The Institute for Jewish Spirituality presents The Gift of Awareness for Educators. Jewish Mindfulness for You and Your Students: A 13-Module Guided Journey

Discover the Jewish Practice That Wakes You Up to the Magic and Meaning of Your Life

When is the last time you remember being fully present – not worrying about the past or anxiously planning for the future – just available to appreciate all the goodness of the moment?

It’s probably easier to recall the last time you arrived at work and then didn’t remember driving there. Or finishing a meal not having tasted a single bite.

Or being so preoccupied during a conversation with a friend, spouse or co-worker that you couldn’t really listen to them or remember anything they said.

If so, you’re not alone.

Today most of us regularly experience being so lost in our thoughts, distracted on our phones, and caught-up in our never-ending to-do lists that we aren’t really experiencing our lives in the present moment.

We have a tendency to think – and our culture reinforces – that doing more and achieving more is what will bring our lives into alignment with our core values and what matters most to us.

Access a More Relaxed, Restorative Way of Being That Offers a Deeper and More Meaningful Life Experience

You Can Start with Just 5 Minutes a Day

You may already recognize that you need some support managing your stress, being more present, reinvigorating your connection to Judaism, and skillfully navigating the challenges in your life and in the world.

You’ve likely heard mindfulness is helping others, but may not have figured out how to make it work for you. And you may not realize that you can practice mindfulness within a Jewish context . . . in a way that makes mindfulness accessible, familiar and perhaps even more meaningful to you—in addition to potentially creating new and possibly unexpected connections to Judaism itself.

That’s why the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a global leader in teaching Jewish mindfulness and spiritual practices, has created The Gift of Awareness: Cultivating Mindfulness Through Jewish Meditation a first-of-its-kind, self-paced, online Jewish meditation course that offers new access to expanded awareness to support you in becoming more consistently who you want to be in the world . . . all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Here’s how it works . . . during The Gift of Awareness, mindfulness educators Rabbi Sam Feinsmith and Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell will expertly guide you each step of the way through establishing a Jewish mindfulness meditation practice that can support you in:

  • Showing up non-reactively in your life
  • Finding ways to deal skillfully with your inner critic
  • Finding an anchor of peace and positivity in stressful situations
  • Reawakening or deepening your connection to Judaism
  • Being a powerful example of resiliency, empathy and connection in your life and in the world

With regular practice – even for just 5 minutes a day – you can gain access to an inner refuge or sanctuary that you can take with you wherever you go . . .

So that no matter the circumstances you may find yourself in, no matter how stressful and strenuous your responsibilities may become, you can always discern a subtle quality of awareness hovering in the backdrop and permeating your experience of body, heart, mind and world.

Here’s What People Who’ve Established a Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Practice Tell Us About How It’s Transformed Their Lives

Before I came to IJS and took the course, I thought my yoga meditation that I practiced before classes was all that there was to meditation.  During the course, I experienced a deeper inner look into myself and was surprised that feelings of loss that I had suppressed surfaced.  Now that I’ve experienced The Gift of Awareness, my life is calmer and I realize that I can live at a bit of a slower pace, be more aware and present, be a better listener, and still get the things done that matter to me.

Marlene Aron



“IJS has changed my life. I know it sounds dramatic. But I want everyone to know what I now know – our Jewish Hassidic wisdom has deepened my prayer, my meditation and my mindset. Even more essentially, because of IJS I have changed the way I speak to myself, which has changed everything.”

Aliza Kline



“Jewish spiritual practice has made me so much more spiritually alive. It inspired me. Refreshed me. Many of us go to yoga, meditate and are looking for spiritual practices to help us in our lives. What I didn’t know is that I could do all of that within the context of Jewish prayer and tradition—and that it would be so much more meaningful as a result.”

Rabbi Rachel Timoner


The Gift of Awareness
A Session-by-Session Course Overview

Here’s a closer look at everything you’ll cover:

Every module is between 30 and 45 minutes in length, and includes:

  • Video teachings with Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
  • A text study with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
  • A guided meditation
  • A mindful life practice
  • Reflection questions and discussion forums
  • A supplemental handout

Each session builds on the next so that you feel relaxed, inspired, and confident in each new skill before moving onto the next.

Module One:

Waking Up to Your Life
From Automatic Pilot to Intention

Module Two:

Strengthening Attention
From Distracted to Present  

Module Three:

Listening to Your Body 
From Thinking to Sensing

Once you have finished the first three modules you may notice . . .

