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creative worship-beyond Our Prayer Books

02/02/2020 09:44:18 AM


Amy Hersh

Maybe you agree – I don’t think Reform Jews like to talk about how to praise God.

Some of you might have jumped out of your chair just reading the previous sentence. The term “praising God” is foreign and frankly embarrassing to some of us. “It’s not what we do” as Reform Jews, especially for individuals who don’t believe in God, a Higher Power, a Creator or similar concepts.

Sure, we read praise liturgy such as Psalm 145, and we begin many prayers with the words, “Baruch atah, Adonai,” which means Blessed are You – words of praise. We have pre-written prayers and blessings for just about every occasion, as Rabbi Jaech points out. But beyond reading what has been written sometimes generations ago, how do we personally offer our praise? Can we go beyond our prayer books and find new, more personal, innovative ways to be worshipful?

In the years ahead, that may be one of our most important tasks as Reform Jews. To keep our movement and TINW growing and thriving, we will need to engage in “creative worship.”

Creative worship is the subject of discussion on Reform Judaism’s websites and blogs, as well as Rabbi Jaech’s sermons. What exactly is creative worship? It means being open-minded to different forms of prayer. Prayer isn’t just sitting in our temple reading the same words every week or every year. Any act of tikkun olam outside of synagogue, no matter how small or large, is creative worship. Singing, writing, dancing, and building a physical object can be worship too. We are limited only by our imaginations and by our courage to share our thoughts!

Reform Judaism has always been dynamic and changing. We keep tradition, but we also depend on innovation. Change is never easy – but neither is staying stuck. We are so lucky to be part of a community that welcomes diverse ideas. Please share your ideas about creative worship with Rabbi Jaech, our temple leaders and the Ritual Committee.

Mon, August 8 2022 11 Av 5782