Monday, August 18, 2014

Meaningful Middle School Tefilah

Keva and Kavanah are key concepts when it comes to Tefilah ("Jewish Prayer"). Keva refers to the fact that much of Tefilah is scripted and formulaic. For example, in any Tefilah experience the prayers should follow a predetermined order and the words of the prayers themselves do not change. Kavanah, which I like to translate as "directed consciousness," refers to the fact that, while the prayers don't change, we do. Our life experience, our perspective, our spiritual capacity, our search for meaning-- these things do change. Jews that find meaning and connection in Tefilah understand the dynamic relationship between Keva and Kavanah. They understand that Keva anchors Kavanah and that Kavanah is what allows ancient words to remain fresh and relevant.

Middle School Tefilah provides students and faculty with a chance to explore both the Keva and Kavanah of Jewish prayer. Today students had a chance to focus on Kavanah as they participated in a "chalk talk" where they had a chance to respond to profound questions that emerge from many of the prayers we typically recite at school. Here are a few pictures of the kids digging into the meaning(s) of Jewish prayer as well as a few of their responses. They're on display at the Middle School for a limited time only...

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