Shalhevet High School, Los Angeles, California

Shalhevet ran four specialized tefillah programs for students in the 2016-2017 academic year: the Hashkamah (early morning) Minyan, the Girls’ Singing Minyan, the Explanatory Minyan, and the Advanced Tefillah Shiur (ATS), held immediately following the Hashkamah Minyan. The Explanatory Minyan and ATS benefitted directly from the funding and support of Legacy 613.


The Explanatory Minyan was consistently attended by 20-30 students and struck a beautiful balance between discussion and learning on the one hand, and actual prayer on the other. Structurally, the first 20 minutes of each session were dedicated to delving into particular elements of tefillah –- usually by means of guided discussion, practice and/or song -– and the latter 15-20 minutes were spent actually praying. The greatest impact that Legacy 613 made on this minyan was in helping Shalhevet think more seriously, consistently, and creatively about assessment and program evaluation. Because of Legacy’s input, Shalhevet surveyed the students both before and after the program, which allowed the faculty to see what did or did not work, and helped them plan improvements for the future.


Twice a week, a carefully selected group of 10 students (from among a myriad of applicants) attended Shalhevet’s Hashkamah Minyan and spent the regular tefillah period deeply delving into tefillah learning, both in its text and philosophical underpinnings. The sessions, led by a faculty member, consisted of learning in pairs and delving into the text of a given tefillah with guiding questions; students exploring secondary texts and sources that either commented directly on the given tefillah or shed light on one or more of the tefillah’s themes, and students thinking about how they might take what they had learned and apply it practically to enhance their own personal prayers. The ATS students delved deeply and meaningfully into more than 20 units of rich tefillah learning and discussion and learned to apply them to their own prayers and relationships with God.