What is the Jewish Spirituality Initiative?

At Temple Emanu-El's Yom Kippur Services in 2008, Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon delivered a sermon on the lack of spiritual education experienced by most secular Jews.  In his words, "We were never really taught that holiness was something that could be touched, experienced, and made personal.  We never learned how to reach the holiest part of ourselves, the sparks of God that are in each one of us.... Nobody ever insisted that we take the time to find the spiritual center that lives in every one of us."  Inspired by these words, congregants created thr Spirituality Initiative, a new program where any one of us cabn begin to explore our own relationship to God, Judaism, holiness, and prayer, individually and in community.

What is the Spirituality Group?

We are a group of Temple Emanu-El congregants, working with our rabbi to offer participants various alternative paths to connect with God and Judaism.  Along with encouraging deeper presence and participation at our beautiful Shabbat and holiday services, we sponsor many different offerings, listed below, to explore Jewish spiritual expression.  

At our meetings, not only do we create ideas to enhance spirituality, but we also enjoy Jewish spiritual readings as we begin our gathering.  Please contact the Temple office to be part of this group.  All are welcome!  

Spirituality Events

Preparing to Pray: Jewish Meditation

Join us for a 45 minute meditation session preceding Kabbalistic Shabbat services.  Mind-focusing contemplations on Hebrew words and letters, guided visualizations inspired by this week's Torah portion, and kabbalistic candle meditations are just some of the ways we experience the ancient practice of Jewish meditation.  


At "Preparing to Pray", we begin with simple seated stretches to unkink our muscles from the day's activities.  We then focus on our breath.  Having "steadied ourselves", we begin the meditation practice of the evening.  Participants report a sense of calm, centeredness, and as they enter services, a feeling of relaxation, and deeper listening and appreciation for prayer.  


Open to all, beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

Kabbalistic Shabbat


Our unique Kabbalistic Shabbat services are offered in the round, illuminated by hundreds of candles.  The service is infused with readings from the Zohar, as well as poetry and moments of contemplation to welcome Shabbat with inner peace.


Upcoming Dates: 

Fridays at 7:30 pm

2015: October 30, December 18

2016: January 29, April 15

Shabbat Morning of Spirituality Hike with Wandering Jews

The beauty of nature is a place where many people have felt the presence of the Divine.  In Tucson, we can readily take advantage of this connection, surrounded by the majesty of the mountains that surround us.  


This Shabbat morning service will include a hike, the service, and lunch at a westside home in the Tucson Mountains.  Congregants can participate in any or all segments of the morning.  Please pre-register at the Temple office by calling (520) 327-4501.  A small donation will be requested to cover the cost of the lunch.

Shabbat Morning of Spirituality

In this special in-the-round Shabbat service, traditional morning liturgy is combined with niggunim to encourage the heart to join with the mind and soul.  The week's Torah portion is also linked to Jewish meditation and contemplative practices, and our Shabbat morning service prayers are experienced at a much slower pace. 


This Shabbat service gives us time for personal and communal connection to our Judaism and the powerfulTorah portion in profound ways.  In this intimate service, an outdoor component is included, and all participants gather around the Torah as Rabbi chants the portion.  Please, come and participate in this personal and collective connection to the Divine and the deep wellspring found in our Jewish tradition.




Other Spirituality-Related Classes

Zohar: Soul-Text of the Kabbalah and What is Mussar? are just a few of the spirituality-related classes offered through Temple Emanu-El's Adult Education Academy.  Click here for the latest schedule.

If you are wrestling with a belief in God:

You still belong here!  This initiative can highlight ways into meditative practices, mindful ways to appreciate nature, or ways to be present in each moment in and outside of Temple.  

Exploring, Connecting, Meditating:

  • Are you spiritual?
  • What does Jewish spirituality mean to you?
  • Do you seek deeper meaning from the prayers at services?



225 N. Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85716

Phone: 520-327-4501
Fax: 520-327-4504

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