IJS Programs

August 2023 – July 2024

Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, IJS is here for you! Join the IJS community – and plan ahead now for a year of learning, practice, and growth.

To receive notification when registration opens for these courses, please fill out the form.

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New to IJS or Jewish mindfulness?

Here are two suggested learning pathways for engaging with our offerings in the coming year:

Experienced with IJS programs or Jewish mindfulness and looking for new offerings?

Consider these offerings:

— ALL YEAR —
Text Study: Delving into Torah, Seeding a Heart of Practice: Practicing with the Netivot Shalom on the Weekly Torah Portion

Preparing for the New Year

NEW AND FREE!

The Shofar Project 5783: Getting Real for the New Year

Sunday, August 13 – Friday, September 15
Live Sessions: 5 Tuesdays, 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET, starting August 15

Prepare your inner life for the upcoming Jewish New Year with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality faculty and community!

Over a five-week period leading up to Rosh Hashanah, IJS faculty (Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, Rabbi Myriam Klotz, Rabbi Miriam Margles, and Rabbi Marc Margolius) will guide participants in ongoing Jewish spiritual practice grounded in teachings drawn from This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared, by Rabbi Alan Lew. This free program includes weekly written teachings, weekly live practice sessions, a private Google discussion group, and the option to learn with a chevrutah, or practice partner.

NEW AND FREE!

Getting Real for a New Year: A Study and Practice Group for Young Adults

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rebecca Schisler
Sunday, August 13 – Friday, September 22
Live Sessions: 5 Mondays, 8:00 – 9:15 PM ET, starting August 14

The high holiday season invites us into a powerful journey of returning to our most authentic selves if we are ready and willing to do so.

Over a five-week period leading up to Rosh Hashana, join an intimate group of folks in their 20s and 30s to share in ongoing Jewish spiritual practice grounded in teachings drawn from This is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared, by Rabbi Alan Lew. This program includes weekly written teachings, live virtual sessions to cultivate connection and practice in community, a Whatsapp group, and the option to learn and practice with a chevrutah, or study partner.

Free Opportunities All Year Long

Jewish tradition offers rich, accessible, and time-tested resources to cope with moments like these. The Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which has pioneered the development and teaching of Jewish mindfulness practices for over 20 years, is here for you now. We are offering the following resources FREE to our community. Click here to sign up for any of these free offerings!

Daily Meditation Sit

Monday – Friday, 12:30 – 1:00 PM ET, live on Zoom or on demand on the IJS YouTube channel

Weekly Yoga Studio

Mondays, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET, live on Zoom or on demand on the IJS YouTube channel

Josh’s Weekly Reflections

Weekly writings from Rabbi Josh Feigelson delivered right to your inbox

Jews of Color Monthly Mindfulness Sit

Co-Sponsored by Mitsui Collective, Wednesdays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM ET

LGBTQ+ Monthly Mindfulness Sit

Co-Sponsored by Keshet, Wednesdays, 3:00 – 3:45 PM ET

Soulful Jewish Living: Mindful Practices for Every Day

Podcast presented in partnership with Unpacked, a division of OpenDor Media
New Episodes Every Tuesday

Overstressed, overworked, overstimulated? Close your eyes, take a deep breath and tune in. In each episode, IJS President & CEO Rabbi Josh Feigelson will guide with ancient wisdom and modern mindfulness practices to help center your soul and ease you into your week. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

In Conversation Series with Rabbi Josh Feigelson

All events live at 8:00 PM ET on Zoom

October 17, 2023

Rabbi Benay Lappe, founder and president of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, reflects on Torah study as a spiritual practice.

February 13, 2024

Rabbi Toba Spitzer discusses her book, God is Here: Reimagining the Divine, about which she will teach an online course for IJS in the spring.

April 15, 2024

Rabbi Shai Held discusses his new book, Judaism Is About Love: Reclaiming the Heart of Jewish Life.

May 15, 2024

Rabbi Sharon Brous discusses her new book, The Amen Effect.

