Tefillah & Spiritual Life
At Barrack, all students have opportunities for skill building and spiritual reflection during Shaharit. There are robust Shaharit groups meeting on Mondays and Thursdays (Torah reading days) that match different students' backgrounds and interests in Reform, Conservative-egalitarian and Orthodox-mehitza (separate seating) services. To keep our Shaharit services intimate and to provide as many opportunities as possible for participation, middle school students are grouped by grade in the Conservative-egalitarian services.
While middle school students participate in formal liturgical groups on Mondays and Thursdays all year, once upper school students have fulfilled a requirement that they participate in a formal liturgical Shaharit group, they are permitted to join a learning group that engages students in informal learning about other topics ranging from Jewish philosophy to Jewish music and significant moral and ethical issues; some students also choose meditation, spiritual sketching, a nature walk and other spiritual practices.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, all middle school students participate in groups that meet for a trimester and that teach a range of skills,including how to make Shabbat at home; how to put on tallit and tefillin; how to lead weekday and Shabbat services; and how to prepare and give a brief talk about the Torah reading. Multi-grade Conservative-egalitarian and Orthodox-mehitza (separate seating) services are open to all and also meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Upper school students may join those groups on a voluntary drop-in basis if they wish.
On Fridays, the relatively brief day requires that we hold Shaharit services before classes begin at 7:45 AM and a lively Orthodox multi-grade minyan meets in the dining commons with an oneg - refreshments provided by teachers and parents.
In all of our services, we take pride that students lead, read from the Torah and give talks about the weekly Torah reading. Our student leadership corps from the 12th grade Jewish Leadership Initiative group serve as role models, working together with their adult supervisors and making connections with younger students and encouraging spirited prayer and participation.
The mission of the Barrack Shaharit program is to provide our students with opportunities to develop the skills and the knowledge to appreciate a wide range of spiritual expression in Jewish tradition so that they can participate and lead formal services and in informal activities as they enter adulthood.