Learning Together with IJS

IJS provides the teachings. You facilitate. Your members learn together.

Bring the transformative benefits of Jewish mindfulness and spiritual practices to your synagogue or organization—online.

The benefits of engaging in mindfulness practices have been well-documented, including a decrease in stress and anxiety, greater resilience, and a sense of interconnection—all important in these challenging times.

The Jewish framework provides a deep-rooted sense of comfort along with the wisdom that Jewish teachings and traditions have to offer. Jewish mindfulness practice—be it meditation, character-building, mindful prayer or heartfelt Torah study, brings Judaism into everyday life in powerful and practical ways—as we engage heart, body, mind and soul.

Now, with our Learning Together program, you can bring these transformative benefits to your community in a format that invites group study and connection.

The Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS), renowned for its flagship retreats, is using online technology to make its unique and life-changing content available to synagogues and other Jewish organizations across the country and around the world.

To get started, your group has a choice of two online courses:

The Gift of Awareness: Cultivating Mindfulness through Jewish Meditation
IJS’s foundational mindfulness course

Awareness in Action: Cultivating Character through Mindfulness and Middot
Align your innermost values with how you want to be in the world.

Both courses:

  • Are designed for beginners, but the rich content is suitable for everyone
  • Require no knowledge of Hebrew
  • Feature teachings by expert faculty
  • Include mindfulness practices that connect directly to daily life
  • Provide reflection questions

Course 1: The Gift of Awareness sample module

There are 8 course modules.

Each module is 35-45 minutes in length with each video 2-10 minutes in length.

The course is taught by master teachers Rabbis Jordan Bendat-Appell and Sam Feinsmith.

What are the Gift of Awareness course videos like?

Here is Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell telling the story of “The Friendly Neighbor and the Ticking Clock” at the beginning of Module 1.

Here is Rabbi Sam Feinsmith teaching the related Module 1 text study: “Between Heaven and Earth: Embodying Jacob’s Ladder.”

Course 2: Awareness in Action sample module

There are 8 course modules—one for each middah taught in the course: Chesed (loving connection), Gevurah (wise boundaries), Anavah (balanced self), Zerizut (energetic response), Hodayah (gratitude), Tzedek (righteousness), Sh’mirat HaDibbur (mindful speech), and Emunah (trustworthiness).

The course is taught by master teachers Rabbis Marc Margolius and Lisa Goldstein.

What are the Awareness in Action course videos like?

Here is Rabbi Marc Margolius telling the story of “Survival of the Fittest on the New Jersey Turnpike” at the beginning of Module 1.

Here is Rabbi Lisa Goldstein teaching the related Module 1 text study: “Divine Kindness Fill the World.”

The courses are delivered through IJS’s learning platform, which includes a Course Dashboard with the following features:

  • Store your favorite meditations in the IJS Meditation Timer, including chants from Awareness in Action
  • Find someone in the course with whom to study and share your experiences—and keep each other on track
  • Converse online with your course-mates
  • Keep an online journal
  • Find the course resources, including handouts
  • See who else is in the course
  • Ask your teacher a question (there is an IJS faculty member assigned to each online course)

Learning Together: How It Works

A Fee that covers a one-year period is paid to IJS is based on the number of members/families in your organization or synagogue with a $750 minimum and $1,500 maximum.

Total Fee:
750 members or less: $750
751+: $750 plus $1.00/additional member with a maximum fee of $1,500

For example:
450 members = $750 (the minimum)
860 members = $860 ($750 plus 110 x $1.00)
2,000 members = $1,500 (the maximum)

Benefit 1: 20 Free Course Registrations

Twenty (20) free registrations (total) for The Gift of Awareness and/or Awareness in Action. Use all twenty free registrations for one course or split them, e.g., 10 & 10 or 15 & 5. The free registrations are good for one year.

A free registration is also provided for the group facilitator.

Have more than 20 participants for your facilitated group(s)? It’s $50 per person for each additional registration.

Create a learning group around IJS’s foundational Jewish mindfulness meditation course and/or its tikkun middot “be your best self” course. Or, simply provide your members with the exceptional pricing.

