Saturday, December 15, 2018 -
Print Edition

The Shema: What it means to me

The Shema artistically imagined by Baruch Nachshon, Hebrew words. That’s all it takes to define the essence of Judaism: the unity of G-d and the unity of the Jewish people.

“Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is one.” (Deut. 6:4)

The Shema — the Jewish daily declaration of faith. It is probably the most well known and pivotal Jewish prayer because it communicates to us, and to the world, Judaism’s core tenet, revolutionary when first introduced: monotheism, a concept brought to the world by the Jewish forefather Abraham.

The Shema is not only about a unitary G-d. It also encapsulates the idea of community, “our G-d,” not “my G-d.” We call out to the nation, “Hear O Israel,” so that all may hear and participate. During prayer services — the Shema is recited twice daily — the opening sentence is recited out loud, in unison.

The Shema is one of the first prayers taught to children, so we thought we’d turn to young people, and find out what the Shema prayer means to them. We asked area teens “What does the Shema prayer mean to you?” and received meditations from across the Front Range.

Read the responses from Avrami Walles, Courtney Cohen, Riley Wank, Sarah Pomerantz, H. Jonah Lefkoff, Joshua and Matthew Mayer, Gabrielle Cantor, Jessica Cantor, Mia Felsen and Nathan Hill in the May 22 IJN print and digital edition. Contact Carol to order your copy at or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

Shana Goldberg

IJN Assistant Publisher |

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