It seems to me that Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the revelation of Torah at Mt Sinai, is an extraordinary opportunity for us to explore listening as part of building our capacity to hear God's voice. For some that might not be such an intuitive suggestion. Even if we "believe in" God, which not everyone does, the idea of hearing God's voice seems archaic. But it invites intriguing questions or thought experiments: How would we know what God's voice sounds like? What would it say if we could hear it? How would we know that is the voice of Divinity? What practices might help us cultivate more attuned ears?
Join us for a pre-High Holidays study and practice retreat. This is an opportunity for Kivvun alumni to reconnect and practice together, and for those interested in the Kivvun program to get a taste of Kivvun. Featuring guest faculty Dr. Daniel Matt and Julie Newman, and held at the beautiful Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT, September 14-18, 2016.
Shavuot in our liturgy is called
Z'man mattan torateinu, the time of the giving of our Torah. Here are three brief teachings that reflect different ways that we can think about how Torah comes to us, and what we are to do with it in our lives.
The Kotzker Rebbe (
Siach Sarphei Kodesh, Shavuot #4) points out that this appellation of the holiday is actually odd: it tells us only that God gave the Torah then, but not that it was received. Instead, he teaches that Torah must be (and can be) received at any time. Further, just as the Torah was given equally to all of Israel at Sinai, nevertheless it was received by each one according to her or his capacity to understand it - and so it is for us as well.
Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training 4th Cohort Begins
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
The 40 participants of our new cohort (4th) of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and the Awakened Heart Project's Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training recently gathered at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Beginning in the early morning, we practiced meditation in the synagogue and listened to the rising cacophony of birdsong as the day began and the mists rose from Lake Miriam. The quality of silent practice was exquisite, and it prepared our hearts for a Shabbat experience that was illuminated by song, prayer and Torah.
We send much love and best wishes to Lisa Zbar, who left the Institute staff this month for a new position at the JCCA. During her tenure as Development Director, Lisa contributed enormously to the Institute's sustainability and growth and we wish her joy and success in her new position!
Upcoming Institute Retreats and Programs
click on the image below for more information and registration
V'asu Li Mikdash: Building Communities of Practice
from Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
V'asu Li Mikdash is an initiative of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality dedicated to supporting all those who teach, lead or organize Jewish Meditation groups-- as well as for those who hope to begin groups.
We are excited to begin monthly webinars as a resource and inspiration for those who are involved with teaching Jewish mindfulness and meditation. Each month we will have a webinar with a guest teacher or presenter who will address key topics within this field. Some of the webinars will explore practical issues, like raising money for these groups. Others will address key sociological trends that impact our work, best practices from the secular mindfulness and Buddhist worlds, as well as teachings that draw from the wealth of Jewish spiritual wisdom that can illuminate our practice and teaching.