Monthly Archives: October 2011

Contemplative chants for morning prayer

Here are the prayers we’ll be using during our Contemplative Chant-Based Service on November 6. Feel free to download, to listen online, and to enjoy! (If you’d like a cd of these prayers, either before the service so you can learn them in advance, or after the service, just let Reb Rachel know.)

1. Prayer for gratitude

מודָה אָנִי! / מודֶה אָנִי!
Modah ani (women) / Modeh ani (men)
I am grateful before You!

Modah Ani (mp3)

2. Prayer for the soul

.אֵלהַי נְשָמָה שְנָתַתָ בִי טהורָה הִיא
Elohai neshama, shenatata bi, tehora hee.
My God, the soul that You have placed within me is pure.

Elohai Neshama (mp3)

3. Ashrei (Happy!)

אַשְׁרֵי יוֹשְׁבֵי בֵיתֶךָ, עוֹד יְהַלְלוּךָ סֶּלָה:
Ashrei yoshvei veitecha, od y’hallelucha, selah!
Happy are they who dwell in Your house;
they will praise You, always!

Ashrei (mp3)

4. Kol HaNeshamah (All That Breathes) – from Psalm 150

כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ הַלְלוּיָהּ:
Kol haneshamah t’hallel Yah.
All that breathes will praise You!

Kol HaNeshamah (mp3)

5. Yotzer Or (Creator of Light) – 1st blessing before the Shema

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, יוֹצֵר אוֹר, וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶךְ,
עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא אֶת הַכֹּל:
Baruch atah, Adonai eloheinu, melech ha-olam, Yotzer or u-vorei choshech, oseh shalom u-vorei et ha-kol.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, sovereign of creation, creator of light and former of darkness, maker of peace and creator of all.

Yotzer Or (Round) (mp3)

6. V’yached L’vavenu (Unify Our Hearts) – 2nd blessing before the Shema

וְיַחֵד לְבָבֵנוּ לְאַהֲבָה וּלְיִרְאָה אֶת שְׁמֶךָ.
V’yached l’vavenu, l’ahavah u-l’yirah et sh’mecha.
Unify our hearts in love and awe of Your name!

V’Yached Levavenu (mp3)

7. The Shema

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְיָ אֶחָד:
Shema Yisrael, adonai eloheinu, adonai echad!
Hear, O Israel; Adonai is Our God; Adonai is One!

Shema (zhikr chant) (mp3)

8. Ozi v’zimrat Yah (God’s Song is My Liberation) – 3rd blessing surrounding the Shema

עָזִי וְזִמרָת יָה וַיְהִי–לִי לִישֻעָה.
Ozi v’zimrat Yah, vay’hi li l’y’shua.
My strength is in Your song, and You will be my salvation.

Ozi v’zimrat Yah (mp3)

9. Shalom chant (to end our silent amidah)

שָׁלוֹם, שָׁלוֹם, שָׁלוֹם, שָׁלוֹם.
Shalom, shalom, shalom, shalom.

Shalom chant (mp3)

10. Ana, El Na (Prayer for Healing) – after our Torah service

נפשי חולת אהבתך, אנא, אל נא, רפא נא לה!
Nafshi cholat ahavatecha; ana, El na, refa na la.
Your beloved is sick; please, God, heal her.

Ana El Na (mp3)

11. Ein Od Milvado (There is Nothing But God) – our Aleinu

אֵין עוד מִלבַדו, ה’ הוא הָאֶלהִים.
Ein old milvado, Hashem hu ha-elohim.
There is nothing but God; God is God.

Ein Od Milvado (mp3)

12. Shviti (I Keep God Before Me Always)

שְוִיתִי אָדונָי לְנֶגְדִי תַמִיד.
Sh’viti Adonai l’negdi tamid.
I keep God before me always.

Shviti (mp3)

13. Wordless niggun, to close

Niggun (mp3)

From the Rabbi: lay leadership schedule change

The workshop in lay leadership has been postponed one week, and will meet on Sunday 11/6 and Sunday 11/13 at 1pm at CBI. (Need a reminder on what this class is? Look here.)

