We stand at a crossroads in human history, one in which the power to choose life or death is truly in our hands. Through contemplative practices, our tradition holds powerful tools that are available to help us know experientially how profoundly interconnected and interdependent we truly are. This inner work is fundamentally not separate from how we engage with our families and friends, our colleagues, our communities and the larger world. By cultivating greater mindfulness, connection and awareness, we can do our part to transform our world for the sake of blessing and of life. The world transformation we envision includes:
- A revitalized Jewish communal culture that is meaningful, resilient and open-hearted.
- The wide availability of Jewish spiritual practices grounded in mindfulness.
- A critical mass of Jewish leaders who have the experience, expertise and commitment to align their inner lives and their work in their communities, so they can be of greater service to themselves and to our world.
We believe that people who engage in Jewish spiritual practices that are grounded in mindfulness are better equipped to contribute to building Jewish communities that are vibrant, resilient and wise. They are also better able to navigate and meaningfully address the brokenness and complex challenges of our world.
By making these teachings and practices widely available, we seek to cultivate mindfulness, deepen connection to ourselves, each other and even God, and to enliven Jewish life.
IJS’ guiding principles are:
- Shiviti Adonai lenegdi tamid: I strive to cultivate an awareness of God in every moment.
We seek a spiritual practice that wakes us to God’s reality in all aspects of our lives (Melo Kol Ha’aretz Kevodo: The whole world is full of God’s glory).
- Tzelem Elohim: The Divine Image
We affirm and strive to reflect the divine and infinite potential in each human being.
- Kehilla Kedosha: Holy Community
Creating and maintaining a safe, intentional community allows for deep listening to ourselves and to others, and opens us for healing, connection and insight.
- Im eyn ani li mi li?: If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
We can best serve and inspire others when we cultivate and refine our own spiritual lives.
- La aleycha hamlachah ligmor: You do not have to finish the work , but neither are you free to desist from it.
Spiritual growth is a lifelong process that requires ongoing commitment, practice and guidance.
- Tikkun HaNefesh and Tikkun Olam
We understand that our work to cultivate awareness leads inexorably to acts of kindness and justice.
- Ki tavo chochmah b’libeycha, v’da’at l’nafsehcha yinam: For wisdom will enter your mind and knowledge will delight you.
While we inherit a unique religious tradition, we are open to, benefit from and integrate wisdom from other traditions.
- Redeeming Sparks of Language
We are committed to helping people connect their traditional Jewish God, language and ritual with their authentic inner experience in order to nurture and expand their sense of experiencing of God as Jews.
- Mechadesh b’chol yom tamid ma’aseh beresheet: The world is constantly created anew.
We believe in the power of Teshuva—the capacity of Jews and Judaism to change and grow and thereby be of greater service to themselves and to the world.