The European Union for Progressive Judaism is pleased to offer a new prayer training course for lay leaders — Baalei Tefillah Europe.
Participants from communities across the continent will receive a year of online training – and participate in an in-person gathering in Brussels in December 2021. The programme will teach how to run religious services in the absence of a rabbi. Baalei Tefillah means Master of Prayer. Graduates will obtain a comprehensive knowledge in both the practical and theoretical aspects of prayer leadership. Among other skills, students will develop a repertoire of music and songs for services, receive tips and ideas for life-cycle events, and develop a sense of cultural heritage. By the conclusion, participants will have become confident in leading Shabbat prayers, both evening and morning, and other skills to lead services for life-cycle events and festivals.
Admission is selective. Applications are due by the end of February.
After completing the course, our graduate lay leaders will participate in a virtual minyan. They will share a safe and sacred online space to practice prayer leadership. The virtual minyan will later be opened up to the wider EUPJ community and help inspire future cohorts.
By compiling notes, recordings, stories, and accumulated knowledge, Baalei Tefillah Europe aims to build educational resources for other communities and students, stirring up greater collaboration, exchange, and bonding between Progressive communities, and strengthening Progressive Judaism in Europe.
The training will be participatory. Students will not just be listening to lectures. They will take turns leading and presenting. They will be given opportunities to practice, receive the tools and the know-how to transform their own ideas into actions, putting their own personal touch into future services and holiday celebrations.
The course will be led and taught by Rabbi Nathan Alfred. A Cambridge University and Leo Baeck College graduate, Rabbi Alfred has spent a decade working for Jewish communities across Europe and Asia, in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Singapore. There will also be a series of guest lectures.
The course will be taught in English.
Please email application and cover letter to
Any questions can be sent to the same address.
The course begins April 11. Classes are two hour sessions conducted online via Zoom. They will take place bi-weekly on Sundays at 3pm CET from April 11 until December 2021. An immersive long-weekend experience will take place 9 – 12 December at Beth Hillel in Brussels.
Fees for this class are €250 for the year. Scholarships can be arranged based on need and availability.
Applications to the project are due by February 28, 2021. Selected applicants will be notified in March. Preferred applicants will be active members of their community, and should have some previous leadership experience.