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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 09:00AM

As a Mormon my 'mental health' days tended to fall on Mondays, especially when I had a calling that required my attendance on Sunday.

It would be so mentally exhausting getting through the three hour block sessions, with little ones in tow. By the time we made it home I felt snockered.

Now, if I feel like I need a day off I give myself permission. There isn't the same guilt with not showing up at church that I used to get as a Mormon.

Still feel the need to fellowship, pray, and worship. Just in an entirely different context and setting, to me. It's still personal, maybe even moreso. I do still go out of a sense of duty to keeping the Sabbath holy. The focus isn't on worshiping a cult leader, his cronies, or forced volunteerism.

I've told people where I worship that I initially went for the prayers (still do.) And stayed for the community. It means the world to me that there is someplace to do both.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 11:34AM

One suspects that you intended your thread title to be read as, "I still need a 'mental health' day from worship services occasionally". If some other pronoun was intended in place of "I", leaving it out was a disservice to your fellow man!

Two notions arise after contemplating your post:

1) I can't play enough golf! The notion that I would awake one morning, stirred by an alarm that was set to give me sufficient time to bathe, dress, eat and then travel to a golf course for a previously arranged game, but then decide, "I'm not going to go because I need a mental health day from golf..." is not just foreign, but so completely alien! So what am I doing wrong!? Because I totally recognize that golf is not necessary for my salvation. Were I to be a believer in a deity, I'd probably try to follow his/her/its/their rules, just as I am a slave to the USGA/R&A Rules of Golf.

This leads inexorably to the second notion,

2) Maybe you're doing it wrong?

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 12:53PM

Jews don't believe in salvation. Or that salvation is necessary for the soul or the hereafter.

I worship because it's where I feel I belong.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 12:58PM

I learned something new today. Jews don't "pray," they "daven."

When Jewish chaplains in hospitals or the military are asked to pray for a non-Jewish person, they are often at odds with that request because it isn't a term they're familiar with as much as Christians are.

They're not all that comfortable communing in prayer one on one with their Creator. Rather, by davening, they recite prayers that are written and passed down generationally.

Our rabbi said today that often doesn't speak to the immediate needs of someone in his congregation, so he has been known to ad lib prayers (er davening,) on his own independent from scripted prayers (davening.)

A term I grew up with is foreign to Judaism. I'm more comfortable with praying than I am with davening. But I'm adapting, and still pray regardless anytime, anywhere. It's who I am, and how I was taught to commune. Neither is wrong or right, per se. Different concepts and approach to worship I suppose.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 02:11PM

Everything I'm reading, as an inquiring Lamanite, is telling me that what you have written about Jews and Jewish chaplains not "praying" may not be accurate.

Do you have a citation, a URL?

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 02:30PM

Just my rabbi.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 02:44PM

I bet he could use a mental health day!

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 02:49PM

He makes his living being a rabbi and an educator. He doesn't seem to mind it at all. He also gets to take vacations and sabbaticals.

So there is that.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2018 02:52PM by Amyjo.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 03:06PM

elderolddog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Everything I'm reading, as an inquiring Lamanite,
> is telling me that what you have written about
> Jews and Jewish chaplains not "praying" may not be
> accurate.
>
> Do you have a citation, a URL?


This is a sort of complicated question that, surprisingly, I do not remember coming up in our conversion to Judaism class.

So far as this board is concerned, Amyjo was specifically referring to Jewish chaplains in the military and in hospitals, positions which carry with them the explicit obligation of these chaplains to serve the religious needs of (presumably) mostly people who are NOT Jews: Christians of all kinds, Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans...whoever.

If you are a chaplain, you meet the needs of THAT person, rather than whatever is true for you in your own personal, and personally religious, life.

It is true that there IS much davening (saying traditional, printed in prayerbooks, blessings and so on) in specifically Jewish prayer--a practice which has its own attractions and strengths, such as an extremely, personally, viscerally, physically "felt" connection with not only all Jews alive now, but all Jews who have ever lived--but there is also a great deal of personal, ad hoc ("talking to God") prayer, too, for theistic Jews.

(Think of Tevye, in "Fiddler on the Roof," as an easily understood example. Tevye is a dramatically scripted characterization of what might be called an average, normal, "universal Jew"--particularly when it comes to the on-going arguing with God which is a continuous thread throughout his daily life, with the dialogue constructed in very typical Jewish thought patterns.)

