Though we don’t always acknowledge it, our religious rituals have powerful effects on our bodies in addition to our mind and spirit. Through moving, singing and doing other rituals in unison, we find often find a unique warmth and peace within ourselves. Many synagogues offer a wealth of these experiences throughout the year, with cultural Judaism combining and religious Judaism combining forces to give people joy and wisdom. How does Judaism – and Jewish culture – help give us more laughter, rest, and help us pay attention?

This presentation was adapted from a longer discussion session with members of the congregation, which you can view here.

(This post is part of Sinai and Synapses’ project Scientists in Synagogues, a grass-roots program to offer Jews opportunities to explore the most interesting and pressing questions surrounding Judaism and science. As part of the program, Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in Mahwah, NJ has been holding a series titled “The Science of Tsuris: The Polyvagal Theory and How Judaism Responds to our Biological Imperative to Connect.” This talk was adapted from a session recorded on March 7, 2021).

Photo by Flavio Grynszpan

 

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