Daily Sit Week-Long Meditation Intensives

Monday – Friday, 12:30 – 1:15 PM ET, live on Zoom or on demand on the IJS YouTube channel.

Join the IJS faculty and outstanding guest instructors for a series of week-long mindfulness “intensives,” five consecutive daily meditations led by one teacher on a single theme, usually connected to that season in the Jewish calendar. Designed for those with prior Jewish mindfulness meditation experience, but accessible as well for those with little or no meditation background.

September 11 – 14
Elul: Teshuvah
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

October 2 – 4
Sukkot: Habits of the Heart
Rabbi Josh Feigelson

December 11 – 15
Hanukkah
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari

January 22 – 26
Tu Bishvat
Rebecca Schisler

February 26 – March 1
Adar
Rabba Dr. Mira Neshamah Weil

March 18 – 22
Purim
Rabbi Marc Margolius

April 15 – 19
Pesach
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

May 13 – 17
Omer
Rabbi Marc Margolius

June 3 – 7
Shavuot/Revelation
Rabbi Miriam Margles

 

Online Courses

Open all year at any time

The Gift of Awareness: Cultivating Mindfulness through Jewish Meditation

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith and Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell

This 8-session course is the perfect introduction to Jewish mindfulness meditation, a practice that can help you become more present to your life and to find greater meaning.

Each of the 8 modules includes video teachings by Rabbi Bendat-Appell, text study with Rabbi Feinsmith, a guided meditation, a “mindful life” practice, reflection questions, and a supplemental handout.

Registration Opens Soon

Registration Opens Soon

NEW

Sacred Action: Bringing Contemplative Jewish Practice to Justice Work

Offered by Or HaLev and co-sponsored by IJS and Pardes North America
October 2 – November 13
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Joshua Blaine
Live Sessions: 6 Mondays, 6:00 – 7:30 PM ET, starting October 2

This series will be a space for activists, organizers, and other justice-seekers to explore how contemplative practice can inform our work for social change.

In each session, we will integrate embodied practice — including mindfulness, blessing practice, and contemplative prayer — with learning and reflection. To learn more, visit orhalev.net.

NEW

Introduction to Contemplative Prayer

Rabbi Miriam Margles
October 15 – November 10
Live Sessions: 4 Thursdays, 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET, starting October 19

Join us for an accessible, heart-opening introduction to contemplative Jewish prayer, building on eight episodes from IJS’s 55-episode podcast series, “Open My Heart: Living Jewish Prayer,” conceived and hosted by Rabbi Jonathan Slater.

Each of the eight short episodes in this course is led by a different teacher and introduces a unique prayer practice. Find your own authentic and meaningful prayer practice as you explore these practices for yourself. You will receive accompanying sources for each episode to support your learning. Each week, participants will gather on Zoom with Rabbi Miriam Margles for live practice and reflection together, connecting in community, and the opportunity to ask questions.

NEW

A Guide to Buddhism for the Perplexed Jewish Meditator

Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson
October 15 – December 1
Live Sessions: 6 Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET, starting October 17

As is well known, mindfulness meditation originated in Buddhist contemplative traditions over 2,500 years ago. Since then, the theory and practices of mindfulness have evolved in many ways, first within Asian religious traditions, and later in Western spiritual and secular contexts.

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality invites you to learn with journalist, scholar, and meditation teacher Rabbi Dr. Jay Michaelson in a six-week online course. Through text study and discussion, we’ll learn about the teachings of Buddhism that have influenced contemporary mindfulness, and explore their original contexts. Which goals, methods, and worldviews are similar to Jewish mindfulness, and which diverge? How might we wisely navigate the process of integration? All questions, backgrounds, doubts, and curiosities are welcome – our aim is to enrich whatever Jewish, BuJu, or other forms of mindfulness and meditation you practice.

Text Study

All Learners

Living Torah Each Day Through Mindfulness and Middot

Rabbi Marc Margolius
Starts October 8 and continues for a full year
Weekly Live Sessions: Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM ET, starting October 10

Immerse this year in tikkun middot practice, combining mindfulness with application of a middah (soul/character trait) drawn from the weekly Torah portion, with Rabbi Marc Margolius and the IJS community.

