaps one day, I will have the opportunity to do just that.  Until then, I will find the prayers within my soul and keep on praying.  The good news is that since the class last week, I have heard from 7 of the students either with questions or with excitement. . . so maybe, just maybe. . . 🙂

Many people have helped guide my spiritual journey.  Beautiful souls that have prayed with their entire  being have guided me with their teachings and with their full heart.  Musicians and singers, cantors and rabbis of all denominations, the CAJE community, the Renewal community, and Reconstructionists have all  inspired me to embrace prayer with my entire being.  My teachers have come from so many different places; it was with these experiences that I stepped into the adult education class last week.

One of my favorite prayers is the Barkhu.  In the Barkhu, the leader calls the kehillah, the community, to prayer.  And one of my favorite versions was adatped by Lev Friedman.

Barkhu,  Dear One, Shekhinah, Holy Name, when I call on the Light of my Soul, I come home.

This call and response Barkhu helps center me and reminds me of the power that is not only around me, but within me.  After I pray using this version of Barkhu, I feel fully ready to become one with prayer and to reach within myself to pray with an open heart.

May we each be called to the prayer of our hearts as we navigate the world around us.

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