Curriculum Resources for Teaching Prayer תפילה
Dr. Stefan Reif (Project Consultant of the Genizah Research Unit at the Cambridge University Library, England) authored an Early History of Jewish Worship using evidence of the Cairo Genizah to shape our understanding of the development of the siddur.
The Open Siddur Project, an open source, collaborative, online tool to create and share prayer resources, has an Historical Map of Jewish Liturgical Diversity. This colorful graphic shows the evolution of prayer traditions from biblical times to the current American denominational streams, including the varieties of nusach Ashkenaz and Sefarad.
Liturgica provides a history of Jewish sacred music dating back to Temple times.
Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise’s controversial 19th c. prayerbook Minhag Amerika made major changes in the Hebrew liturgy that would create lasting effects in both Reform and Conservative Judaism, laying the groundwork for the Reconstructionist movement of the 20th c.
Understanding the Words, Structure, and Development of the Siddur — at the Beurei hatefila Institute. This site offers articles on the history of prayer, e-books/teachers’ guides, and other useful resources.
The Beurei Hatefila Institute offers wonderful resources to teachers and students of prayer. While the website is messy to navigate, finding excellent articles and class handouts makes it worth the effort
Build A Prayer invites you to create your own prayer service online. It also offers links to books on prayer, as well as articles from
An Invitation to Piyut is another database of hundreds of songs. One link offers more than 30 recordings to ידיד נפש alone!
Dr. Saul Wachs of Gratz College has written widely about successful prayer education in Jewish schools. A recent article of his in HaYidion challenges us to teach for both keva and kavannah. See “Jewish Day Schools as Incubators of Kavannah” (pp. 28ff).
The Lookstein Center has an extensive list of resources on teaching תפילה, including lesson plans and adaptable siddurim, in Educational Resources for Jewish Prayer/Tefillah.
Nusach Resources offers mp3s of liturgy from many different Jewish traditions, including: Iraqi; Moroccan; Amsterdam; and many others.
Tefillah is the topic of the March 2013 edition of the RAVSAK journal HaYidion. The journal is available for download in PDF format.
Zemirot Database has a searchable list of תפילות and זמירות, along with recordings and lyrics.
Who am I?
Where is God?
What is the purpose of life?
These are some of the most fundamental questions humans ask. Even at an early age, children begin to search for meaning in their lives. By the time they become adolescents, the search takes on new urgency as teens struggle with identity formation and finding their place in the world.
Teachers have a valuable role to play as spiritual coaches, guiding children on their journeys of discovery. Unfortunately, too often we are ill-equipped for this role. Perhaps we are uncomfortable with our own theological positions to engage in meaningful discussion with children. Perhaps we feel the stress of curriculum, with its emphasis on teaching the mechanics of prayer. Of course, there is never enough time, is there?
Rabbi Michael Shire of the Leo Baeck College, London, makes an excellent case for allocating class time to lessons that develop students’ spiritual natures. In “Nurturing the Spiritual in Jewish Education,” he identifies and develops three phases of curriculum design: encounter, reflection and instruction. In this way, teachers can feel satisfied that they are teaching to both the keva and kavannah as they teach students about this most fundamental element of Judaism: prayer.
American Cantorate. A collection of interviews, historical documents and singing samples from Wesleyan University’s History of the American Cantorate project.
Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism, Rabbi Jeff Roth’s site devoted to Jewish meditation, offers articles and podcasts to newbies and veterans.
Creating Community through Minyan: Havurot in Jewish Day Schools — This edition of the JTP Newsletter focuses on why and how to create a havurah for high school students within a Jewish day school’s minyan program.
DavenSpot, Marc Rosenberg’s blog about prayer. Topics in December included, “Who Has the Strength to Pray?” and “The Purpose of Prayer?”