How do we understand – and respond to – prayer?
The siddur (prayerbook) appears to suggest that our prayers are direct recitations and petitions to a God who is "other" and who, we hope, is listening and contemplating a favorable response. Reconstructionism retains the traditional language of Jewish prayer, but sees prayer as an "awakening" experience. Prayer reminds us of the Godly values in the world and our obligations to fulfill mitzvot. It is with that kavanah – intention – that we make the centerpiece of our community our davening together.
Bet Am Shalom is a singing congregation. Please read "To Be Lifted Higher" by Cantor Schiller on the role of song in our davening.
Davening opportunities, in addition to Shabbat and holidays, include:
Weekday Shacharit (morning service). On Sundays at 9 am, as students arrive for Hebrew School, adults gather for a brief, congregant-led Shacharit service – modeling Jewish involvement for our children, and enabling the mourners in our congregation to say kaddish. Shacharit services are also organized monthly in observance of Rosh Chodesh, marking the beginning of a new Hebrew month with special prayers for well-being and sustenance.
Ma’ariv (evening service) Shiva Minyans are conducted as the need arises in the homes of congregants who are in mourning. All congregants are encouraged to attend and help make the minyan, whether or not they know the family. It is in the context of this act of kindness that we often connect with the prayer experience most deeply.