A Work of Heart

Between Me and G-d: How Jewish Prayer Unites Heaven and Earth

Should we pray? Granted, prayer has been a key feature of Jewish life for four millennia. But what is its goal, how is it done, and why are ancient and formal rituals relevant to us nowadays?

The Rosh Chodesh Society’s upcoming course, A Work of Heart, flings the cover off the Jewish prayer book, the prayer services, and the synagogue—exposing the beating and beautiful heart of prayer that breathes within. It reveals prayer as an art and an opportunity, a means of human-to-G-d bonding, a journey of self-discovery, a perspective changer, and an exercise in self-empowerment.

Lesson 1

A Work of Soul

A New Paradigm for Prayer

Prayer often gets a bad rap: Dialogue with the Unseen seems unrealistic, prayer gobbles vital time, petitioning is for the needy, prayer services are confusing, etc. This lesson reveals that the core of prayer in Judaism is the soul’s craving for a deep and meaningful personal connection with G-d, and demonstrates how to meet this goal through prayer.

Lesson 2

A Work of Pleas

Understanding the Mechanics of Petition

Praying includes petitions, but is it impudent or heretical to seek alterations to what G-d has given us? Why would G-d want mortal appeals? This lesson dabbles in mysticism to identify the mechanics that make prayer effective. It defines the most favorable approach, and then we come to discover the benefits to our personal relationship with G-d from prayers of petition.

Lesson 3

A Work of Ascent

Making Sense of Liturgy, One Step at a Time

Many attempt to pray, but struggle to generate a genuine experience. Others struggle with deciphering the structure and texts of the Jewish prayer book. This lesson exposes the brilliance, beauty, and objectives behind the prayer book’s ladder-like structure; and identifies the ways in which its texts coax and guide a genuine prayer experience.

Lesson 4

A Work of Praise

Finding G-d in Our World

Jewish prayer involves singing G-d’s praises for the universe He created, but does G-d need our acclaim? Daily? This lesson reframes our perspective on praising G-d, unveiling the act as a beautiful bridge across the Divine space between Creator and created, and revamping our view of ourselves, our universe, and our purpose in life.

Lesson 5

A Work of Transcendence

Achieving True Transcendence in Prayer

We relate to G-d via His interactions with us and see G-d reflected in the miracles of nature. But can we connect in a meaningful way with G-d Himself—as He transcends the universe? This lesson reveals and explores the transcendence hardwired into the Jewish prayers, provides intense insights into our bond with G-d, and invites us to venture beyond.

Lesson 6

A Work of Synthesis

Synthesizing Divinity and Materiality in the Amidah

Materialism and spirituality appear in conflict, but the centerpiece of Jewish prayer—the Amidah that crowns each service—is the apex of both Divine bonding and pleas for material needs. This lesson revolutionizes our view of material-spiritual dissonance and offers a profound and fresh appreciation for prayer, G-d, and life on planet Earth.

Lesson 7

A Work of Alliance

Finding Meaning in Communal Prayer

Prayer is a deeply personal journey that includes reflection and contemplation. Why does Judaism insist on communal services, when solitude seems more conducive? This lesson investigates the role and power of communal prayer, reveals how it is essential in order to achieve the ultimate goals of prayer, and charts a path to balancing the personal with the collective.