Teaching Prayer part 2


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The second part of a learner centered course on structuring prayer learning experiences for a variety of ages and diversity of learners helping them to make personal meaning and develop literacy and competency in Jewish liturgy. Professor Steven M. Brown is Dean of The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education and Director of the Melton Center for Jewish Education. He was the first Dean of Distance Learning at JTS and is also an Assistant Professor of Jewish Education, specializing in curriculum development and instruction. Dr. Brown's career is distinguished by his rigorous examination of the facets of both Jewish and secular education.

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Teaching Prayer part 2

  1. 1. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org
  2. 2. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org The Languages of Prayer Dr. Steven Brown
  3. 3. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Siddur Treasure Hunt Sound of horse hooves ‫אחלק‬ ,‫אשיג‬ ,‫ארדוף‬ ‫אויב‬ ‫אמר‬ ,‫חרבי‬ ‫אריק‬ ,‫נפשי‬ ‫תמלאמו‬ ,‫שלל‬ ‫ידי‬ ‫תורישמו‬(‫הים‬ ‫)שירת‬ Thunderstorm (‫שבת‬ ‫)קבלת‬ ‫כ"ט‬ ‫תהילים‬ A feeling (‫אהבה‬ ‫)ברכת‬ ‫במצוותך‬ ‫ליבנו‬ ‫דבק‬ Whole bodily feeling ‫קדושה‬ ,‫עמידה‬ ,‫עלינו‬ Whole language stirring ‫אשרי‬,‫הוא‬ ‫אדיר‬,‫חיל‬ ‫אשת‬
  4. 4. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org • Doubt Box • Faith Interview • God Talk
  5. 5. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org The Need for a Doubt Box • To encourage questioning, struggle with faith, and to depersonalize students’ possible reluctance to challenge teacher authority or standing, create a doubt box into which students can deposit questions and concerns about God, faith, textual authority, etc. • From time to time review questions, and seek the help of a Rabbi, educator, or fellow teacher who can help you in responding. • It is important to confirm the idea that in regard to belief in God, doubt is legitimate. Faith and doubt are in tension with one another but need not eliminate each other. To give doubt legitimacy we will use a “Doubt Box.”
  6. 6. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Making a Doubt Box • Get a shoe box. Wrap it. Write “DOUBT BOX” on its side. Put a slit on the top. • Hand out “doubt slips”. • Every student should be encouraged to fill out as many slips as he/she wants. They can be left unsigned. • “Doubt slips” should be deposited in the box. • In order to share the doubts of the students, the leader should read out loud the “doubt slips”. There should be no attempt to give answers as they are read. • The “Doubt Box” should be available at every class. Students should be encouraged to contribute their doubts. From time to time they should be read to the class.
  7. 7. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Doubt Slips (sample( Check off Most of the time I doubt .... Sometimes I doubt ... Most of the time I am not sure... Sometimes I am not sure ... I really think that... _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________
  8. 8. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Faith Interview • If there is a God, how do you picture God? • Do you talk to God yourself? • Have you ever felt God talking to you, or have you ever felt God’s presence? • What are some of your doubts about God? • If God is good, how can God permit evil in the world? • Do you know any differences between Jewish conceptions of God and Christian conceptions of God? • Is there anything that makes you angry about God?
  9. 9. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Faith Interview • Has God ever answered any of your prayers? • Why don’t you think or talk about God more than you do? • Does God still function in the world as described in the Bible? • What is a miracle? Do you believe in miracles? • Do you believe in life after death? What form does it take? • Do you believe God punishes the sinners and rewards the righteous?
  10. 10. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Sample Names/Metaphors of God Av Harachaman (Merciful Father) Rofeh Cholim (Healer of the Sick) El Nora (Awesome God) Avinu Malkenu (Our Father, Our King) Pachad Yitzhak (Isaac’s Fear) Tzur (Rock) A partial list of names of God in the siddur can be found in Higher and Higher: Making Jewish Prayer Part of Us by Steven Brown. Published by United Synagogue of America, 1980.
  11. 11. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Two Names of God you really love Two Names of that put you off or puzzle you
  12. 12. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org History of Prayer
  13. 13. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org 1. What does the prayer say? 2. Can it be divided into units of thought or style? This can be determined by tense, person, form of address, mood style, literacy device, poetic structure, or ideas. 3. Are there any striking grammatical forms? 4. When was the prayer written? 5. For whom was the prayer intended? 6. What kind of experience might have stimulated the writing of such a prayer? Can we have a similar experience today? Questions for Analyzing Prayers
  14. 14. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org 7. What related experiences (both positive and negative) do we have that the author did not have? 8. What questions is the prayer attempting to answer? 9. When is it recited? 10.Where is there prayer located in the Siddur? 11.What ideas are in the prayer? Most important? Next? 12. How does the writer feel about these ideas?
  15. 15. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org 13. What has happened to these ideas in Judaism? 14. What role has this prayer played among Jews? 15. What role has this prayer played in your life? 16. How do you feel about this prayer? 17. If a person took this prayer seriously, how might it affect his behavior? 18. What senses, abilities, or processes are involved in making this prayer a real part of one’s life (aside from saying it)?
  16. 16. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Structure of Siddur
  17. 17. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org How is it Organized?
  18. 18. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org By what logic is the classical Siddur organized? • Jew’s daily routine • Frequency of use • Yearly calendar
  19. 19. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Bracha Structure
  20. 20. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Bookends
  21. 21. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org CORE CONCEPT Are central to domain of knowledge Are widely used even if some disagree with them Are likely to stand the test of time Are generative
  22. 22. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org The 4MAT Model Needs to Apply 4 Needs Personal Meaning 1 Needs to Practice 3 Needs to Understand Conceptuality 2 If? Why? What? How?
  23. 23. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org Left Mode Analysis Re-forming Probing Breaking down Right Mode Synthesis Forming Generating Integrating
  24. 24. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org A Cycle of Learning Connect: Engage in experience Examine: Reflect, analyze experience Image: “Picture” the concept Define: Learn concepts and skills Try: Practice with content Extend: Explore, develop original applications Refine: Analyze application for relevance, usefulness Integrate: Share and celebrate learning L R L L R L RR
  25. 25. The Lookstein Center – www.lookstein.org