Pray

The Cantor’s Role Then and Now

Cantors today, as in the past, must balance the demands of tradition with the evolving needs of a community.

Beyond Prayer Words

Liturgical texts are only the external, observable part of the experience of prayer, which should lift up the soul.

Hebrew & Prayer

Prayer in Hebrew, even in when the language is unfamiliar, can have an emotional impact, which is deepened by an understanding of key concepts and words.

Synagogue Architecture Requirements

Jewish law may make no requirements or restrictions about architectural form, but one prominent 18th century rabbi issued a warning about copying the styles of the rich and famous.

Why Pray? A Variety of Jewish Answers

Jews pray in order to enrich our lives and seek comfort, to connect to the past and to others, to celebrate and develop a sense of the sacred, to serve God and help make ourselves Godlike.

God in Jewish Prayer

The Talmudic rabbis crafted a formula that moves from addressing God to speaking about God. What did they mean to convey through this dual formula?

Synagogues Instead of Cathedrals

Dispersion and uncertainty discouraged Jews from investing in cathedral-like synagogues, but they found a substitute in another dimension.

Pre-Modern Synagogue Architecture and Interior Design

Synagogues share certain functional interior furnishings, but there is no architectural design or artistic style that characterizes a synagogue.

Reinterpreting Tefillin

Some interpretations of the meaning of tefillin have faded, and others have been invented to take their place.

Respect in the Synagogue

Rabbinic restrictions on behavior in the synagogue reveal continuing tension between ordinary Jews' sense of being at home and at ease there, and the desire of rabbis to set it apart as a sacred place.

Rashi and Rabbenu Tam: Two Sets of Tefillin

Evidence from Qumran shows that the medieval debate about the order of biblical passages in tefillin has ancient roots.  

Tefillin: Spiritual Significance

The details of this precept, using powerful symbols of allegiance to divine law and of membership in the Jewish religious community, have been subject to many interpretations.