(22W7) Mishnah Berachot: Our Ancestors’ Discussions of the Meaning of Prayer on 10, 17, 24, 31 March 2022

March 10th, 2022 - March 31st, 2022, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

Recording of Session #1 is at: https://youtu.be/yI86Cz-ESlI
Recording of Session #2 is at: https://youtu.be/ojSDml_Cm88
Recording of Session #3 is at: https://youtu.be/GG0jBgy5GmE
Recording of Session #4 is at: https://youtu.be/gjNcguFbAo0


The materials posted in class and the chat from Session 4 are at 22W7 Mishnah Berachot – Google Drive

How should Jews pray?  How can we use our words to reach toward a connection with God?  And what are we supposed to do if we’re late to services?  The ancient sages whose writings are collected in the Mishnah struggled with some of the same concerns we struggle with today.  In this class, we’ll study a selection of juicy passages (in translation) from the first tractate of the Mishnah – Mishnah Berachot (“blessings”) – and other sources that focus on how, when, and why we pray.  We’ll try to unpack the rabbis’ approach to biblical interpretation and legal analysis, as well as the meaning and relevance of their pronouncements for our own efforts to connect with the Divine.

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David Sieradzki has studied Jewish texts at Hadar, Hebrew University, and many informal settings, and has taught at the Jewish Study Center and other venues.  He is a lawyer at a federal regulatory agency and is a member of both Fabrangen and Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Washington, DC.