This gives those who want to attend Chaim Bronstein’s first Talmud class this Sunday the chance to do so. If there are folks who want to participate in both lay leadership and Talmud classes, let me know and we’ll figure something out by the time the lay leadership workshop begins on November 6.

Shabbat shalom, blessings to all!

CBI book group; Talmud classes

Dear CBI community,

The CBI book group will meet next at 7pm on Monday, November 21 to discuss “To The End of the Land” by David Grossman. All are welcome; there is no fee for participation, and it doesn’t matter if you have (or haven’t) come to previous meetings of the book group.

David Grossman is a prominent Israeli novelist. For more on David Grossman, here’s his Wikipedia entry , and  here’s a (glowing) review of the book for those who want to learn more. Copies of the book will soon be available at the local public library; it’s also available on Amazon for $10. For more information (or to volunteer to moderate the discussion this time around), call Chaim Bronstein at 917-609-6732.

Chaim is also about to begin offering a free class in Talmud at CBI, geared toward adults. All are welcome and there is no fee for participation. The class will meet on Sundays at 1pm, starting on Sunday, October 30; at that first class, the group will read short selections from Talmud in order to decide what subject(s) they want to learn about. If you’ve ever wondered about Talmud or wanted to try learning a little, this is a great opportunity to learn a little bit of this central Jewish text!

Take care and we hope to see you soon.

November 5: chant-based contemplative morning service

Jewish star mandala

join us at Congregation Beth Israel
for a contemplative chant-based
Shabbat morning service!
November 5, 2011 / 8 Cheshvan, 5772

service at 9:30am
text study & kiddush to follow at 11am

What is a contemplative chant-based service? During this Shabbat morning service, we’ll use a stripped-down liturgy. We’ll pray just one or two lines from each prayer, singing each line several times so that we can really get inside the words and the words can really get inside us. The aim is to move more deeply into each prayer’s theme, and to connect with gratitude, awe, light, love, redemption, and more! After each chant concludes, we’ll sit in silence for a few minutes so that the prayers can re- verberate inside us before we move on. Prayers for the sick will be included, as will a brief Torah reading. The only prayer we will recite in full-text form is the mourner’s kaddish.

Here’s a flyer for the service (pdf format) if you want to stick it on your fridge: Chant service flyer

Come learn to lead prayer!

You don’t have to be a rabbi or cantor to lead a community in prayer. All that’s required is familiarity with the basic prayers and an open heart! This workshop will teach familiarity with the basic prayers, and the simple skills required for leading a community in prayer. (The open heart is up to you.)

This two-part workshop will prepare you to lead services: either a part of the service (tag-teaming with the rabbi or with another lay leader), or the whole service from beginning to end. Subjects to be discussed include:

– what is prayer, anyway?

– the basic building-blocks of the service

– the nuts and bolts of leading prayer from Mishkan Tefilah (how to navigate this siddur, how to choose which version of a prayer to lead)

– how to connect with the emotional and spiritual teachings of the prayers

– how to lead prayer comfortably and with joy

We’ll meet on Sunday, October 30 (note date change!) Sunday, November 6 and Sunday, November 13 at CBI from 1-3pm. All are welcome: whether you think you might want to help CBI by leading prayer in the future, or whether you just want to learn more about how we pray in order to enrich your own prayer life.

If you have questions, comments, concerns, or to sign up, email Reb Rachel:

Avodah: Yotzer Or mp3

Here’s the song the Avodah kids learned this week during our Sunday morning Avodah program.  Since we studied the Torah story of creation, we learned a one-line version of the blessing for God Who creates light; we’ll sing this round next Shabbat at our Avodah service. You can download it, or listen to it online, right here:

Yotzer Or


Come celebrate Simchat Torah

Come Celebrate Simchat Torah With Us!

the Congregation Beth Israel community
joins the Williams College Jewish community
in celebrating Simchat Torah
7:30pm Thursday October 20
Jewish Religious Center, Williams College

We’ll dance with the scrolls, read the end of one scroll and the very beginning of another, enjoy a few “traditional beverages,” and rejoice in the Torah. Bring a drink (apple cider, schnapps, whiskey, seltzer, whatever you prefer) and come sing, dance, and receive blessings! Questions? Email rebrachel (at) cbiweb (dot) org