HOT TOPIC: How can we engage students in meaningful davening experiences?
PREPARING STUDENTS TO CREATE NON-TRADITIONAL EXPERIENTIAL PRAYER SERVICES
In this era of unlimited choices, many Jewish community schools have been trying to engage their Generation Y post-modern students in prayer by offering alternative, non-traditional prayer programs focusing on meditation, yoga, learning, etc. In some cases, the students can choose from the different traditional and alternative prayer services offered, and, in other cases, students rotate between the minyanim in order to expose them to a variety of Jewish spiritual experiences. The hope is to create alternative modes of religious practice that are more personal and relevant for the students.
In addition, some Jewish community schools have chosen to delegate the responsibility of leading the prayer services to their students. In these schools, students function as a shlichei tzibur, leading traditional tefillah services or helping to lead the alternative ones. Student leadership may include the designing and planning of the tefillah service in those cases where alternative methods of prayer are being used. The hope is to inspire the student body and motivate students who see their peers empowered and leading them in prayer.