Jewish Prayer

Spertus College of Judaica

618 S. Michigan Avenue

Chicago, Illinois

Summer, 1985

RL 296 - Introduction to Jewish Prayer

Course Syllabus

Professor Tzvee Zahavy


J.H. Hertz, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, Bloch

J. Petuchowski, Understanding Jewish Prayer, KTAV

L. A. Hoffman, The Canonization of the Synagogue Service, Notre Dame

Supplementary: H. H. Donin, To Pray as a Jew, Basic Books

Additional readings listed will be available for photocopying and on reserve in the library.

The course will focus on the origins and early development of Jewish liturgy through a study of the texts of the major prayers and an analysis of the secondary sources regarding prayer in classical rabbinic literature.

Selections from Daily, High Holiday and Festival prayers will be examined.


Monday, July 22:

Introduction to the modern study of Jewish liturgy. Methods of scholarship, theological positions, interdisciplinary approaches.

Suggested further readings:

Tzvee Zahavy, "A New Approach to Early Jewish Prayer."

Richard Sarason, "The Modern Study of Jewish Liturgy."

Tuesday, July 23:

The theology of Jewish prayer. Service of the heart and Kavvanah. The relationship of man to God through prayer.


The Shema`

Jacob Petuchowski, UJP, pp. 3-111

R. Sarason, "Religion and Worship: The Case of Judaism."

T. Zahavy, "Prayer, Consciousness and Kavvanah."

Wednesday, July 24:

The synagogue and prayer.


The Weekday Amidah

Jacob Petuchowski, UJP, pp. 138-163

Tzvee Zahavy, "The Synagogue and the Rabbis."

_____, "Ancient Synagogues Explored: A Videotape."

L. Levine, "Ancient Synagogues: A Historical Introduction."

Thursday, July 25:

The origins and early history of the service.

The structure and meaning of Kinot for Tisha B'Av.


The New Year and Festival Services, The Hallel

Tzvee Zahavy, "Sources of the Seasonal Ritual."

Monday, July 29:

The origins of the prayerbook. The development of prayer in the time of the geonim.


L. Hoffman, pp. 1-126, 160-171

Tuesday, July 30:

The rabbinic laws of prayer in Tractate Berakhot.


Mishnah Tractate Berakhot

Birkat HaMazon, other blessings

Wednesday, July 31:


Thursday, August 1:

The major modes of Jewish Worship. Contemporary issues; women and prayer; prayer and community.


Jacob Petuchowski, UJP, pp. 112-137

Final Examination

Thursday, August 1, 11:00-12:30 -- three out of five essay questions, open book.

Alternate requirement: Students may write a term paper of approximately ten pages in place of the final exam. Paper proposals must be approved by Thurdsday, July 25th. Paper must be typed, double spaced.

Grades: Letter grade or pass/fail. No Incompletes because instructor is a visitor from out of town.

Appointments: The instructor will be available for consultation before and after class by appointment.

A Brief Bibliograpy on Jewish Prayer

H. H. Donin, To Pray as a Jew, Basic Books

R. Fredman, The Passover Seder, New York, 1983

E. Garfiel, Service of the Heart, New Jersey, 1958

J. Heinemann, Prayer in the Talmud, Berlin, 1977

J.H. Hertz, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, Bloch

E. Hoffman, The Way of Splendor, London, 1981

L. A. Hoffman, The Canonization of the Synagogue Service, Notre Dame

A.Z. Idelsohn, Jewish Liturgy and its Development, New York, 1972

H.-J. Kraus, Worship in Israel, Richmond, 1966

L. Levine, ed., Ancient Synagogues Revealed, Jerusalem, 1981

F. Heiler, Prayer, New York, 1958

I. Levy, The Synagogue, London, 1963

A. Millgram, Jewish Worship, Philadelphia, 1975

J. Neusner, ed., The Study of Ancient Judaism, I, New York, 1981

J. Neusner, ed., Take Judaism, For Example, Chicago, 1983

J. Petuchowski, Understanding Jewish Prayer, KTAV

Posner, Kaplan, Cohen, eds., Jewish Liturgy, Jerusalem, 1975

H. Shanks, Judaism in Stone, New York, 1979

E. Underhill, Worship, New York, 1957

E. Werner, The Sacred Bridge, New York, 1970


I. Elbogen, The Historical Development of Jewish Prayer, Tel Aviv, 1972

E.D. Goldschmidt, On Jewish Liturgy, Jerusalem, 1979

_____, ed., Seder R. Amram, Jerusalem, 1971

Y. Heinemann, Studies in Jewish Liturgy, Jerusalem, 1981

J. Naveh, A Jewish Epigraphy Reader, Jerusalem, 1981

J. Naveh, On Stone and Mosaic, Tel Aviv, 1978