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  • The Observant Life (Book)

    The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews distills a century of thoughtful inquiry into the most profound of all Jewish questions: how to suffuse life with timeless values, how to remain loyal to the covenant that binds the Jewish people and the God of Israel, and how to embrace the law while retaining an abiding sense of fidelity to one’s own moral path in life. Written in a multiplicity of voices inspired by a common vision, the authors of The Observant Life explain what it means in the ultimate sense to live a Jewish life, and to live it honestly, morally, and purposefully. The work is a comprehensive guide to life in the 21st Century. Chapters on Jewish rituals including prayer, holiday, life cycle events and Jewish ethics such as citizenship, slander, taxes, wills, the courts, the work place and so much more.

The Times of Day for Prayer

A Talmudic Midrash obligates prayer three times a day, instituted in honor of our three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Prayers and Practices of the Weekday Amidah

The Amidah is considered the central part of daily Jewish prayer, with minor variations in the text based on time of day, year and season.

The Interplay of Routine and Intention: Keva and Kavanah

Our prayers are almost always a mixture of both keva (oft-recited text) and kavanah (deeper layers of meaning).

What Prompts Change in Our Liturgy?

Changes in liturgy are born out of changes in the theological and historical life of a people, both the individual and the community.

Enhancing Prayer With Body Movement

Movement acts as part of prayer, orchestrated in traditional Jewish settings, thus putting us in touch with the ebb and flow of the liturgy.

Jewish Prayer Leaders

An individual, Rabbi, Cantor, or volunteer, skilled in singing and well-versed in Torah learning and liturgy, is appointed to lead prayers.

Creating a Sacred Physical Space

Halakhah demands that we invoke God’s name in prayer only in settings that are worthy of the sacred enterprise of prayer.

Why Prayer Matters

Tefillah is more than the sum of its parts and encompasses far more than the obligation to recite certain specific daily prayers.

The Language of Prayer

Jews are permitted to pray in any language and thus making our liturgy a link to Jews all around the world.

The Value of Using Set Prayers

By the use of set prayers, are we ipso facto guaranteeing that some will be obliged to recite words they do not find true or ...