The Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute (DLTI) is a two-year, four-week training program in the art of public prayer, created and taught by leadership team Rabbi Marcia Prager, Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, and Hazzan Jack Kessler, with Dr. Daniel Sheff and Rabbi Shir Yaakov Feit.

DLTI offers a unique award-winning learning experience to help those who lead worship and other communal events in a Jewish context to deepen the quality of communal prayer so that it activates the body, touches the heart, engages the mind and nourishes genuine spiritual growth and insight.

Employing the participatory approach of an intensive master class, this program coaches participants in the high art of leadership of public ritual and prayer.

The training is a two-year program consisting of four five-day retreats. Retreat participants become a living and learning fellowship — deeply engaged in the practice and process of communal prayer and ritual. Throughout each retreat the group joins with core faculty and master-teachers in ongoing davvenen, text study, group discussions and coaching.

Applications for Cohort 11 are open!

This living-learning experience enables participants from all Jewish environments to gain:

  • Deep understanding, experience and skill with the evolution, practice and meaning of Jewish prayer.
  • Grounding in liturgical sources and the inner structure of services, with special emphasis on Shabbat.
  • Advanced skills in the inspiring use of personal presence.
  • Practice and experience in creating prayerful environments, working with group energetics, and balancing structure with spontaneity.

Special exercises will hone your skills, as you learn to:

  • Use your whole self — voice, body, gesture — and increase your comfort with an expanded range of leadership styles.
  • Maximize the effectiveness of your communication and remain centered in the most challenging situations.
  • Shape your phrasing to blend kavvanot seamlessly into the flow of t'fillah and share personal stories to add an intimate dimension to your teaching.
  • Smoothly segue from the spoken word into song or prayer, or from one prayer to another.
  • Choose a melody for the mood you wish to create and use instruments with subtlety and grace.
  • Incorporate dance or movement into prayer — in both havurah-style and congregational settings.
  • Craft and deliver a truly dynamic d'var Torah; use bibliodrama and other interactive styles of teaching.
  • Brush up your traditional skills in special labs for Torah-leynen and nusah ha-t'fillah.



This program is designed for both the experienced leader and those emerging into leadership.

Participants include rabbis, cantors, rabbinic pastors, rabbinic, cantorial and rabbinic pastor students, lay congregational and havurah leaders — from across the denominational spectrum of Jewish life!

DLTI Alumni Gathering

Are you an Alumni of DLTI? We have the opportunity to hold a DLTI Alumni Retreat at Isabella Freedman from February 9 to February 12, the day the final winter week that DLTI 10 cohort begins!

Join all your friends who are grads of DLTI at a great immersion in davvenen’ leadership labs and intensives, advanced training sessions full of singing, celebrating, sharing, deep exploration, and all the blessings that come of our time together. The retreat will be led by the full DLTI Faculty – Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Rabbi Marcia Prager, Hazzan Jack Kessler, Hazzan Diana Brewer, and Daniel Sheff!

Tune up skills you have worked on and reach for new levels of understanding in prayer, spiritual leadership, and group dynamics. Besides the obvious davvenen' leading opportunities with coaching, we will also have intensive next-level labs for leadership, spontaneity, and skills building, text study, with slots for graduates to teach and offer insights from the field.

We’ll celebrate each other's growth over the years. This gathering builds and strengthens the davvenen' leaders community that many of you have found so important to your own leadership.

DLTI Graduate Weekend: Celebration, Exploration and Reconnection
Sunday evening, February 9 – Wednesday morning, February 12, 2020
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
Register Here!


Program website:


DLTI: The Davvenen' Leadership Training Institute

Registeration information at http://hazon.org/calendar/dlti-summer/