Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon / Congregation B’nai Jeshurun

Born in Buenos Aires Argentina, and educated in Buenos Aires, Montreal, Jerusalem and New York City, Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon came to B’nai Jeshurun in 1986 to share the pulpit—and vision—of his mentor and friend Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. They worked together to revitalize the congregation and turn its focus to liturgical revitalizaton, education, interfaith cooperation, and social justice.

After Rabbi Meyer’s death in 1993, Rabbi Matalon became BJ’s spiritual leader. He and Rabbis Bronstein and Sol now lead a vibrant, diverse community of more than 1,800 households.

Rabbi Matalon is a founding co-director of Piyut North America, a partnership between B’nai Jeshurun and Hazmanah Le-Piyut in Israel. A member of the New York Arabic Orchestra, he plays the oud (Arabic lute). Rabbi Matalon is married and has two daughters.

Va-Ani Tefilati Lekha  / "I Am My Prayer to You"
We’ve heard that prayer can conjure moments of longing, heartbreak, enlightenment, and intense joy. We’re even aware that praying has helped people and communities reconnect to their dreams and recommit to their collective purpose in the world.

Maybe you’ve seen people singing their hearts out on Shabbat and wondered what it’s all about, or you’ve felt those highs and lows yourself but weren’t sure what it meant or how to connect it to any lasting ideas.

How might we access this staggeringly powerful stuff through what can seem to be a complex and ancient tradition? What’s the secret? How do we “become” our prayer?  

Rabbi Roly Matalon of the famed  BJ in Manhattan, is coming to The Kitchen to help us. Known internationally for his teaching on piyutim and practice, Rabbi Matalon will offer four interactive workshops, in a variety of formats and locations. Meant to work together, these sessions are less classes and more hands-on prayer experiences. 

Thursday, January 28
6:00 - 8:00 PM, 101 California

We’ll begin by asking and discussing some of the most primary questions, the ones that rarely get asked: What is prayer about, anyway? When we pray, what are we trying to achieve? What is it exactly that we are searching for? And how do we prepare to pray?

Members: Free
Non-Members: $36

Friday, January 29 (Kabbalat Shabbat)
6:15 PM, SF Friends School

R. Matalon will offer teachings throughout our Friday night t’fillah (service) on how the words of Kabbalat Shabbat help us to focus and fulfill what our souls need as we transition gently and with full intention from hol to kodesh – leaving the ordinary work-week consciousness in order to enter holy time and welcome Shabbat.

Services: Free and open to all
Ticket required in advance for those wishing to stay for dinner

Saturday, January 30 (Shabbat AM)
10:00 AM, SF Friends School

One way of understanding services is to see ourselves as traveling somewhere. How do we get from here to there? What’s the meaning and intention of each section of the prayer service? Where are we supposed to be by the end? For this shabbat morning, R. Matalon will guide us through the service piece by piece, as we pray together and create a map for this singular kind of spiritual journey. 

Free and open to all, but please let us know if you will join us. 

Saturday, January 30
7:00 PM, Private home

In this havdallah session, R. Matalon will  explore with us resources for developing daily and shabbat prayer and ritual practices at home and in our lives. 

Members: Free
Non/Not-Yet-Members: Please inquire