Back to Stories & Articles

5781: Spiritual Commitments

The High Holy Days season is an opportunity to reflect not only on our relationships with other people, but also on our relationship to Judaism and to God (however you understand it). This is the time to dig deep and ask:

What role do mitzvot play in my life? Is there a ritual practice I can start to observe or a prayer I want to learn? How can I connect more to Torah?

To jumpstart your thinking, we’re offering a few ways to think about your spiritual growth for the coming year. This should be a stretch, but not out of reach, so consider choosing just one or two things that you can really commit to.

Whether you are newer to Jewish ritual or have been practicing your whole life, whether you studied in yeshivah or are just dipping your toe into the world of Jewish education, there’s always more to learn and deepen. All year long, BJ will be offering workshops, resources, and guidance to support this aspect of your Jewish journey, and the clergy are always here to answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Shabbat is the cornerstone of the Jewish calendar and its rhythms. It is a big exhale at the end of a long week, a day to unplug yet reconnect. Shabbat comes every week, a constant in an ever-changing and turbulent world. Which of these practices do you want to add to your Shabbat this year?

• Light the candles on Friday nights.
• Say Havdalah at the conclusion of Shabbat.
• Attend Shabbat services.
• Learn how to say Kiddush and elevate your Friday night dinner with Shabbat blessings.
• Unplug! Turn off your phone from sundown on Friday until nightfall on Saturday.
• Devote time on Shabbat afternoon to singing, Torah study, or meditation.

We are the people of the book! Make that real in your own life this year in a number of ways. Here are some suggested commitments you can take on.

• Take an online class with one of the BJ rabbis.
• Learn to read Hebrew.
• Start a weekly hevruta (study partnership) with a friend.
• Share some Torah learning at your Shabbat meal and discuss. You can use the Toward Shabbat or an online d’var Torah as a starting point.

Jewish prayer is at the heart of our spiritual life, both as individuals and as a community. It is meant to comfort us and to agitate us. It brings us together, be it in person or on Zoom. Make a commitment to show up for prayer in new ways this year.

• Pick one (or more) day a week to be your minyan day and come to our online morning or evening minyan every week.
• Learn how to put on tefillin (ask the BJ rabbis; they’d love to show you!).
• Take one of the prayer boot camp classes BJ will be offering this year.
• Choose one prayer you already know and learn more about it.
• Purchase a siddur (prayer book) to start or add to your Jewish bookshelf.