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This Year’s Prayer

January 10, 2015

[By Edie Weinstein, The Bliss Blog, Beliefnet.com]

I have long believed that prayer is portable. It is too expansive to be uttered only in an edifice such as a church, synagogue, temple, mosque or oak grove. It is not limited to one language or ritual; neither is one religion’s form ‘better’ or more powerful than any other, despite the contention of those who hold fundamentalist beliefs. The only thing that can contain it is the heart of the one who embraces it. Having grown up in the Jewish religion, prayer was a daily occurrence. At bedtime, we always said the shema which is what I call the ‘signature prayer’ in Judaism.  ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echad’, which translates to ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our God, The Lord is One.’ I first heard my favorite translation from Rabbi Rami Shapiro when I attended a Reconstructionist synagogue in Florida called Beth Or.  It resonated with my own awareness of the Divine: ‘That which we call God is Oneness Itself.’ Even when my parents went out for the evening, and a babysitter of a different faith stayed with my sister and me, she would tuck us each in and we would recite the prayer. To this day, it is what I say before I close my eyes for the night. It provides familiar comfort.
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