Enlivening Prayer with Rabbi Paul J. Citrin

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Prayer can influence our state of mind which then has an effect on our state of body. It’s a portal that connects us with Divine Source and is an intensely personal journey inward as well as an act of conversation with the Presence of the Infinite or what some call God. We wonder then, who is truly hearing our prayers? Also, what constitutes an effective prayer and how we should pray? Living a prayerful/self-aware life can lead to active concern for others. It can help us to move from a primarily secular, materialistic life into a more spiritual one and its rewards can be vast and deep because prayer brings us closer to the Divine both within and without. Rabbi Citrin says, “In Jewish tradition there are three ways that we draw close to the Divine. One is through nature…The second is study of Scripture (the Divine Word) as a way to draw closer to God…and the third is being in community.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 

Bio

Rabbi Paul J. Citrin has served various congregations as a rabbi for over 40 years. He is retired from the pulpit, but continues to teach in synagogues and community centers. 

Paul J Citrin is the author of several books including: 

  • Gates of Repentance for Young People (Paul Abrams, Judith) (CCAR Press 2009)
  • Ten Sheaves: A Collection of Sermons and Articles (2014)
  • Lights In The Forest: Rabbis Respond To 12 Essential Jewish Questions (editor) (CCAR Press 2016)
  • I Am My Prayer: A Memoir and Guide for Jews and Seekers (Resource Publications 2021) 

Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • How Citrin connected his love of Judaism and Jewish culture with working with people
  • Why is it important to add prayer to our regular meditation practice
  • How part of the role of prayer is self-refection and self-evaluation
  • What are the different kinds of prayer
  • Does God really need our prayers
  • How prayer is innate in children
  • What is Rabbi Citrin’s definition of God
  • What is Justine’s definition of God
  • How freedom of choice leads to a life of responsibility
  • What is the metaphor God as a waterfall
  • How the purpose of communal worship is to sustain the impulse to revive ourselves and to help revive others
  • How repeating prayers that have been invoked for thousands of years have power
  • What was Rabbi Citrin’s experience in Jerusalem hearing an Islamic muezzin call to prayer
  • Why it can be a challenge to accept the ever-reforming liturgy of various religions
  • What is the difference between a set prayer and spontaneous prayer in a religious setting
  • What is the prayer for peace from Rabbi Nachman of Breslav (1772)
  • What is important about our Sacred Texts e.g. The Bible, Quran, Buddhist Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, etc.
  • What is the meaning of the Jewish term “Shalom”
  • What is the meaning of the Hebrew translation “Love your neighbor; he is like yourself.”

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 5/20/2021   Program Number: 3732

Music Playlist

From Album:  Ao Outro Lado
Artist: Liza WallaceOpening Essay: Track 01 Ao Outro Lado (Liza Wallace)

Music Break 1: Track 03 Pedacinhos do Céu (Waldir Azevedo)
Music Break 2: Track 06 Cabaceira Mon Amour (Sivuca)
Music Break 3: Track 09 Rosa (Pixinguinha)

(paren = composer)