Benefit 2: 20% Discount for Other Online Programs

A 20% discount on all IJS online courses and programs. This discount is available to all members of your community independent from the facilitated group you may be running.

In addition to The Gift of Awareness and Awareness in Action, other online course offerings include:

  • Mindful prayer practice
  • Heart-centered Torah study
  • Special programs around preparing for the High Holidays (Elul) and the period between Passover and Shavuot (the Omer)
  • Online retreats

And IJS will provide marketing materials.

Whether it’s to help your members cope with the isolation, angst, and alterations to daily life or to offer a deeper, richer way to be present, moment-to-moment—to experience the joy—to be our best selves—to feel connected, Learning Together is the perfect way to bring Jewish mindfulness practices to your synagogue or organization.

To register for Learning Together,
please fill out the enrollment form below.

In addition to your Invoice, upon receipt of your Enrollment Form you will receive:

  • 2 codes (codes are good for one year):
    • One code for the 20 free registrations plus one for the Facilitator and any extras you request
    • One code for the 20% discount off the current IJS course price for individual self-study
  • Facilitator tips for The Gift of Awareness and Awareness in Action
  • Marketing materials: Banner and sample e-blast

  • For which course would you like the 20 free course codes?
    You can split the 20 between the 2 courses, e.g., 10 and 10.
  • Payment
  • ($750 minimum plus $1.00 for each member over 750 with a $1,500 maximum. You’ll receive a free one for the Facilitator.)
  • Promoting the Learning Together discount to your community members: Participating organizations agree to periodically promote IJS online courses and retreats to their community as they become available throughout the year. Your special code will provide individual participants with a 20% discount. In-person retreats are not discounted.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enroll in Learning Together at any time?

Yes. But the sooner you enroll, the sooner your community will be able to start taking advantage of the 20% discount on all of IJS’s online courses.

What happens after I submit my Enrollment Form?

You’ll receive an Invoice from IJS (pay by credit card or check) and the course coupon codes (free and 20% discount), registration link, registration instructions for group participants, Facilitator Tips, and marketing materials.

Does the Facilitator have to pay?

No. The Facilitator can use the free coupon code (you’re actually receiving a free coupon code for 21 participants).

What happens if I have more than 20 people who want to participate in the facilitated group?

Wonderful. The cost is $50 per person for each additional person—a $100 per person savings off the current Covid price of $149.

Does IJS register my participants?

Participants register as if they were enrolling in the course on their own. When it comes time to pay, they enter the coupon code, which will reduce their payment amount to $0.

I’ve noticed that registration for The Gift of Awareness and Awareness in Action opens and closes. Can I start my facilitated group at any time?

Yes. Learning Together has its own registration links that are not subject to the public registration calendar.

Do the facilitated groups watch the course videos together?

Some groups watch the videos before they come to the group, in which case the group focuses on practicing together, reflection questions, and discussion. Other groups watch two or three of the videos together and then move into practice, reflection questions and discussion. For more information on how you might set-up and run your facilitated groups, please refer to the Facilitator Tips.

Does access to the course materials end after a year?

No. Access to The Gift of Awareness and Awareness in Action continues indefinitely. We hope course participants will return to the teachings. There is an abundance of content in each course. You could even facilitate an advanced group that goes deeper the second time through.

What is the difference between IJS’s tikkun middot practice taught in Awareness in Action and Mussar?

Whereas Mussar views the individual as perpetually engaged in an on-going battle between “good and evil” (yetzer hara-evil inclination) such that the middot are qualities to be attained or acquired, IJS sees the middot as embedded within Creation and ourselves. Grounded in the Jewish mystical tradition, Awareness in Action stresses using mindfulness practice to notice and embrace our inner goodness and shadows, contextually, as we move through life. Additionally, Awareness in Action specifically presents the middot in a sequence that reflects the sephirot (the emanations by which God was said to become manifest), which means the character traits (middot) are more clearly identified as spiritual as well as moral qualities.