“The questioning allows us to dig deep into the Torah portion and make the aliyot personal. Excellent strategy to include everyone.”

— Lay retreat participant Winter 2012

Parshah Text Study 5774

5774 Text Study Programs

Join in the expanding circle of rabbis, cantors and others who share in the profound and spiritually uplifting world of Torah study with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

Click here to register!

We are excited to offer two text study options; sign up for text study this year with Rabbis Jonathan Slater, Larry Bach, or both!
The cost for the program is $240 for either program, or $450 for both.
This year’s emails will begin Friday, September 20.


Torah Study for the Soul:
Hasidic Text Study with Rabbi Jonathan Slater
5774 Text: Ma’or Vashemesh

Rabbi Jonathan Slater

Since the fall of 2002, Rabbi Jonathan Slater has offered weekly translations of classical Hasidic texts for personal study and spiritual growth. Hundreds of rabbis, cantors, educators and others have been enriched through their study of these texts – with partners in havruta or on their own, in Torah study groups and as materials for teaching.

You are invited to join the growing numbers who access the depth and richness of Hasidic spirituality presented in contemporary terms. This year Jonathan will offer lessons from Ma’or Vashemesh, the teachings of R. Kalonymus Kalman Epstein of Krakow (1754-1823). Epstein was a student of R. Elimelekh of Lyzhansk. While the youngest in his circle, he was recognized as R. Elimelekh’s prime pupil (serving also as his personal assistant/shamash). His teachings, published first in 1842, are studied broadly within the Hasidic world, and offer insights into the emergence of Hasidism in Poland in the early 19th century.

Each week Jonathan will provide a translation of one of these teachings, with reflection questions for personal application and commentary. As always, his commentary will be based in mindfulness practice and Jewish spirituality.

We encourage participants to study with a partner, and will endeavor, to the extent possible, to help participants find partners. You will have an opportunity to indicate whether you have or need a study partner on the registration form.

For more information, contact Rabbi Slater at jonathan@jewishspirituality.org or 212-913-9198.


Torah in Mind:
Mindfulness Lessons Drawn from the Weekly Parshah
with Rabbi Larry Bach

“Turn it, turn it, for Everything is in it.” Ben Bag-Bag’s advice (Pirkei Avot 5:26) rings true for many of us. The more we turn Torah in our mind, the more lessons we discover for living mindfully in the world. Sometimes a passage, sometimes a verse, sometimes a single word, becomes the lens through which our experience is refracted in a new and helpful way. We emerge from the encounter with Torah ready to bring compassion and skillful action to the people and situations that confront us. In this way, the Torah comes alive, a Torat Chayim.

It is with that goal in mind that we offer this year’s series of parsha-based lessons, “Torah in Mind.” Our teacher, Rabbi Larry Bach, will present a mindfulness teaching drawn from the weekly Torah portion, as well as suggestions for how to practice with it.

Rabbi Bach serves Temple Mount Sinai, the Reform synagogue in El Paso, Texas. He is a member of the Institute’s Hevraya, having participated in the fifth Rabbinical Leadership Program. He recently completed the Jewish Meditation Teacher Training Program offered by the Institute. Each week at his synagogue, he leads a weekday mindfulness meditation session, as well as a Shabbat Torah study rooted in the mindfulness teachings of the Hasidic masters.