Each week, participants will receive a packet of materials with Rabbi Margolius’s teaching on the Torah portion, a recorded audio guided meditation, specific suggestions for applying the middah in daily life, and additional resources for exploring the week’s middah through poetry, Jewish prayer, and a playlist of popular music reflecting the theme of the week.

Seasoned Learners

Delving into Torah, Seeding a Heart of Practice: Practicing with the Netivot Shalom on the Weekly Torah Portion

Rabbi Miriam Margles (based on translations and teachings by Rabbi Jonathan Slater)
Starts October 8 and continues for a full year
Weekly Live Sessions: Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET, starting October 11

This year, immerse in a Torah-based community of practice guided by Rabbi Miriam Margles grounded in the teachings of the Netivot Shalom – the Hasidic Torah commentary of Rabbi Shalom Noah Berezovsky of Slonim (1911 - 2000), translated and explicated by Rabbi Jonathan Slater.

This year-long program will feature weekly written lessons with original translations and explications of the Netivot Shalom by Rabbi Slater, enriched and deepened by additional resources and materials and live weekly practice sessions led by Rabbi Margles. (The written materials by Rabbi Slater were originally offered by IJS in 2010-11.)

Awaken: Essential Jewish Mindfulness

Rebecca Schisler, Rabbi Marc Margolius, and Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
November 12 – December 15
Live sessions: 5 Wednesdays 3:00 – 4:15 PM ET, starting November 15

Our signature five-week introduction to practicing mindfulness from a Jewish perspective, Awaken is designed to help participants reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and remain open-hearted in challenging times.

Through online materials and weekly live seasons with IJS core faculty, be part of a safe and supportive community of practice learning habits of heart, mind, body, and spirit to foster well-being and align participants with their deepest, authentic selves. No prior experience required.

NEW

Flourish for Jewish Communal Professionals

Yael Shy and Rabbi Miriam Margles
January 8 – April 1, 2024
Opening online retreat, January 8, 2:00 – 5:00 PM ET
Closing online retreat, April 1, 2:00 – 5:00 PM ET
Live Sessions: 12 Sessions on Mondays or Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:15 PM ET, starting January 8

Rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and other Jewish communal professionals are invited to join author and master mindfulness teacher Yael Shy and Rabbi Miriam Margles of the IJS Core Faculty for a special edition of Flourish,

a transformative 12-week program in Jewish mindfulness designed to renew and deepen participants’ meditation practice, reduce stress and suffering, deepen joy, and provide Jewish mindfulness tools for leadership, resilience, and wisdom in the participants’ workplaces and communities.

It features digestible, clear instructional videos, journaling prompts, guided meditations and weekly live practice sessions to develop connections with other participants and support your Jewish spiritual growth and leadership.

Liturgical Prayer: Discovering Our Own Authentic Service

Rabbi Jonathan Slater
January 14 – February 9
Live Sessions: 4 Thursdays, 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET

One of the greatest treasures of Jewish religious life is the siddur, the prayer book. Yet for many Jews, this book can be an impediment to prayer rather than an invitation.

In this four-week course, you will investigate your own modes of praying through body, heart and mind – and then discover which of the many prayers in the siddur might serve as a vehicle for your native expression. Through our individual practice and collective investigation, you will begin a process of sketching out what might constitute your own matbe’a, our “fixed” structure of prayer, for the sake of nurturing our own deepest kavvanah, our true intention in prayer, and for the sake of connecting in truth with the Jewish tradition.

From My Flesh I See God: Embodying the Amidah

Rabbi Myriam Klotz
February 11 – March 8
Live Sessions: 4 Thursdays, 7:30 – 8:30 PM ET

The Amidah, or Standing Prayer, forms the backbone of daily Jewish liturgical worship.

The physicality of this prayer is essential to its expression. How can we deepen our prayer through physical gesture, presence and posture? What opens in our prayer lives if we expand our intention to pray with the body? In this four-week course, Rabbi Miriam Klotz will guide you in embodied prayer practice, delving more deeply into this central Amidah prayer and its worded intentions.

