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T’fillah: Time to Reflect & Learn

December 7, 2016 | Posted in SJCS

Why T’fillah? (prayer time) T’fillah, or prayer time, is our chance to not only learn the core, ancient words of our Jewish tradition, but also provides an opportunity to understand and relate to these prayers in a meaningful way from a contemporary and developmentally appropriate lens.

  • Prayer in community can provide us with a sense of belonging.
  • Prayer helps build our sense of responsibility for one another and helps develop a foundational knowledge that we are not alone in our challenges, mistakes, and joys.
  • Prayer can lift our spirits.
  • Prayer allows us to build our spiritual muscles and build a habit of gratitude, with an ability to be grateful for each moment.
  • In our fast moving world, prayer is a chance for self-reflection and a built in time to slow down and breathe.
  • Prayer helps us build relationships. With ourselves, our classmates, our world, and with God.tba-pic-cropped

What does t’fillah look like in our K-2nd grades? Each day at SJCS the K-2nd grader finds themselves in some moment of community prayer. Community is the foundation of the Jewish experience. An experience which teaches us to make every moment holy, or special. No matter how ordinary.

  • On Mondays we gather to learn the ritual of Havdalah. Separating the holiness of Shabbat from the rest of the week, and in so doing, elevating the moment of transition.
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays each grade extends their prayer experience in age appropriate ways.
    • Gan sings and learns the core prayers of the morning service (Shacharit) through interactive storytelling, creative hand dancing, and reflective sharing, in addition to the straight singing of prayers.
    • On Tuesdays 1st and 2nd graders meet separately to extend their prayer repertoire, using age appropriate siddurim, (prayer books) and the practice of mindfulness and intention setting.
    • On Thursdays 1st and 2nd graders gather together to share a Torah service, including tallitot, the Aron haKodesh, and the Torah.
  • On Wednesdays, K-2 join together to continue and extend experience with the morning service. You might see us sharing ideas of gratitude alphabetically in English in sync with the structure of the prayer Ashrei, an “Aleph-Bet-ical” list of gratitudes in Hebrew. You may hear students take turns telling the story of Mah Tovu while the rest of the group sings a quiet accompaniment. You may see us practicing a series of yoga poses as we express the intention set by the leader (hazan/it) of the day. You may see us dancing as we act out the parting of the Red Sea. You may hear the prayers sung to a traditional nusaf (melody) or sung to more contemporary tunes.
  • On Fridays K-2 grades share a community Oneg Shabbat where, through the year, each child will be honored. At this celebration we not only learn the ritual prayers, but also experience the joy of family and friends.

T’fillah. Prayer. It may be more than you think! Shoshana Stombaugh, Kindergarten Judaic/Hebrew Studies/Music Specialist