Deepening at 20:

Heart-Opening Practice for Challenging Times

A Retreat for IJS Alumni and Friends
July 14-18, 2019

Pearlstone Retreat and Conference Center / Reisterstown, MD

This retreat is currently SOLD OUT of residential options!

Click here to register as a commuter.

To sign up for the waiting list email Barbara Shuman at

These times urgently call us to grow in awareness so we might address today’s significant challenges with resilience and wisdom. Twenty years since its inception, the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s model of cultivating personal and social transformation through contemplative Jewish spiritual practice is more essential than ever.

Join us in celebrating 20 years of IJS as we rededicate ourselves to this essential inner and outer practice at a retreat for alumni of the Institute’s core programs and like-minded/hearted friends. The retreat will run from late Sunday afternoon July 14, through midday Thursday, July 18, 2019, at Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reisterstown MD. Participants may opt for a fully silent or partially silent track, with opportunities for engaging in mindfulness meditation, prayer, yoga and embodied practice, text study, middot, and small group practice.

The retreat faculty will include Rabbis Nancy Flam, Lisa Goldstein, Myriam Klotz, Marc Margolius, Jonathan Slater, and Sheila Peltz Weinberg, and Cantor Ellen Dreskin. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged.

Come join us!


This retreat is open to alumni of all IJS programs, including cohort programs (the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program, Kivvun, and all of our clergy and educator programs) as well as attendees of our past retreats or participants in any of our online programs.

We also welcome any “like-minded or -hearted friends:” anyone who may be new to IJS programs or retreats, but is open to beginning a Jewish meditation practice in a warm, open-hearted environment.

Retreat Tracks

I. The Partially Silent Track
All participants in the partially silent track will be in silence from evening bedtime until early afternoon programming. Breakfast and lunch will be silent, and dinner will be speaking. In the afternoons and evenings, participants will have opportunities for text study, middot practice, small group work, and special programs.

II. The Silent Track
Participants in the fully silent track will have opportunities to participate in silent sitting and walking meditation throughout the day. They may choose as well to join afternoon and evening programming or small groups in which there is speaking, and/or with teachers one-on-one. They will remain in silence for all meals.

Retreat Schedule

Check-in will be in the afternoon on Sunday, July 14 from 2:30 – 4 pm and the first program will begin at 4:30 pm. The retreat will conclude by noon on Thursday, July 18.
Our mornings will take place in silence for everyone, and consist of contemplative practice: prayer, silent breakfast, meditation with instruction, yoga or mindful walking.
After lunch, silent participants will continue their practice with sitting and walking meditation, with the option to join the speaking group at times if they wish. The partially silent participants will use the afternoon and evening activity period to work as a full group and in small breakout sessions.
There will be opportunities for one-on-one meetings with Institute staff.

Retreat Cost

We have structured the pricing of this retreat to break out into two sections. Your total cost will be tuition plus room type of your choice.

I. Tuition: $825 per person
(This includes all of the programming, materials, individual meetings with faculty, etc. that you will have access to on the retreat)
The tuition cost is $825 for each individual, and will automatically be added to your total when you register. Please keep in mind that the tuition cost is partially subsidized by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.

II. Room and Board: Prices vary by room type
(This includes guest room, all meals and snacks, and program space use)
We have broken down the Room and Board into different costs based on different room types. Spaces are limited and some room types may fill up quickly!
Single Room: $1,425.00 sold out!
Double Room: $1100.00 sold out!
Suite-style Room: $750.00 sold out!

As of February 25, all rooms are fully booked. We have opened commuter registration at a cost of $500 plus tuition.

This year’s retreat does not have an application process.

Travel Information and What to Bring

The retreat will take place at: Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center / 5425 Mt. Gilead Road / Reisterstown, MD 21136.

Pearlstone also provides this comprehensive PDF.

What to bring: You can view a complete packing list here.

Participants who are registered for the retreat will receive a preparatory email from the staff a few weeks before the retreat. If you have questions about how to prepare for the retreat, please contact Liat Melnick, Retreat & Programs Manager (

Retreat Faculty

Cantor Ellen Dreskin

Cantor Ellen Dreskin ( is an innovative worship leader in the liberal Jewish movement. She is a synagogue consultant and clergy coach in the areas of liturgical innovation, personal prayer practice, and communal worship skills. Ellen has worked as a scholar-in-residence at dozens of congregations across the country, and has served in a leadership capacity at numerous Institutes, Camps, and Conferences, including IJS, HUC-JIR, Hava Nashira, URJ Biennial, URJ Kutz Camp Leadership Academy, and the JCCA’s SCLI Fellows’ Program. Ellen was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1986, and has a Master’s Degree in Jewish Communal Service from Brandeis University. She is married to Rabbi Billy Dreskin, and is extremely proud of their joint projects: Katie, Jonah (z”l), and Aiden.

Rabbi Nancy Flam

Rabbi Nancy Flam was the first Director of the Institute and a co-founder of the Jewish Healing Center in 1991. She then directed the Jewish Community Healing Program of Ruach Ami: Bay Area Jewish Healing Center in San Francisco. She has served as a consultant for Synagogue 2000 and the National Center for Jewish Healing. Rabbi Flam earned her B.A. in Religion (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude) from Dartmouth College in 1982; her M.A. in Hebrew Literature from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1986, and was ordained in 1989.

Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Rabbi Lisa Goldstein is the Executive Director of the Institute; prior to that, she spent 15 years as Executive Director of Hillel of San Diego where she garnered local and national recognition for her devotion to students and her leadership. She has been a service learning group leader for the American Jewish World Service and as a Mandel Jerusalem Fellow in 2009-2010, she designed a new methodology for combining local justice work and contemplative practice within a Jewish framework.

Rabbi Myriam Klotz

Rabbi Myriam Klotz is director of the Spirituality Initiative for Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR)/New York, and has been faculty director of yoga and embodied spiritual practices at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality for 14 years. Myriam is codirector of the Bekhol Levavkah Jewish Spiritual Director training program at HUC-JIR/New York, and codirected the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training program at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. She leads Jewish yoga and spiritual direction retreats, sessions, and trainings at synagogues, seminaries, and retreat centers nationally. Her recordings include In All Your Ways Know God: Beginning Yoga On and Off the Mat.

Rabbi Marc Margolius

Rabbi Marc Margolius has directed alumni programming for clergy for the Institute since 2005. As spiritual leader at West End Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side from 2010-17, he developed a systemic congregational model integrating mindfulness practice with middot (spiritual/ethical values). Rabbi Margolius previously conceived and directed the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project, an initiative supporting systemic educational transformation in congregations. He has served as Director of Jewish Life and Identity for the JCCs of Philadelphia, and taught at the Center for Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania. Rabbi Margolius was ordained in 1989 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School. He lives in New York with his wife, Rabbi Ayelet Cohen, and is the proud father of five.

Rabbi Jonathan Slater

Rabbi Jonathan Slater co-directs the Clergy Leadership Program and participates as staff in many other programs at the Institute, and is a graduate of the Institute’s first rabbinic cohort. He is the author of A Partner in Holiness: Deepening Mindfulness, Practicing Compassion and Enriching Our Lives through the Wisdom of R. Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev’s Kedushat Levi (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2014) and Mindful Jewish Living: Compassionate Practice (Aviv Press, 2004). Jonathan received his ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1979, and served as rabbi at Beth Am in Santa Rosa, California, for 19 years. He is on the faculty of Makom: Center for Mindfulness at the JCC in Manhattan, teaching and leading mindfulness meditation.

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg served as a congregational rabbi for seventeen years. She has also worked in the fields of Jewish community relations, Jewish education and Hillel. She has published widely on such topics as feminism, spiritual direction, parenting, social justice and mindfulness from a Jewish perspective and has contributed commentaries to Kol HaNeshama, the Reconstructionist prayer book. Rabbi Weinberg has taught mindfulness meditation and yoga to rabbis, Jewish professionals and lay people in the context of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She serves as a spiritual director to a variety of Jewish clergy including students and faculty at HUC-JIR in New York. She is creator and co-leader of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program. She is married to Maynard Seider and they have three married children and six grandchildren.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m interested in attending! What do I do next?
There’s no application this year – go right ahead and register!

I’m an alum of an IJS program, and I have a friend I’d like to bring to this retreat. Is this a good time to introduce them to IJS retreats and practices?
Yes! This is a great “taste of IJS practice” retreat, featuring amazing faculty and a focus on both cultivation and deepening of practice.

I’m not sure if I can come yet, but I don’t want to lose a spot. Can you hold a room for me?
Unfortunately, because of demand for this retreat, we are not able to hold places or rooms without a registration.

I’m registered as a commuter but I want to stay on-site if a room opens up. Can I still join the waiting list?
Yes! Complete your registration as usual and choose the commuter option, and then email our Retreat Coordinator Barbara Shuman at to join the wait list. If a spot opens up and you wish to take it, you will be charged the price difference between commuter pricing and the available room type.

I registered as a commuter. Can you help me book a hotel room?
We will not be assisting with hotel room reservations for commuters. However, we have done some initial Googling and found the following hotels within a 20 minute drive of Pearlstone:

  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Owings Mills-Baltimore Area
    11509 Red Run Blvd
    Reisterstown, MD 21117
  • Hampton Inn Baltimore/Owings Mills
    10521 Red Run Blvd
    Owings Mills, MD 21117
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Baltimore-Owings Mills
    10620 Red Run Blvd
    Owings Mills, MD 21117
  • Hilton Garden Inn Owings Mills
    4770 Owings Mills Blvd
    Owings Mills MD 21117

I think my employer, family member, friend, or long-lost relative might support me in coming to this retreat, but I need to check. Do I have to pay when I register?
At checkout, you can choose to pay online by credit card, or to mail in a check. Checks must be sent in within three (3) weeks of registration. We will not send you an invoice or reminder, so please make sure to keep a record for yourself. Your registration will expire and we will release your room if we do not receive your check within the three-week window.

I’m not sure if I count as a “like-minded or like-hearted” friend of IJS. Who should I talk to?
Send an email to Rabbi Marc Margolius at (We’re sure you’ll be welcome!)

I’m registered for the retreat. Where can I find information about travel and how to prepare for the retreat?
For travel and transportation information about this retreat, please see the section above.
A complete packing list can be found here. We will also send registered participants information by email about what to bring, and how to prepare, in advance of the retreat.

I registered and have questions about the retreat. Who do I contact?
For questions about the content of the retreat, please contact Rabbi Marc Margolius:
For general retreat questions, please contact Liat Melnick, Retreat & Programs Manager: