Saturday, December 21, 2019

Kabbalat Shabbat experiment: Mindfulness Service at BJ

B'nai Jeshurun's Mindfulness Kabbalat Shabbat Service  was . . . interesting.

There was plenty of mindfulness.

But there wasn't much service.

A line from this psalm and that psalm, a few verses of L'cha Dodi, Bar'chu, the first line of Sh'ma, Mi Chamocha . . . you get the picture.

But the piece de resistance was the Amidah.

As in, what Amidah?

They started with HaShem S'fatai Tiftach, left us standing in silence for several minutes with no text in our hands--apparently not assuming that some of us might actually want to pray using the actual traditional words--and finished with Oseh Shalom.  I told my husband that this was analogous to warming up for a race and cooling down from a race without actually running the race.  What's the point of having bookends if one doesn't intend to put books between them?

Clearly, this service is not for people who prefer to pray the traditional prayers, and I doubt that my husband or I will return for this particular type of service.

That said, I applaud BJ for offering a Mindfulness Service.  A Jew who finds mindfulness, contemplation, meditation, or the like meaningful or crucial to their spiritual life should not have to go to a silent retreat at a monastery, or to an ashram, to find it.

Also, kudos to BJ's Center for Prayer and Spirituality for co-hosting Hadar's Rising Song Intensive.  We'll be there, as well as at an occasional Bo-i Kallah service.



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