Tefillahpolooza: 40 Minutes of Spiritual Fulfillment

“Are you ‘Banging on Things’ today?”
“No, I’m checking out ‘Ein Kleine Prayermusik’ with the principal.”
“I’m going to the slam poetry one!”
“I heard that Mr. R’s going to show movie clips!”

Discussions such as the chatter above were floating around the Davis Academy Middle School before experiential Tefillah last Monday morning. Tefillahpolooza featured the prayerful stylings of 13 different teachers. It included teachers both Jewish and non-Jewish, academic and dramatic, texty and crafty. There was something for every multiple intelligence: songwriting, sports, movies, drumming, dramatics, photography, meditation, Torah and gratitude were all covered.

So how did this come to be? As the Nadiv Educator at the Davis Academy, I’m part of a dynamic Judaic Studies team. We work together and spend plenty of time pondering and discussing (as, of course, is tradition) how to make Tefillah engaging for our students. Tefillahpolooza was piloted – and enjoyed – last year, so this year, we turned it up to 13, so to speak. Thirteen teachers were lined up to do something instead of last year’s seven. We tapped teachers from many different departments and three administrators took time to facilitate sessions. It was all in at the Davis Academy, and the options were delicious:

  • Banging on Things (Drumming & Spirituality)
  • Judaism is Texty (Literature, Movies & Religion)
  • Our hiSTORY (Storytelling & Judaism)
  • Spirits Soar & Spirits Roar (Slam Poetry & God)
  • Make Note, Give Notes (Gratitude & Attitude)
  • A Day in the Post-Life (Chaye Sarah Parsha Discussion)
  • Get Up, Stand Up (Active Amidah)
  • #PhotoTefillah (Photography & Prayer)
  • Meditation Service (Spirituality & Prayer)
  • Crafty Judaism (Arts & Judaism)
  • Ein Kleine Prayermusik (Music and Prayer)
  • What are the #miracles in your life that you are most #thankful 4?  (Daily Miracles)
  • Sporty Spirituality (Athletics & Spirituality)

What was the result?

For me, it meant sharing some activities I’ve done at camp or the Foundation for Jewish Camp‘s Cornerstone Fellowship (that’s Chana Rothman’s “Banging on Things” and Jon Adam Ross’s “Get Up Stand Up” in the lineup) with colleagues as they developed their own lessons.  It meant talking about religion and spirituality with a number of teacher from different faith backgrounds.  It meant being consistently wowed by and grateful for the thoughtful colleagues I work with at school.