Hitbodedut: Cultivating Spontaneous Conversations with God

Rabbi David Jaffe
March 17 – April 12
Live Sessions: 4 Fridays, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Talking spontaneously with the Divine every day is a powerful path to spiritual growth.

Over four weeks, Rabbi David Jaffe will help you explore this potent practice called Hitbodedut, starting with small amounts of time and building each week. Daily assignments explore preparing to speak, setting intentions, time and space for practice and closing a session. 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 the Infinite.

Igniting Your Creative Spark: A Workshop Series on Jewish Spirituality & the Arts

Hosted by Rebecca Schisler, with Guest Artists
March 20, 27, April 3, 10
Live Sessions: 4 Wednesdays 8:00 – 9:15 PM ET

The intersection between creativity and spirituality is a vibrant and sacred space, enabling us to expand our understanding of what it means to be human, Jewish, and b’tzelem elohim – innately creative beings, made in the image of our creator.

Join us for four innovative workshops with working Jewish artists, each making a mark in their respective fields. Each workshop starts with a conversation between our host and the guest artist about their creative process and Jewish spirituality. The guest artist will then lead participants in a short artistic exercise — a chance for you to make your own creation.

Registration Opens this Winter

Registration Opens this Winter

Awareness in Action for the Omer

Rabbi Marc Margolius & guest instructors Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, and Rabbi Aaron Weininger
April 7 – June 21
Live Sessions: 9 Wednesdays 3:00-4:15 PM ET, starting April 10

Join IJS for a nine-week program of spiritual and character development, growing more conscious of habitual reactivity and learning to respond instead with wise words and actions informed by middot, innate spiritual character traits.

Running throughout the Omer (the period between the holidays of Passover and Shavuot), this program combines online learning and daily practice prompts with nine live weekly practice session co-led by Rabbi Marc Margolius and one of three guest teachers offering diverse understanding of these middot and the practice: Rabbi Tamara Cohen, Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife, and Rabbi Aaron Weininger.

Registration Opens this Winter

Registration Opens this Winter

NEW

God is Here: Reimagining the Divine

Rabbi Toba Spitzer
April 14 – June 6
Live Sessions: 7 Thursdays, 1:00 – 2:15 PM ET, starting April 18

So many people find they need more words, images, and practices to help them relate to God.

 In this course, Rabbi Toba Spitzer, author of the acclaimed book, God is Here: Reimagining the Divine, will guide you in a deep exploration of metaphors for the Divine in Jewish tradition, such as Water, Voice, Fire, Rock, Cloud, and Becoming. Each week, Rabbi Spitzer will unpack a single metaphor during a live practice session (which will be recorded and available to those who cannot attend), immersing participants in mindfulness practices designed to help you access these pathways to the sacred in your own life. For God believers, non-believers, and all those in between! Participants will receive a copy of God is Here as part of their registration.

Registration Opens this Winter

Registration Opens this Winter

Shema: The Practice of Sacred Listening

Rabbi Myriam Klotz, Rebecca Schisler, and Rabbi Josh Feigelson
June 23 – July 26

Live Sessions: 5 Tuesdays starting June 25, times TBD

Do difficult conversations sometimes leave you wishing you had handled them more skillfully?

Would you like to be less reactive and more engaged when you listen to others? Do you want to be able to listen to people with whom you disagree with less discomfort and more empathy? Shema, meaning “hear” in Hebrew, is a five-week online program to help you cultivate your capacity to listen with deep and sacred awareness to yourself and others, as you explore the four worlds of experience — physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.

Registration Opens this Spring

Registration Opens this Spring

Retreats

Waking Up: Daylong Silent Meditation Retreat

In partnership with Urban Adamah
September 9
At Urban Adamah, Berkeley, CA

Yom Kippur Retreat

In partnership with Or HaLev
Preparing Our Hearts for Yom Kippur
September 20 – 22
On Zoom