Aviva Chernick and Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, January 3 – 29, 2021

So many of us struggle with the language of Jewish prayer – Hebrew. Even if we feel comfortable with liturgical Hebrew, we may still feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of words that characterizes Jewish prayer. Then there’s the issue of holding back our free expression for fear of judgment or ridicule. In an effort to decode the prayers’ meanings, “get it all done,” and avoid shame, we may get stuck in the mind, losing our authentic connection to the heart, the body, and our spiritual core.

The practice of niggun (wordless chant) can reawaken that connection and provide us with a strong base of prayerful energy, intention, and presence to call upon as a companion – or alternative – to traditional Jewish prayer.

During this four-week practice intensive, we will practice foundational mindfulness skills that support authentic and free expression of prayerful voice.  These include breath awareness, sensing emotions in the body, attending to the embodied elements of sound and prayer speech, and noticing habitual mental tendencies that inhibit authentic expression.

Though we do introduce a small canon of niggunim to explore, we will build our mindful prayer skills through a deep encounter with wordless chant of a single niggun, unveiling its parts and layers from week to week. In modules 3-4 we add prayerful words to our chant practice, exploring the ways in which the language and poetry of prayer might elicit subtle sacred feelings (e.g. awe, joy, delight, wonder) and open a channel for authentic and heartfelt prayerful expression. Study of key Hasidic teachings will support our work of liberating our authentic voice.

Each week, you’ll receive a video teaching, along with a written lesson supported by Hasidic texts, poems, music, and more. You’ll also get daily email reminders to practice, as well as prompts to post in community forums to share your experiences, questions, and reflections.  And you’ll have your own online journal where you can post your reflections.

As part of the course, you will be able to select a practice partner to support your regular practice, exploration and growth.   

For this Prayer Project module, participants must have significant, prior practice in mindfulness meditation. It is not suitable for complete beginners to mindfulness meditation. Questions? Contact prayerproject@jewishspirituality.org

Course Overview

This 30-day prayer intensive is designed to help you focus on cultivating a specific modality of prayer practice. Each Sunday, you will receive an email with a half-hour video teaching, recorded by Aviva Chernick and Rabbi Sam Feinsmith. These video teachings accompany a written lesson, which may include links to Jewish texts, secular writings, poems, music, videos, and other references to supplement your learning. You can choose the best time in your schedule to watch the half-hour video teaching and read the written lesson, as well as to log onto the community forums to post your questions and reflections. Throughout the week, you will receive daily emails, which will encourage you to keep up with your own internal work with twenty to thirty minutes of daily practice.

As an optional supplement to the course, you may also choose to participate in a weekly processing group with your instructor, on Thursdays from 8-9pm ET. This group is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for an additional fee of $75. It offers the opportunity to engage with your teacher and other participants in a “live” environment, using Zoom video conferencing technology.


Month-Long Prayer Intensive: $100
Month-Long Prayer Intensive PLUS Weekly Live Processing Group: $175

The live processing group is limited to 35 participants.
Once sold out, this group will no longer be available!


Prayer Intensive Plus Weekly Processing Group

Thursdays, 8-9pm ET
  • 4 video teachings and written lessons
  • Additional resources such as Jewish texts, secular writings, poems, music, and videos
  • Daily emails with inspirational quotes
  • Practice partners
  • Discussion forums with practice groups
  • Dedicated online journal
  • + Weekly Live Processing Group using Zoom