A Scholars-In-Residence Weekend to Expand Your Insight Into
And Excitement About Judaism

November 3rd-5th, 2017, at Temple B'nai Chaim

  • Friday 7:00 pm - Kabbalat Shabbat / Visions of RenewalWe'll welcome Shabbat with an uplifting prayer service of body, heart, mind and spirit. Blending tradition and modernity, music and poetry, silence and dance, we'll demonstrate some Renewal tools to enlivening our familiar liturgy. The d'var Torah, "Visions of Renewal," will offer a glimpse of what renewed Judaism might be and become, and how you can take part.
  • Saturday 10:30 am - Torah Study. A special session on Parshat Vayera ... with brunch! 
  • Saturday 5:00-7:00 pm - Se'udat Shlishit, Poetry of Yearning, and Havdalah.  We'll explore the poignant time of yearning that arises as Shabbat begins to wane with a se'udat shlishit, a "third meal" consisting of teachings about yearning and poetry of yearning. We'll "dine" on poetry, learning, and song, culminating in havdalah, the ritual that bridges Shabbat and week. (This event will be held at the Dubin-Klem house, 197 Signal Hill Road, Wilton.)

    Please also bring a vegetarian dish / dessert to snack on after the Havdalah event and before Angelology!
  • ..... Post-Havdalah - Angels Among Us: Jewish Approaches to Angelology.  Many Jews believe in angels, and both culture and liturgy are full of them.  We'll take a brief but intense dive into the Jewish story of angels and see what they show about Jewish text, history and spirituality. (Also at the Dubin-Klem house.)
  • Sunday 9:30-10:15 am - Spirituality on the Go.  We're all busy. Sometimes modern life asks us to make meaning, connection, and holiness in the time it takes to tweet. We'll explore spiritual practices that we can take with us into our multitasking lives.
  • Sunday 10:30-11:15 am - Mitzvah and Mysticism (for parents and students - Grade 2 and up)Mitzvot (the doings of Jewish life, like light shabbat candles and placing mezuzot on doorposts) embed deep mystical and spiritual meanings. We'll explore hidden uncommon meanings to common mitzvot and how combining mitzvah and mysticism can power up spiritual life. 

biosScholars' Biographies
Rab bi Rachel Barenblat, named in 2016 by the Forward as one of America's Most Inspiring Rabbis, was ordained by ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2011 and as a mashpi'ah ruchanit (spirit ual director) in 2012. From 2015 to 2017 she served as co-chair, with Rabbi David Evan Markus, of ALEPH and in spring 2017 as interim Jewish chaplain to Williams College. Since 2011 she has served as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel, in western MA.
She holds a BA in religion from Williams College and an MFA in Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author of four collections of poetry: 70 faces: Torah poems, Waiting to Unfold, Toward Sinai: Omer poems and Open My Lips, as well as several poetry chapbooks.
Since 2003 she has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi, and in 2008, TIME named her blog one of the top 25 sites on the internet. Rachel is a regular contributor to Kol ALEPH, to the Reform Judaism Blog, and to The Wisdom Daily. Her work has also appeared in Lilith, The Texas Observer, The Jewish Daily Forward, and anthologies including The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, The Women's Seder Sourcebook, and God? Jewish Choices for Struggling with the Ultimate, among other places. Her downloadable Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach has been used around the world, and with R' Jeff Goldwasser in 2014 she released the machzor Days of Awe, now available in a revised edition. She has taught courses arising from the intersection of the literary life and the spiritual life at the ALEPH Kallah; at many congregations around New York and New England; and at Beyond Walls, a writing program for clergy of many faiths, at the Kenyon Institute. Rachel lives in Williamstown, MA with her son.

Rabbi David Evan Markus served from 2015-2017 as co-chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal with Rabbi Rachel Barenblat. He brings to his rabbinate extensive background in Judaics, governance and management. David earned ordination as mashpia (spiritual director) in January 2014 and as rabbi in January 2015, both from ALEPH.
David serves as spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El of City Island (New York, NY) with Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener, and as faculty in spiritual direction and rabbinics for the ALEPH Ordination Program.  An alum of CLAL's Rabbis Without Borders, Rabbi David is a curated blogger for numerous national platforms including The Jewish Studio, My Jewish Learning and The Wisdom Daily.  His academic work on liturgy and spiritual education have been published in New Matrix Publications, Shma Magazine, Avenida Books and Velveteen Rabbi.

In addition to his regular ALEPH seminary role, Rabbi David has taught at Yeshivat Maharat, OHALAH, Routes, Fordham University, Pace University, and Limmud. In secular life, Rabbi David presides as judicial referee in New York Supreme Court, Ninth Judicial District, as part of a parallel career in government that previously included service as special counsel to the Chief Judge of New York, senior counsel to the New York Senate, state deputy director of voter protection for a major presidential campaign, policy associate to environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and director of a healthcare advocacy nonprofit. Today Rabbi David is the only North American rabbi holding both an active pulpit and a full-time oath of office.

David earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, Master in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Bachelor of Arts from Williams College. He lives in New York.