Ways of reading scripture
Rereading Rushkoff

Airport davvening

I wound up at the Albany airport this morning a full two hours before my flight's scheduled departure. It's a small airport with limited entertainment opportunities, so I decided to spend a while in the Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Room.

I've meditated there a few times before trips. The light is muted, a small stream bubbles enclosed in a fountain, the wall shows a pastoral scene framed by copper cattails. It's a lovely space. Lately, though, I'm more interested in davvening than in meditation; as I entered the room I was resolving to pray as much of the morning service as I could muster from memory, and was thinking idly that it might be neat to have a small travel siddur, or to download the liturgy onto my Palm, for times like these.

But some kind souls had donated a variety of holy books to the small shelf in the corner! Among them were four flavors of Bible, a Qu'ran, a Bhagavad-Gita, and a range of prayerbooks...including a 1962 Rabbinical Assembly siddur which conveniently begins with the weekday morning service.

Small parts of the liturgy were unfamiliar, but on the whole it was davven-able. I was alone in the room, so I didn't have to wrestle with feeling self-conscious as I swayed, stood and bowed, or gestured around me.  It felt good to pray the morning blessings and the backbone prayers that stand at the center of every service. The translation of Psalm 30 was archaic and distancing to me, so I rephrased it in my own words, speaking directly to God.

I exited feeling calm and alert, and even the combination of loud television news and a long line at the Beanery didn't deflate my mood.