Thursday, July 31, 2008

Praying With Your Body?

I was thinking today about the was in which some religions incorporate movement into their worship. This could be pronounced (e.g. whirling dervishes) or more subtle (e.g. crossing oneself before prayer). Here are some of the ways our synagogue incorporates motion into our service:

1. During a part of the service called the Bar'chu (call to prayer) we bow when the word "Bar’chu" or "Baruch" is spoken because the word for blessed has the same root as bow or bend.

2. During one of the hymns, it is our tradition to join hands and dance in a circle around the perimeter of the sanctuary. (This is pretty unusual for a reform congregation. One typically only sees this sort of dancing in an Orthodox synagogue. We are an odd mix of very liberal and very observant.)

3. Before the Torah is undressed and read, it is brought out of the ark and carried through the congregation. We either touch it with our hand our prayer book, and then kiss our hand our prayer book as a sign of respect for God's word.

What are ways that you incorporate motion into your worship?

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