Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught: Prayer is reaching. It is reaching out to each other, into ourselves and up to God. In truth, all three are the same direction, for when we reach out to others we find ourselves and God, when we reach into ourselves we find others and God, and when we reach up to God we touch ourselves and others.
We participate in communal prayer for diverse reasons. At times we seek transcendence, at other times we seek connection to community or deeper self-knowledge. Rabbi Nachman taught that whichever way we reach in prayer, we open up the possibilities of introspection, connection, and communion with God.
At Beth Emet we navigate the many paths of prayer with a variety of musical styles, showing reverence for traditional Jewish prayer forms while experimenting and innovating, interpreting Torah, and taking time for silence and personal prayer.
We believe that strength and depth of communal worship comes from creating a structure that brings us together as a community, while leaving enough room for personal prayer and introspection. We invite you to join us on our communal prayer journey and to carve out your own path as well.
A word on our prayer book: Mishkan T’filah
At Beth Emet we use the Reform Movement’s siddur, which gives us several options for each prayer, with each two-page spread dedicated to one prayer. Hebrew, transliteration, and a faithful translation appear on the right-hand side, while the left-hand side offers related interpretive readings. As a congregation we pray one of these selections aloud. When we finish that selection, we continue on to the next two-page spread. Feel free to participate with the community or to select an alternative version of each prayer. To help you follow along with the community, our service sheet lists all of the prayers for the service.