Hanukkah: Kindling the Light of Compassion

A Half-Day of Spiritual Practice and Rededication

Sunday, December 5, 2021

12:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Join the IJS faculty and special guest instructors for a half-day of spiritual practice and rededication. We will immerse in a range of Jewish spiritual modalities (mindfulness meditation, embodied/somatic practice, text-based practice, writing practice, and chanting), all designed to help us cultivate our innate capacity to respond more compassionately in our daily lives, as well as to our great social and planetary challenges.

The online retreat will be led by IJS faculty members Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, Rabbi Myriam Klotz, Rabbi Marc Margolius, Michal Fox Smart, and Rabbi Jonathan Slater, with special guest faculty Dr. Joy Ladin.

In that spirit, please join IJS on Sunday, December 5, 2021 from 12:00 – 3:30 PM ET

The program cost is $99 and includes a practice track of your choice.


This online retreat is open to everyone – beginners and those with more experience, including alumni of IJS programs.


Please see below for full-time student and educator rates. If you require financial support to participate, please contact [email protected].

Practice Tracks

Track 1: Kindling Compassion Towards Creation

Led by Michal Fox Smart, IJS Chief Program Officer and Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, IJS Program Director
According to Jewish tradition, the world is not a fortuitous cosmic accident. The world is created in love and beheld in its goodness, sustained and created anew every moment. Through text study, journaling, movement, meditation and music, we will renew our compassionate relationship to our planet and fellow creatures, not as the “climate” or “environment”, resources to be used, or problems to be solved, but as a unified community of which we are a part.

Track 2: Compassion’s Glance: Writing and Embodied Practices to Engender Kindness Towards Ourselves and Others

Led by Rabbi Myriam Klotz, IJS Senior Program Director, and Dr. Joy Ladin
How do we nurture the courage to turn towards ourselves with compassion and love each day, no matter the sometimes challenging external circumstances of our lives? Through creative writing and movement exercises, discussion and study, we will explore what happens when we center compassion over constriction as a spiritual practice.

Track 3: Who Kindles the Light of Compassion?

Torah Study with Rabbi Jonathan Slater, IJS Senior Program Director
The Jewish mystical tradition intuits that everything comes from God (through “arousal from above” and the flow of blessing from the depths of Divinity), yet human effort is essential (through “arousal from below” and human ethical choice). So when we wish to deepen our capacity for compassion, where do we turn: to God or to ourselves? We will study texts that might help us suss out our own responses to this question.


We are no longer offering Track 4 with Aviva Chernick due to a scheduling conflict. We apologize for the inconvenience and trust you will find our other tracks meaningful and engaging.


All times are listed in ET

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM
We’ll begin our half-day of practice together, setting intention and creating community.

12:15 PM – 1:00 PM: Torah Study
We will study a passage from the traditional liturgy with Rabbi Marc Margolius, to support the practice of sitting in and refracting the light of Divine Compassion.

1:05 PM – 2:45 PM: Individual Tracks
Everyone will devote this time to the spiritual practice of their choice per the three tracks listed above.

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM: Break

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Closing Session
The day ends with a beautiful, communal candle-lighting ceremony.

Retreat Faculty

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Program Director, IJS

Michal Fox Smart
Chief Program Officer, IJS

Rabbi Myriam Klotz
Senior Program Director, IJS

Joy Ladin, PhD
Teacher, Widely Published Essayist and Poet, and Literary Scholar

Rabbi Marc Margolius
Senior Program Director, IJS

Rabbi Jonathan Slater
Senior Program Director, IJS

Educator Rate: $49
Full-Time Student Rate: $18

If you are a student or educator, please fill out the appropriate form below for instructions on how to register at a discounted rate.

Are You an Educator?

Are You a Full-Time Student?