One should pray 3 times a day in Judaism (or 4 times on Shabbat, depending on what you count as "times"). I've "prayed" 22 times in the past 7 days. I missed last Wednesday evening. But I also was at a minyan (prayer service) yesterday afternoon twice: the usual yeshiva one, and then one for someone who wasn't at the first one, but wanted a minyan to say kaddish (bad but workable definition: prayer said in commemoration of a recent death or death anniversary of a close relative), so several of us who had already prayed stood in for that. As of tomorrow, I will hopefully be able to say that I've really prayed all 22 services in the past week.
And the tefillin. Yes, they're weird. Between that, the tallit ("prayer shawl"), and the kippah (which some people wear all the time, and I might, but for now I've been putting mine on only right before morning services), you're really wearing a lot of awkward clothing for prayer. And it's weird-looking, too. And it's a leather strap awkwardly wrapped between fingers, and tightly (or else it will unravel) around your arm. It's very odd. But it's neat, in ways I can't really understand or describe yet. And it certainly leaves an impression on you for the rest of the morning.
Anyway, in addition to praying 3 times, the usual talmud class, and a couple other classes, I took the first session of Cantor Elizabeth Sacks' prayer leading master class. I am SO EXCITED about this class, you have no idea. All these ideas that I think about a lot but don't actually have any formal training or true knowledge of, like music theory and prayer leading aesthetics and nusach (musical mode and phrasing characteristic to a particular part of a particular prayer service), I can learn tons more about! And get so much better at! From a great teacher! I couldn't stop smiling all evening! Yay!
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