Center for Prayer and Spirituality

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

From Destruction to Rebuilding: A Mindful Path to Resilience 

Sunday, July 22 | 11:00AM | BJ Chapel
Join Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein for a unique contemplative experience on Tisha Be-Av, exploring the nature of resilience in the long history of our people, and in our own lives today. No registration required, all are welcome.

The Impact of Destruction

Sunday, July 22 | 5:15PM | BJ Chapel
Together with Rabbi Michael Boino, through the study of traditional and modern texts and theory (no previous experience necessary), we will explore the themes of Tisha Be-Av as they relate to trauma and grief. No registration necessary, all are welcome to attend.

Hilkhot Teshuvah: Pathways Towards Transformation

Saturdays, August 18, August 25, September 1, September 8 | Following Kiddush | BJ Chapel
Is transformation really possible? Can human beings truly change? Join Rabbi Shuli Passow and Cantor Dave Mintz for an exploration of Hilkhot Teshuvah, Maimonides’ guide for engaging in the process of teshuvah and transforming our lives. We’ll study the texts, discuss how they relate to our lives, and consider how they can help us return home to the best versions of ourselves. Meeting after Shabbat morning kiddush throughout the month of Elul, this series will offer a powerful framework as we prepare for the Yamim Nora’im. Join for just one session or the entire series. No registration necessary.

Sounds and Silence: Mindfully Hearing the Shofar

Tuesday, August 28 | 7:00PM | BJ Chapel
The sounding of the shofar during Elul and the Yamim Nora’im is deeply soul-stirring, as it awakens primitive sensations and emotions. How can we prepare to listen with intention and be aware of the messages that resonate within us? Led by Jonathan Silver, one of our Baalei Tekiya, this session will include mindfulness meditation and the sounding of the shofar to help our preparation for the Yamim Nora’im. No registration required, all are welcome.

Hatanu Lefanekha: Tuning Our Souls for Teshuvah

Mondays, August 29, September 5, and September 12 | 6:30PM | BJ Chapel
For the past thousand years, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews have gathered for the forty days from the beginning of the month of Elul, through Rosh Hashanah, and up to Yom Kippur, rising at dawn to sing Selihot prayers and to prepare the soul for repentance and renewal. Led by Rabbi Roly Matalon and Music Director Dan Nadel, this three-part poetical and musical experience will engage us in that spiritual journey and get us ready for the upcoming sublime days of soul-searching and prayer of the Yamim Nora’im. The series is free of charge and open to all.

BJ Mindfulness Retreat in Nature

Register now for January 20-27, 2019 | Costa Rica

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.
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