Rabbi's Tuesday Evening Study Group

The Tuesday evening meets every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. It is open to anyone who has an interest in the topic of prayer in general and the siddur in particular. (Although since this is Mishkan Torah our study ranges to all manner ot Jewish topics – and a few that are only remotely Jewish!) Individuals with any prior background are welcome. The only prerequisites are a willingness  to learn and to have a good time.

Prayer is about our deepest relationships, and relationships are probably the hardest things that we do in life. But prayer doesn’t have to be harder than is absolutely necessary. Many people have asked me to help them interpret the prayers in the siddur in order to make them more meaningful and to show them how to use the siddur to deepen their spiritual lives.

We will be exploring the history and meaning of the prayers that make up the Shabbat, weekday and holiday services. Just about any question related to this broad topic is fair game. For example: What makes a prayer book a siddur? Why did the rabbis arrange the prayers in a particular order? Do we have to believe literally everything that we say in prayer? And what meaning do these old traditional prayers have for us today?

No Hebrew ability is required. Open to members of Mishkan Torah and non-members alike. Before our meetings, I will be providing materials and making them available for downloading from the Mishkan Torah web site. Just print the handouts and bring them with you. You do not need to read the handouts ahead of time. It would also be a good idea to bring a siddur. Any edition from any movement will do (in fact, the more the merrier – we can compare them). If you want, you can borrow a copy of Sim Shalom from the sanctuary. Call Rabbi Cohen for more information at (301) 441-2624 or email at ravjonathan@verizon.net. 

Note: In some cases, a pdf and a webpage are both listed.  If you have trouble printing the pdf, try printing the webpage.  If you would like to download a file onto your computer, use the pdf.

Materials for the Study Session in 2014 - 2015:

Kaplan - Introduction to 1945 Siddur

Norman Lamm - "One" and Contemporary Science (Feb, 28)

Rethinking the Theology of Prayer (pdf Dec. 4)         Rethinking the Theology of Prayer (webpage)

When Speaking of the Ineffable (pdf Dec. 14)           When Speaking of the Ineffable (webpage)

Maimonides' Conception of God (pdf Dec. 14)           Maimonides'Conception of God (webpage)

Panentheism (pdf Dec. 14)                                            Panentheism (webpage)

Religion Without God   (Oct. 31)

Materials for the Study Session in 2013 - 2014:

Is Belief a Jewish Notion?

Gerhard Borner  (Feb 24)  

Birkat Yotzer (Jan. 14)

Hitching a Ride on the Merkava Express  (Oct. 11)

Nishmat Kol-Hai and Perek Shirah  (Oct. 18)

Materials for the Study Session in 2012 - 2013:

Barchu and Yotzer   (2/22/2013)

The Torah has seventy faces (1/29/2013)

Tu - bi Shevat Through the Ages  (1/21/2013)

Rabbi Benjamin Segal - Psalm 145 (Ashrei)  (1/9/2013)

Blumenthal Ashrei (1/9/2013)

Ashrei by Reuven Kimelman (1/8/2013)

Which Psalms Were Sung in the Temple? by J. A. Smith   (10/26/2012)

Hoffman - Liturgy of Judaism - History (10/28/2012)

Preliminary Blessings and Psalms (10/28/2012)

Suzanne Haik-Ventoura - file created from Wikipedia entry (10/28/2012)           Suzanne Haik Ventoura - Wikipedia entry 

Preparing for Prayer (10/28/2012)

Haik-Ventoura video file (10/26/2012)

Blessings (11/14/2012)

The Jewish Bible Quarterly - A Psalm for the Sabbath?  (11/26/2012)

Midrash Tehillim on Psalm 92 (11/28/2012)

Materials for the Study Session in 2011 - 2011:

Can a Jewish Atheist Pray?


Kavanot for the Weekday Amidah

Kaplan Introduction to 1945 Siddur

Kiddush veHillul ha-Shem

Substitutes for the Temple Cult

The Bedtime Sh'ma

Imitating God; God's Tefillin

Solomon and the Amelioration of Dreams

Deathbed Vidui

Angels and the Bedtime Shema    

The Morning Blessings

The Benedictions of Self Identity and Women's Status