Jewish kids (including Jewish atheist kids), like all kids throughout human history, are often quite practiced in this kind of personal, "unscripted" prayer prior to them taking tests and examinations they know they have not studied enough for.

For Orthodox and other observant Jews, davening (saying already-composed blessings and other prayers) is on-going throughout any day, but personal prayer (for theists, and also for many non-theists, too) is also occurring.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 03:15PM

Rabbi gave almost his entire sermon today about the difference between prayer and davening.

He felt that for most Jews it's an uncomfortable experience when asked to pray. Many aren't familiar with the concept (according to him.)

Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof did speak a lot with God in his dialogue, didn't he?!

He was speaking about chaplains at first. Then applied it across the board to other Jewish at large. Even at the Wailing Wall he said there's a tendency for men to leave notes in the wall, than to say prayers. Davening is also quite common at the wall; I've seen that in photos.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 03:50PM

I would say it's about 50/50 for Catholics. In church, of course, everything is scripted including the "Our Father" and the "Hail Mary." But Catholics feel free to go unscripted for their own personal prayers. Or they might do a mix.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 03:52PM

Amyjo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Rabbi gave almost his entire sermon today about
> the difference between prayer and davening.


If a Google search is made for: "difference between prayer and davening," the results which come up are authoritative, and are expressed (and understood!--they are written in clear language) MUCH better than I am capable of.

(This is not something I have ever paid any attention to, so my knowledge and understanding of the difference(s) between the two is, to be charitable, "limited." ;)

On reflection, this MIGHT have come up in our conversion class, but it wasn't something important to me, so if it did, I obviously did not pay all that much attention to what was being said.)


> He felt that for most Jews it's an uncomfortable
> experience when asked to pray. Many aren't
> familiar with the concept (according to him.)

If prayer is understood as "talking to God" (in a private, two-way conversation) then I disagree with him.

If, on the other hand, he is talking about saying "out loud," ad hoc, Christian-like prayers with other people present, then I do agree with him--Jews are very unlikely to do this.

From a Jewish standpoint, this kind of out-loud-and-in-public praying would feel like an intrusion into, and a violation of, what ought to be "private space."

If what is being referred to here is akin to the at-that-moment, public, spoken out loud, many-sentenced or many-paragraphed prayers which are common in many Christian denominations, then yes, Jews do not do this--and in a Jewish setting, at a Jewish service of some kind, I myself would be extremely uncomfortable if this occurred, and I think most Jews would concur.


> Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof did speak a lot with
> God in his dialogue, didn't he?!

Yes--and Tevye WAS created to be a kind of "universal Jew" figure, not only characteristic of Jewish life in Eastern Europe during that turn-into-the-twentieth-century period, but of Jews generally (minus the Eastern European-centric peculiarities).


> Even at the Wailing Wall he said there's a
> tendency for men to leave notes in the wall, than
> to say prayers.

From my perspective: Of course! Those notes are notes directed specifically to whatever that person understands as God. They are LITERALLY extremely personal letters to God--and it is no one else's business what those letters say. I cannot even imagine anyone saying whatever is in those letters out loud, it is (to me) unimaginable.

P.S. Women also leave letters in the Wall, and then they daven, too. :)

P.P.S. Women of the Wall (a "multi-denominational feminist organization," based in Israel but with a worldwide membership) is working to obtain full religious rights for women at the Wall, which means rights equal to those rights already in place for Jewish (and non-Jewish, too!) males.

In other words: ANY NON-Jewish male has FAR more taken-for-granted rights at the Wall than does ANY Jewish female.

[Google: Women of the Wall, for further information. This is still an on-going struggle for female equal rights.]



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2018 04:09PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 04:41PM

Thanks Tevai,

I miss the rabbi who retired and moved to Israel. This one is considered a master by some. I would take the other one back in a heartbeat if we could. He was ready to make Aliyah.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 20, 2018 04:20PM

The statements were "Jews don't pray, they daven" and then, "They're not all that comfortable communing in prayer one one one with their Creator..." The source for this was one nameless rabbi.

My only connection with my Jewish cousins is through literature and I find myself in conflict with the rabbi, assuming you've accurately interpreted him to us.

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