Portland Jewish Academy is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and is proud of our partnership with them in strengthening our local Jewish community as well as the global community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning

Amy Katz

One of my favorite parts of the PJA week before Covid was Monday mornings. Every Monday at 8:00 am our entire middle school community of students and teachers gathered together for tefilah before the work of learning, teaching, classes, homework, sports practice and other stresses of the week could take hold. At 8:30 am the fourth and fifth grade communities gathered to do the same. As Director of Jewish Life, I was fortunate to be a part of both groups, and it was truly a lovely way to begin my week. 

 A few weeks into our initial foray into online learning last spring several teachers remarked to me how they missed beginning their week with tefilah. I discussed this with Kim, our music specialist extraordinaire, and a new PJA service was born. We call it Monday morning optional Tefilah with Kim and Amy. Every Monday that we are in school all faculty and middle school students are invited to begin their day early with some sacred time in sacred community. 

On Monday mornings at 8:30 am a group of us logs onto Zoom to sing, breathe, pray, catch up, laugh and share stories of hope and resilience together. Like any good sacred, prayer community we have our regulars who we can count on to show up each and every week, people who enjoy popping in when they can, and those who join us when they are in need of a little extra inspiration or comfort. Like any good sacred prayer community our numbers increase when our community faces bigger challenges --wildfires, election uncertainty, protests in our city, a breached capitol--to name a few. Just as I did in pre-covid times, I find myself looking forward to Monday mornings, blessed to be a part of this community.

In our Jewish tradition it is required that a group of at least 10 adults, a minyan, be present in order to recite certain prayers. This is to ensure that we always remember that prayer and community are intersected, that our prayers mean more when there are others around to hear them, that as Jews we derive comfort and inspiration through praying in community. There are times when our Monday morning sessions have less than ten adults present, but we always have enough people to feel our sense of community. In these times, when all of us often experience stress in our week that feels heavier than the stress we felt before Covid, it is even more powerful to start our week together in sacred space, for thirty minutes putting our stress aside, and finding strength, comfort and inspiration in our prayers, in one another, and in our sacred PJA community. 
 

Spotlight on ...

Mindful Movements, Mindful Moments

With the understanding that students have a bit less flexibility to move around the classroom and teachers have fewer opportunities to provide spontaneous outside recess, PJA’s Health and Wellness Educator, Blair Borax, wanted to fill the need for brief in-class movement breaks. 

Read More about Mindful Movements, Mindful Moments