A number of years ago, I attended a silent vigil in White Plains against the death penalty. Ossie Davis was still alive, and I remember how eloquently he spoke just before everyone took their place along the sidewalk, standing in a silent protest. I didn’t join the line right away, but rather stood with a few other clergy off to the side, quietly sharing thoughts on the issue as it is understood by our various religious traditions.
After about 15 minutes of this, I remember whispering in jest to my new-found friends: “You know you’re making me feel very comfortable. Because to a Jew 'silent' means just speaking a little more quietly than usual!"
It’s an old joke. But the truth is that in Jewish tradition the prayer service was long preceded by an hour of silent meditation—and followed thereafter by another hour of silent meditation!
Today Jews in Westchester and beyond, across the denominational spectrum, are relearning this tradition. A recent article in Tablet Magazine focused on the phenomenon, and the path of a Brooklyn Jew to meditate. If a Brooklyn Jew can learn to meditate, anyone can!
Your reflections are welcome. Please LEAVE A COMMENT below. You can find my weekly blogpost (and meditation archive) on Patch easily anytime. Just click Local Voices on your Patch home page and SEARCH LOCAL VOICES.
Rabbi Mark Sameth is the spiritual leader of Joyful Judaism: Pleasantville Community Synagogue an inclusive, progressive synagogue—with members from 20 towns, villages and cities all across Westchester and “A Hebrew School Your Kids Can Love.” Read The New York Times article. Follow Rabbi Mark on Twitter . Weekly meditation at the synagogue every Saturday morning at 9 am is open to the public; everyone—without exception—is welcome and warmly invited. OUR MEMBERSHIP DRIVE IS ON. See “Top Ten Reasons to Join PCS” at www.ShalomPCS.com.