Upcoming Online Prayer Project Intensives
Learning to Engage Prayer as Practice: Month-Long Intensives
Most Jewish teaching about prayer is precisely that: teaching about prayer! One may learn the history of how the Jewish prayerbook was compiled or specifics about the meaning of certain prayers themselves. But what of the inner dimensions? What about learning how to train the mind and heart to engage in the inner experience of prayer itself and to allow it to deepen moment by moment as it unfolds in the mind, heart, body and spirit? For such training, one needs an expert teacher, clear instructions, dedication to regular practice, and a community of fellow practitioners for support, inspiration, and insight.
Toward this end, we have developed month-long intensives featuring video instruction and online discussion (with an optional, live, small-group, weekly processing call with the instructor). Each intensive focuses on one particular prayer modality, such as: sacred chant; traditional, prayerbook-based Jewish prayer; contemplative prayer; meditative prayer, or spontaneous prayer. New courses will be added periodically, so keep an eye this page or subscribe to the Institute e-letter for the latest information.
Begin your personal Prayer Project today!
Hitbodedut: Cultivating Spontaneous Conversations with God
Rabbi David Jaffe
March 5 – 31, 2017
According to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, hitbodedut – talking spontaneously with God -every day is the most powerful path to spiritual growth. Over these four weeks we will try out this potent practice, starting with small amounts of time and building each week. Daily assignments will explore preparing to speak, setting intentions, time and space for practice and closing a session. We will address what it means to have a conversation when you are not sure to whom you are speaking or if there is any conversation partner at all! Related practices will include turning Torah into Prayer, a particular technique for connecting the mind and the heart to transform action. A month of hitbodedut has the power to open the heart, clarify priorities, increase awareness of our soul’s desire and strengthen our connection with God. Hitbodedut is not designed to take the place of liturgical prayer but it can have a profound influence on the quality of our more formal prayer lives, as well.
Rabbi David Jaffe is the Founder and Principal of The Kirva Institute, dedicated to bringing people into closer, healthier relationships with others, themselves and God for the sake of the repair of the world. He is the author of Changing the World from the Inside Out, Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice.
Contemplative Jewish Prayer: Presence, Intention, Surrender
Rabbis Nancy Flam and James Jacobson-Maisels
Dates: June 4 – 30, 2017
The practice of contemplative Jewish prayer enables us to open our hearts, minds and souls and cultivate ways of being that realize our fullest selves in intimate contact with divinity. Through the daily practice of contemplative prayer supported by weekly teachings, discussion groups, practice instructions, daily inspirations and other resources, participants will be helped to cultivate states of presence, authenticity, intimacy, surrender and opening which are the fruits of the practice. Participants will also be guided as to how to cultivate whatever qualities of heart and soul they feel most in need of as part of their daily practice. The clearly structured and carefully guided contemplative prayer model offered here is grounded in the Piacetzner Rebbe’s quieting technique as well as the personal practice and exploration of the teachers.
Rabbi Nancy Flam is co-founder and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality where she served for many years as Co-Director of Programs and now directs The Prayer Project. She serves as a spiritual director, and teaches and writes widely about Jewish spirituality, prayer, healing and mindfulness.
Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson-Maisels is the founder of Or HaLev:A Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation and has been studying and teaching meditation and Jewish spirituality for over fifteen years. He received his PhD in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago and teaches Jewish thought, mysticism, spiritual practices and meditation at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and in a variety of settings around the world.
Receiving & Extending Love: Jewish Prayer through Meditation
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
August 6 – September 1, 2017
The very center of the Jewish liturgy is love. Indeed, we suggest that prayer itself is an act of love and is designed to enhance the human capacity to love. The words and ideas are right there in every Jewish prayer book. In this month of learning together we will offer three sets of clear and specific meditation practices drawn from the discipline of “Sustainable Compassion Practice” to train ourselves to receive and extend love. By liberating our innate loving capacities of care, tenderness, compassion, equanimity and discernment, this work will lead us to a deepened way of engaging and living the central prayers of Ahavah Rabbah, Shema and Ve’ahavta. We will explore obstacles and resistances to receiving love; the non-judging, non-separating, open and accepting attitude that is necessary for experiencing oneness, unification and connection; and the possibility for extending love to our neighbor and to the stranger.
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg has been a congregational rabbi, mindfulness teacher, spiritual director and writer of poetry, liturgy and prose; she has published, among many writings, Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Religious Memoir. She has been a core faculty member of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality since its inception.