Encompassing all facets of prayer and devotional practice at BJ, the Center for Prayer and Spirituality will advance BJ’s spiritual vision through a broad array of experiential entry points representing the multiple spiritual dimensions of the Jewish tradition.
We believe that the Center for Prayer and Spirituality is aptly named, as it is so central to the collective experience of our community. Through the work of this center, we will deepen our Shabbat and holiday programming, expand offerings for alternative prayer spaces and spiritual practices, continue to enrich the musical dimension of our tefillah, introduce new opportunities for immersive experiences, encourage exploration and reclamation of ritual practice, and expand our horizons through meaningful adult learning.
This coming year in particular, we will be prioritizing three areas in which we seek to enhance the spiritual life of our community.
- We will be expanding opportunities for mindfulness practice, while also deepening the way that this practice can impact the BJ community more broadly.
- We will be launching an exciting new initiative, engaging in the spiritual practice of communal singing. Recognizing the transformative and transcendent power of music, we will be exploring what is possible when we gather in intimate spaces, and –through a spiritual lens – sing, harmonize, and listen together.
- We know that so many in our community are in the midst of significant life transitions: marking a retirement, sending a child off to college, coming out, at various points in the midst of treatment for an illness, or embarking on a significant journey. With this in mind, we will be creating a series of Ritual Labs to explore some of these transitions through a Jewish framework, and together, create rituals to bring these moments into a holy space.
Through these expansive new initiatives, the Center for Prayer and Spirituality will continue the work of drawing ourselves closer to the Divine presence, to our community, and to our own souls.
Come and join us.
Who Are We?
|Cantor David Mintz, Director|
Cantor David Mintz joins B’nai Jeshurun from New Orleans, LA, where he served as cantor of Touro Synagogue since 2014. While at Touro, he created a variety of initiatives to develop a culture of communal singing as spiritual practice. In addition, he reimagined young family Shabbat programming and oversaw the community’s 26-year tradition of Jazz Fest Shabbat, collaborating with renowned jazz musicians such as the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jon Cleary, Sunpie Barnes, and the Panorama Jazz Band of New Orleans. Read moreContact Dave
|Dan Nadel, Music Director|
Dan Nadel is an Israeli born, New York-based guitarist and composer, whose personal style combines flamenco, jazz, and Middle Eastern influences. He is a bandleader, a solo performing artist, and a collaborator with Tavche Gravche, his multinational neo-Balkan group.A busy musician on New York’s scene, Nadel has also worked with many world-renowned artists, including jazz musicians… Read moreContact Dan
|Kristen Kersey, Department Administrator|
Kristen’s first position at B’nai Jeshurun was as the Administrative Assistant for Youth and Family Education Department (now known as Family Life and Learning). After three years as an Event Coordinator at Citigroup, Kristen is thrilled to be returning to her spiritual home. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History from American University in 2009. Kristen lives on the Upper West Side, and when she is not at BJ, you can often find her cooking, singing, writing, or attempting some dangerous combination of the three.Contact Kristen
Upcoming CPS Programming
Saturday, January 19 | 8:45-9:25AM | Chapel
Join Rabbi Roly Matalon to prepare the soul and open the heart for Shabbat morning prayers through the singing of piyutim and reflections on kavannah. This series is open to all, no registration necessary.
Upcoming Dates: February 2 , 16; March 2, 16; April 6, April 20; May 4; 18, June 1, 15.
January 20-27 | Costa Rica
REGISTRATION IS CLOSED
Is multitasking in your daily life taking a toll? Spend a week of simple living in the rich ecology of the Costa Rican rain forest and the rustic elegance and organic fine cuisine of La Montaña Azul Center. Led by Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, we will explore Jewish mindfulness practices as a way to connect more deeply with our souls, our truest values, and with God’s creation, of which we are an integral part. Each day we will pray, meditate, set a kavanah (intention), follow integrative body movement practices, bear witness to local social initiatives and experience nature.
Read more »
Monday, January 21 | 6:30-7:00PM | Chapel
Whether you have a deep meditation practice or are interested in exploring mindfulness for the first time, we invite you to join us for Monday Meditation Minyan, led by Yael Shy. Each session will begin with wisdom from the Jewish tradition, followed by focused meditation (with some guidance), a short discussion, and an opportunity for community members to recite Mourner’s Kaddish. No experience necessary; all are welcome.
