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  1. page zGENERAL IDEAS edited ... . No points off for spelling or transliteration issues! ;-) Prayer Signs Rabbi Nicki Greni…
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    No points off for spelling or transliteration issues! ;-)
    Prayer Signs
    Rabbi Nicki Greninger, Director of Education at Temple Isaiah, Lafayette CA
    In addition to our Sanctuary, we use two spaces for Religious School prayer (one is a smaller "Beit K'nesset", and one is called the "Adult Lounge"). We wanted to create a more 'prayerful' environment in those spaces, and we wanted to help our kids & their parents reflect on the experience of what tefillah is (or could be). We therefore created "prayer signs." The following statements were printed in large font on a blank paper (one statement per page), and we framed the statements & hung them around the room. That way no matter which direction you look, you see statements related to tefillah. I think it's had a big impact on what people look at and think about during tefillah. I've also used them in the context of tefillah, with 3rd-5th grade students... I gave each student 3-4 stickies, and asked them to walk around the room and put a stickie on each of the signs that they most agreed with. Then we talked about which signs had the most stickies, the fewest, etc. We also talked about why the signs were there, and how prayer can be lots of different things... Here are the statements (adapted from something similar used by our local Jewish day school):
    Tefillah is a way to speak to God
    Tefillah connect us as a community
    Tefillah is the word for Prayer
    Tefillah is a link to Jews around the world
    Tefillah is a link to our ancestors
    Tefillah is a response to the wonder of being alive
    Tefillah creates a moment for spirituality
    Tefillah is a way to learn Jewish values
    Tefillah is a way to study Torah
    Tefillah gives us the chance to look inside ourselves
    Tefillah gives us the chance to sing, clap, & hum
    Tefillah requires Kavanah: concentration, focus, aim, attention
    Tefillah requires Keva: structure, fixed times & composition

    Silent Meditation: When I was the Education Director at Temple Kehillah Chaim, the cantor (Barbara Margolis) led weekly T'filah during religious school for 3rd - 7th graders. Cantor Margolis led the students in prayer in a way that, from my point of view, allowed the students an opportunity to 'pray'. I believe there were two keys to this 'successful' T'filah: first was the formality of a service (and students did participate by leading some prayers in Hebrew), and second was the opportunity each week to say a silent prayer. Cantor Margolis was able to bring the students to quietly reflect on their lives and provided an opportunity for each of them to connect with God. Often students were seen with their eyes closed, and a few times I saw students put their palms together in front of their face (as if to say their bedtime prayers, in a traditional Christian picture!). No, I don't have proof that students were connecting with God, but I do believe the opportunity was there. Conclusion: Students need an opportunity for silent mediation, and the T'filah leader should help lead them to that place.
    Mi Shebeirach: I am not a T'filah leader and will not attempt to do so (I can't carry a tune!), but a few years ago, I taught a few 5th grade Hebrew classes at a nearby synagogue (not where I was the director at the time). My role was not just to teach them to decode the prayers, but to encourage connection to the prayer and praying. One day I siezed on a teachable moment, and had the students looking at the Mi Shebeirach (I don't remember what prompted this, and the prayer was not in the curriculum). After a discussion about usage of the prayer, I asked the students to stand, and before we said the prayer together, I asked the students to name someone that they wanted to say the prayer for (if they wished). I learned that almost every student in my class had a close family member struggling with a major illness (sadly, a lot of cancer - a parent, a grandparent, a teacher). We said the prayer together - and I believe connected with each other, and perhaps with God. It was a serious few minutes in the classroom, with more than one student shedding tears. My conclusion is that we need to provide students an opportunity to connect to prayer in a way that relates to their personal, outside of synagogue lives. Our students have worries just like adults, and as I discovered, many are open to connecting with God as a way to share their burdens. Let's provide the opportunity to say the Mi Shebeirach with kavannah.
    (view changes)
    4:29 pm

Thursday, June 13

  1. page .HOME edited ... Join us! There are quite a few resources for teaching about Jewish prayer in a classroom, but…
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    Join us!
    There are quite a few resources for teaching about Jewish prayer in a classroom, but it's not easy to find ideas for enhancing a school-based, synagogue or camp Jewish worship experience. This wiki has been designed to enable such sharing among educators, rabbis, lay leaders, song leaders, camp staff and others. The target population is children and teens, up to age 18.
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    the wiki (but if you're not a "joiner" you can feel free to send your idea for posting to nmoskowitz@jecc.org - she'll get it up for you!). If you'd like to join, you'll find
    To access a page to which you'd like to add an idea, click on the corresponding link in the left column. Then, click EDIT on the top right side of the page. You'll be able to type directly onto the page, add a hyperlink or file that you upload to the wiki. Please remember that we are looking for ideas to use when davening, not in a classroom. For early examples of wiki-contributions, see the Amidah page: Avot V'Imahot.
    Feel free to also add comments about the postings of others, or offer feedback after you have tried an idea. To do this, click on the DISCUSSION TAB at the top of the page. You'll find a way to start a new discussion thread, or respond to that of others.
    (view changes)
    3:34 pm

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  1. page Idea when teaching G'vurot (deleted) edited
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