Jewish Community Center

Opening Doors to Spirituality, Social Consciousness, and Community A Friendly Egalitarian Conservative Congregation

Shabbat Vayikra

Shabbat HaChodesh

1st Torah  Lev. 1:1-5:26      2nd Torah   Numbers 28:9-15    3rd Torah Exodus 12:1-20
Candle Lighting time 6:48 p.m.

Our ancestors sought to draw close to God through the animal sacrifices offered up first in the portable Tabernacle and then in the Temple in Jerusalem.  In fact the Hebrew word for sacrifice is korbon and its root meaning is “to draw close”.  Today we worship God through prayer.  In honor of parashat Vayikra which describes in detail many of the sacrifices the Israelites offered up, I will post a selection from the book Making Prayer Real by Rabbi Mike Commins.


Prayer as Spiritual Practice

We end this chapter by restating the premise of this book.  Prayer comes alive when we take responsibility for our own inner lives. I would suggest that we need to reconceive prayer as not about addressing the Divine Being with praise and requests.  Rather, we should see prayer and the time set aside for prayer as time devoted to our spiritual work.  It is time for reflection, a precious gift to ourselves amidst our busy lives.  The liturgy should remind us:


1. There is something larger than ourselves in the universe – what many of us call God.  It is an important perspective that also reminds us that we are not alone.

2. It should be a time to reflect on the spiritual issues in our lives.  To think about how to improve ethical qualities to be more like the person I deeply desire to be.

3. It is an opportunity to express gratitude for the blessings in our lives – most of all the blessings of life itself.

This is in fact a reconstruction of the traditional forms of rabbinic prayer: shevah (praise), bakasha (request), hoda’ah (thanks). Reframing bakasha as focusing on spiritual growth rather than asking God for things is a critical redefining of prayer.      Rabbi Michael Strassfeld


One reason prayer is difficult is because we don’t know what we’re doing.  I’m not talking about Siddur literacy or synagogue skills.  Most of us are unfamiliar with our own internal dynamics as pray-ers.  One way to understand prayer is that it is a transformation of consciousness.  So we need to ask ourselves, “where are we starting from?  Where are we trying to go?  What are the prayer strategies or practices that we know from experience are likely to take us there? Prayer needs to be understood as a spiritual practice just as we might understand the practice of meditation or yoga.  But in order to do this, we need to know what we’re practicing toward, what we’re practicing for. We need patience, determination, and faith in the practice.  And we need to know if, over time, we’re making any progress.


Rabbi Nancy Flam


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Greene


Prayer Times

Friday night 7:00 p.m.
Shabbat 9:30 a.m.
Mon. & Thurs postponed for time being
Sun. - Thurs postponed for time being


Save the Date!

March 25th 7:00 p.m.  Sisterhood's Rosh Hodesh celebration in honor of Passover: 50 Shades of Matzah.


The Second Seder at Marathon JCC


As of today, we shall be holding the second seder led by Cantor Heyman here at MarathonSaturday night April 4th, 7:00 p.m.  The absolute deadline to sign up for the seder will be Wednesday, March 25th.  The cost of the seder is $50.00 per adult and $26.00 per child.  Your check is your reservation.  No exceptions since we have to order the food.



Missed a weekly message? Visit the Rabbi's Archives here