Open My Heart

Living Jewish Prayer: A Podcast from IJS

Welcome to Open My Heart: Living Jewish Prayer. Each Monday and Friday, a different teacher will offer a new short prayer-practice, inviting you to join them. From one episode to the next, the practice, and the voices will be different. No one presenter, and no one prayer, will necessarily work for everyone. But our hope (and expectation) is that over time, joining in these prayers will lead you to find your own authentic and meaningful prayer practice and open your heart to prayer.

Listen to our most recent episode below, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Meet your host, Rabbi Jonathan Slater, Senior Program Director. Rabbi Slater has worked with IJS since 2002, having participated in the first rabbinic cohort. He is a co-director of the Clergy Leadership Program, and serves in multiple programs throughout the organization. Rabbi Slater was ordained by JTS and served congregations in northern California for over twenty years.

Meet your host, Rabbi Jonathan Slater, Senior Program Director. Rabbi Slater has worked with IJS since 2002, having participated in the first rabbinic cohort. He is a co-director of the Clergy Leadership Program, and serves in multiple programs throughout the organization. Rabbi Slater was ordained by JTS and served congregations in northern California for over twenty years.

Priestly Blessing: Lovingkindness Prayer

Episode 13: Priestly Blessing: Lovingkindness Prayer

How do we prepare our hearts to pray? What conditions our souls to know what is important? Rabbi Amy Eilberg has used the mindfulness meditation practice of metta, or lovingkindness, for this purpose. The phrases she employs to settle and orient her heart are those of the Priestly blessing (Num. 6:2-26). Join her in this prayer practice for the sake of your own heart, and the good of all others.
Read the episode transcript

Prayer as a Hug

Episode 12: Prayer as a Hug The spring and summer of 2020 have been tumultuous, burdened by isolation and confusion during the pandemic, by fear and anger at systemic racism, uncertainty about the future in the run-up to an election. Hazzan Sabrina Sojourner invites...

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Etz Hayyim Hi — Praying With A Tree

Episode 11: Etz Hayyim Hi -- Praying With A TreeThe biblical book of Proverbs refers to the Torah as a "Tree of Life" and we sing those words when we return the Torah to the Ark after reading from it. But, what does that really mean? Maor Greene asks just this...

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Embodied Awakening Prayer

Episode 10: Embodied Awakening Prayer The traditional Jewish morning service begins with blessings acknowledging the workings of the body. But, sometimes we need to wake up more fully even before engaging in liturgical prayer. Rabbi Myriam Klotz leads us through her...

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Embodied Chant to Open the Heart

Episode 9: Embodied Chant to Open the Heart Many people approach prayer as an intellectual endeavor: I read the prayers and they say something, perhaps even what I mean. Others sense that prayer comes from the heart: when in community the sense of belonging and the...

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Turn Your Torah into Tefillah

Episode 8: Turn Your Torah into Tefillah Rebbe Nachman sought to use every possible methodology available to him to help people connect with their truest selves and to the Divine. One such practice was turning one's Torah Study into Tefilah (prayer). Rabbi David Jaffe...

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Praying All Three Paragraphs of the Shema

Episode 7: Praying All Three Paragraphs of the Shema In many liturgically grounded communities, it is often only the first and last paragraphs of the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9; Num.15:37-41) that are recited as a community. But, what about the middle paragraph (Deut....

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