One of the most significant prayers in Judaism and the heart of the daily prayers is the Amidah. It is an expression of many of the fundamental tenets of Judaism, accompanied by requesting God for our most basic needs in life. The word “Amidah” means “standing,” for that is the position in which it is recited. It is also often referred to as the Shemonah Esrei, the Eighteen, after the number of blessings this prayer originally contained. Composed at the beginning of the Second Temple period by the Men of the Great Assembly, the Amidah guides us when we pray to God, showing profound gratitude and expressing our deepest aspirations and concerns. There are two Morasha classes on the Amidah. In this first class, we will focus on the origin and composition of the Amidah, its basic structure and purpose. In the next class we will focus on how to pray the Amidah – in thought and action.