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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
No, I'm not a member of a Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, Nouveau, Post or one of those Modern Orthodox shuls which stretch Halacha, Jewish Law, into yoga-like positions.
Think of it as a jam session dedicated to G-d
In our small neighborhood shul, in Ramat Shmuel, Shiloh, neighbors lead the prayers and we all join in. Yes, even the women from our perches in the balcony sing along. Our prayers aren't performances. We all participate; that's why I said that I was in the choir.
Those who lead the prayers aren't supposed to wow us into awed silence. They're supposed to enthuse us into joining.
And that's what happens most of the time. Don't think of it as anarchy. Think of it as a jam session dedicated to G-d. There was nothing boring about it. If I had more space, I probably would have danced a bit. Some people clap and tap, a spiritual percussion. I like to move, since standing and sitting for long aren't comfortable.
My neighbors understand the prayers, and that adds to the spirit of the Holiday. Sometimes that can cause difficulties, as when the man reading the Torah portion about Abraham taking his only son, Issac to be sacrificed was a bereaved father, and it was hard for him to get the words out.
I have no doubt that prayers are supposed to be participatory and not a performance. Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, it was a good way to start the year.
Gmar Chatimah Tovah May You Be Sealed in the Book of Life
Shabbat Shalom U'Mevorach