Reconstructionist Judaism sees Judaism as the evolving civilization of the Jewish people, and as a Reconstructionist congregation, we thus honor the past while working to integrate it, with relevance, into the present.
In the ancient days of the great Temple, people brought offerings. These offerings, known as Korbanot, were intended to help people draw nearer to their Source. With the destruction of the Temple, physical offerings were transformed into offerings of words (which became the written prayers we find in our siddurim-prayer books) and offerings of the heart.
Art Green calls prayer “the living heart of Jewish faith, the daily outpouring of the soul before God.” Judaism has always tried to strike the proper balance between the fixed, prescribed prayers of our siddurim, (keva) on the one hand, and the spontaneous, creative, heart-centered prayer, on the other (kavanah).
As a Reconstructionist congregation, at Temple Emek Shalom, we thus give people different outlets to gather together and express prayer. On Friday evenings we gather for a variety of styles of services, including Shabbat Table Blessings, Shabbat Shirah, and Eat, Pray, Sing and Tot Shabbat family services (see “Shabbat Services” for details). On Shabbat mornings our community gathers for Torah service beginning at 10:00am, preceded by Torah Study at 9:00 AM.
Every Wednesday morning from 8:00-8:45am we offer a morning meditation. (See “Meditation” section for more information). We also gather for holiday services and celebrations – stretching from the Days of Awe in the Fall all around the calendar to Tisha B’Av in mid to late summer. There are various services throughout the year on selected dates, so keep your eyes on our calendar to be kept up-to-date on TES prayer services and gatherings.
In addition to these above-mentioned services we co-offer some weekday services with other congregations in the community, including: Tuesday morning Shacharit and Thursday evening Maariv Services. Our hope for these services is to grow a minyan where members of our larger Rogue Valley Jewish Community have a place to connect and say kaddish. We likewise co-offer some holiday services throughout the year including Shabbat Shuvah, one evening of Sukkot, Yom HaShoah, and Tisha b’Av.
As we as a Jewish people evolve, extending and expanding our notion of prayer, we could say that our social action work is also an example of prayer. When Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with Martin Luther King on Shabbat in Selma, he famously said that his “feet are praying.” Please look to our “Social Justice” section for more details.
With offering a range of services and approaches we hope to provide a Mishkan, a sacred space that becomes a spiritual home for everyone. Please join us for prayer in all of its manifestations.