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Making Sense and Spirituality from Jewish Prayer: The SWF Learner's Minyan

Updated: Jan 9

Announcing the New Mexico Learner's Minyan (NMLM): Making Sense and Spirituality from Jewish Prayer 


From the Teacher, Rabbi Dov Gartenberg 

Starting Sunday, 1/7/24, ABQ 


I have been a teacher of Jewish prayer and of the Hebrew liturgy throughout my rabbinic career.   I helped to revitalize a congregation in Venice, California with a “Learner’s Minyan” that reintroduced Jewish prayer to a struggling congregation. The minyan inspired many people from the congregation and newcomers to explore traditional Jewish prayer. A new generation rediscovered the beauty and meaning of Jewish prayer. A Learners’ Minyan is a great vehicle for exploring Jewish prayer and spirituality and exploring searching questions of belief and doubt.  


The SWF Learner’s Minyan is a unique adult learning experience that enables participants to explore the world of Jewish prayer, spirituality, and to wrestle with views of God using Jewish approaches. The Learners’ Minyan is a specially designed Jewish worship service that is known in Hebrew as a minyan. (a quorum of 10 adult Jews needed to hold communal worship). The Learners’ Minyan offers an authentic experience of Jewish prayer, punctuated by participant questions, commentary, and insights into the language, rituals, and postures of traditional Jewish prayer. Here are the features of this special program.  


  1. Special Format: Unlike regular worship in synagogues, this specially formatted service allows for questions and commentary.  

  1. Who is This For? For people ranging from those with familiarity with Jewish prayer to folks who have never walked into a synagogue. This is great for persons studying to convert to Judaism who seek basic tools on how to participate in Jewish life. This mix is ideal for eliciting great questions and serious exploration.   

  1. Meets on Sunday Instead of Shabbat. We’ll explore the weekday service as a way to learn about the prayers done on Shabbat. No matter what community you come from, you’ll bring insights back to the service you usually attend.  The content is designed to make Jewish worship of any denomination accessible and understandable.  

  1. Stimulating Spiritually and Intellectually: Whether you are an atheist, a monotheist, or an agnostic this unique learning experience stimulates an exploration of Jewish religious ideas comparing parallel concepts in Christianity, Islam, Eastern religions, and secular philosophies.  


The New Mexico Learners’ Minyan is a pilot program. We will start with two Sunday sessions per month from 9:30-10:30am MST. Dates: 1/7, 1/21, 2/4, 2/11, 3/3, 3/17. The minyan can extend beyond these dates based on the input of participants.  


The 6 Learners’ minyan sessions are free and open to the community. The sessions are available online, especially for folks from other NM communities. The minyan will meet in Rabbi Gartenberg’s home in the North Campus neighborhood of Albuquerque near UNM. Registrants will need to acquire a prayerbook and a companion commentary which is indicated at registration. Registration for the Learner’s Minyan is open through 1/19/24.  

Questions: Email or call 505 582-9577.


Shabbat Shalom,  

Rabbi Dov Gartenberg 

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