“The act of prayer is more than a process of the mind and a movement of the lips. It is an act that happens between man and God – in the presence of God. Reading or studying the text of a prayer is not the same as praying. What marks the act of prayer is the decision to enter and face the presence of God. To pray means to expose oneself to Him, to His judgment.” Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel


  • Kippah – Head Covering
  • Tallit – The corner fringes on this ritual garment remind the wearer of all the commandments in the Torah.
  • The Spiritual Significance of the Tallit – The commandment to attach fringes to garments was invested with deep theological meaning. This both reflected and shaped a strong emotional attachment to this symbol.
  • Tefillin – Tefillin serve to distinguish Jews as people who keep God’s precepts constantly in mind.
  • The Spiritual Significance of Tefillin – The details of this precept, using powerful symbols of allegiance to divine law and of membership in the Jewish religious community, have been subject to many interpretations.
  • What is Jewish Liturgy? – It’s not just what you do in synagogue.
  • Jewish Prayer Book – Is the siddur a holy text or crib notes for a conversation with God?
  • What is in the Siddur? Shabbat and Holiday Liturgy – This description of the Shabbat and holiday morning service includes most of the elements that appear in weekday services as well.
  • Kavvanah and Intention – The rabbis disagreed as to how important one’s state of mind is with regard to fulfilling the commandments in general and prayer in particular.
  • Preliminary Blessings and Psalms – With introductory blessings and psalms, the creators of the Jewish prayer service created a model that allowed for spiritual preparation prior to the main section of the morning service.
  • The Blessings Around the Shema – The structure of these three blessings reflects both the historical progress from creation to revelation to redemption and the religious conception that each of these “events” is actually a process.
  • The Shema – Three biblical passages work together to create a model for remaining faithful to a belief in God and in God’s unity.
  • The Amidah – Moving from praise to petition to thanksgiving, the Amidah inculcates a sense of connection to God.
  • The Torah Service – The drama of the service draws upon imagery from Israel’s history of wandering in the Sinai wilderness to the worship at the Temple in Jerusalem.



Rabbi Levin is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Munster, IN. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, and is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City for his years of dedicated service to the Conservative movement and the Jewish community...Full bio