  • You’ve begun moving through your life more intentionally, instead of being on automatic pilot
  • You find it easier to anchor your attention to be more present
  • You’ve become better able to notice your mental habits and unsupportive thought patterns that habitually move you into reactivity and away from feeling calm and centered.

Module Four:

Turning Towards the Stream of Your Emotions
From Reactivity to Responsiveness

Module Five:

Working with Difficult Emotions
From Avoidance to Approaching

Once you have finished Modules Four and Five you may notice . . .

  • You’re better able to identify emotions in your body, such as “Oh, I must be feeling sadness because there’s sensation in the pit of my stomach” or “My face is flushing, which means I’m feeling angry.”
  • You’re more in tune with your emotions and able to know precisely what you’re feeling moment by moment, instead of having only a vague sense of ease or uneasiness.
  • You’re more able to cultivate non-judgemental attention to your own emotions, allowing you to be more responsive instead of getting stuck in emotionality and reactivity.

Module Six:

Befriending Your Own Mind
From Conviction to Curiosity

Module Seven:

Cultivating Your Loving Heart
From Judgment to Compassion

Module Eight:

Resting in Shabbat Mind™
From Doing to Being

Once you have finished Module Six you may notice . . .

  • You’re more able to be the observer of your thoughts and the student of your habits instead of believing those thoughts and habits are what define you.
  • As you realize more clearly that you’re not actually your thoughts and mental habits, you become more in touch with who you really are.

Once you have finished Module Seven you may notice . . .

  • You’re better able to cultivate loving emotions when you need them — the kind of emotions that open the heart and leave the mind feeling spacious and connected.
  • You’re better able to skillfully handle emotions (like anger) that distort your ability to see clearly.

Once you have finished Module Eight you may notice . . .

  • You’re better able to de-stress, regulate and strengthen your attention, and practice emotional self-regulation.
  • You feel more resourced, restored and supported as you do your work and live your life.
  • You’re able to meet others (and yourself) with a deeper quality of love, compassion and acceptance.
  • You have access in any moment to what Shabbat represents — peaceful awareness that you need to do nothing else or be anywhere else.
  • That practice grounded in Jewish wisdom has changed your relationship with Judaism and possibly even God.

Course Materials and Resources

When you register, you’ll get access to everything you need to take full advantage of the self-paced course, including:

  • 8 self-paced video teaching sessions, guided meditation “practices” and reflection questions – that you can access anywhere, anytime from your computer or mobile device.
  • Downloadable handouts for each module – so you can reference these powerful teachings anytime.
  • An online meditation timer you can load with your favorite guided meditations from the course – so you can practice them again and again.
  • 8 “Mindful Life” practices – designed to help you integrate the course teachings into your everyday life.
  • A personal online journal – your own personal space to record your reflections.

The Gift of Awareness

Course Tuition


Purchase to get access to everything you need
to take full advantage of this self-paced course

About Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

As Senior Core Faculty at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith directs the Clergy Leadership Program and teaches on the faculty of a variety of IJS programs. Previously, he taught Judaic Studies at Chicagoland Jewish High School, Illinois, and the Heschel School in NY, where he spearheaded initiatives to foster teen spirituality, mindfulness, and wellness. He is a co-founder of Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning, a center for contemplative Jewish learning and living. He served as a Kol Tzedek Fellow for American Jewish World Service, volunteering in Cambodia with their Volunteer Corps.

About Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell

Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell is a teacher of Jewish mindfulness and has spent years leading retreats and immersive experiences for adults in various settings through the National Ramah Commission, Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning, and the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Jordan was the founding Director of Ramah Beyond and was Director of Camp Ramah in Canada from 2019-2022. Previously, he worked for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) as a teacher of Jewish Mindfulness and as Director of the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training. Jordan also taught meditation to rabbis and cantors through IJS’ Clergy Leadership Program. After being ordained in 2008, Jordan served as a congregational rabbi outside of Chicago and co-founded Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning. Jordan is a recipient of the 2014 Covenant Foundation Pomegranate Prize. He and his wife Yael live in Toronto and are the proud and grateful parents of three.

About the Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Since 1999, IJS has been a leader in teaching traditional and contemporary Jewish spiritual practices that cultivate mindfulness so that each of us might act with enriched wisdom, clarity, and compassion. These practices, grounded in Jewish values and thought, enable participants to develop important skills while strengthening leadership capacities, deepening their inner lives, and connecting more meaningfully with others, Judaism, and the sacred. As a non-profit organization, IJS is able to provide programming and resources to the community thanks to the generosity of our donors.