Prayer – Overview

“Prayer is like an established residence for the innermost self. All things have a home: the bird has a nest, the fox has a hole, the bee has a hive. For the soul, home is where prayer is.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel, “On Prayer”

Jews pray in order to enrich our lives, seek comfort, connect to the past, connect with others, celebrate, develop a sense of the sacred, and to serve God. Heschel, one of our time’s most respected theologians, reminds us, though, that “ultimately, prayer must not be experienced as an act for the sake of something else. We pray in order to pray.”

Prayer at KBI is traditionally led by our Cantor (and monthly on Shabbat, and on the High Holy Days, with our adult and youth choirs); and by talented congregational sh’lichei tzibbur (prayer leaders, or literally, representatives of the community). We use modern, egalitarian siddurim and machzorim (prayer books).

We are proud to host twice-daily minyanim (quorum of 10 Jews) every day of the week, led by volunteers and our clergy. Our weekday services take place in the intimacy and comfort of our daily chapel, and Shabbat and Holy Day services in our spacious, majestic main sanctuary. We provide prayer wear (kippot, tallitot, t’filin – head-coverings, prayer shawls, phylacteries) for those who don’t have their own, and encourage and support all who are new to those mitzvot (commandments).

During the pandemic, we hold physically-distanced in-person services as well as a range of virtual prayer services, both live and pre-recorded (see www.kehillatbethisrael.com/virtual).

We are fully egalitarian, welcoming of all people and families, accessible to those differently-abled, enthusiastic of children in our minyanim, passionate about a meaningful prayer experience for a diverse community of participants, and supportive of those learning to pray. Our clergy exude a warmth to each other and to our community members, and a love of teaching, including prayer.

All of this tends to make KBI’s prayer feel like home for the soul. We warmly welcome you to join us in prayer.