Monday Meditation Minyan meets weekly, with the exception of national and Jewish holidays. To get a glimpse of what you can experience in-person, check out the live stream of this season’s first session.
Tuesday, January 22 | 9:00AM | 4th Floor Conference Room
Join Rabbi Hillel Friedman, longtime BJ member, for a perusal of the classical prophets. Together we will study excerpts from the classical prophets and apply their wisdom to our concerns in the 21st century.
This class meets every Tuesday.
Friday, January 25 | Following the Kabbalat Shabbat Service | Reception and Middle Rooms
Pull out the quinoa and kale, the next community potluck Shabbat dinner is right around the corner! Bring your friends, family, and your Tu Bishvat-inspired dairy/vegetarian creations. Our featured speaker is The Rev. Fletcher Harper, Episcopal priest and Executive Director of GreenFaith, an interfaith coalition for the environment that works with houses of worship, religious schools, and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards. He will speak on “Religious Responses to our Changing Climate”.
Under Fletcher’s leadership, GreenFaith has developed innovative programs linking religious belief and practice to the environment. An award-winning spiritual writer and nationally-recognized preacher on the environment, he has led multi-faith organizing for the 2014 and 2017 Peoples Climate Marches, played a lead role in the faith-based fossil fuel divestment movement, and coordinated the development of GreenFaith’s international work. He is author of GreenFaith – Mobilizing God’s People to Save the Earth.
This dinner is presented in partnership with the Center for Prayer and Spirituality at B’nai Jeshurun and the Environmental Justice Hevra.
Mondays, January 28-February 11 | 7:00-8:30PM | Middle Room
Become a member of the next Ritual Lab cohort, delving into the experience of mourners completing a year of saying Kaddish for a loved one. The daily action of saying Kaddish is among the most powerful of Jewish rituals, and yet there can be an additional sense of loss when the year of mourning concludes. Join Cantor David Mintz for an opportunity to explore the wisdom of our tradition, broaden our understanding of Jewish ritual, and together, co-create a new ritual to mark the act of emerging beyond the year of mourning.
Saturday, February 2 | 9:30AM | Frankel Hall
Join Rabbinic Fellow Abi Weber for a Shabbat morning learners’ minyan. This minyan is open to newcomers and regulars alike looking for a deeper understanding of the meaning of the prayers, the liturgical arc of the service, and a more intimate prayer experience and discussion. We will dive into the Shaharit service together and join the rest of the congregation for the Torah service and Musaf. Meets the first Saturday of each month.
Tuesdays, February 5, 12, 19, and 26 | 7:00-8:00PM | Chapel
Family life can be the landscape where we find great meaning and purpose, and at the same time, be the container for some of our most challenging relationships and emotions. Join Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein for an exploration of these universal conflicts, and the tools that mindfulness practice and the wisdom of our tradition can offer in bringing a sense of healing to complex familial relationships.
Friday, February 8 | 6:15PM | Community House 3rd Floor
Join us for an intimate service featuring meditation, reflection, deep listening, and personal engagement with the parashah. Please contact Kristen Kersey (x255) with any questions.
Monday, February 25 | 7:00-8:30PM | Chapel
Join Rabbinic Fellow Margo Hughes-Robinson of an evening learning and discussion on antisemitism and the unique experience of Jews by choice in processing its history and realities. This event is open to members only.
Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2 | Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, 116 Johnson Road, Falls Village, CT
Meet Me at Sinai: Women’s Love, Rage, and Righteous Indignation at a Time of Revelation
With the ongoing revelation in the #metoo era of the structural and institutionalized sexism that still persists in our time, we encounter our tradition as women with a range of emotion. As we prepare for Shavuot and the revelation of Torah once again, we will join together as women to confront the emotions that are revealed in our texts, in our liturgy, and raise up a Torah that is both broken and holy, just as we too are broken and holy.
Join Rabbi Felicia Sol for a glorious Shabbat of joy, song, learning, and connection in a beautiful, natural environment filled with the exclusive sound of women’s voices. Whether you are new to BJ or a long-time member, the Women’s Retreat creates an atmosphere of connection where all are embraced for who they are. Community is built throughout the weekend and sustains itself when we get back to NYC.