Clergy Leadership Program

Cohort 6 Information & Application

Applications are no longer being accepted

Your role as a Jewish spiritual leader is complex and demanding, and the needs of the Jewish community, and the world at large, are increasingly urgent. The past number of years have been particularly challenging, with the situation growing more difficult since October 7, 2023. Many clergy are feeling spiritually and emotionally depleted.

For twenty five years, the IJS Clergy Leadership Program has been providing clergy like you with immersive training in time-honored Jewish spiritual practices grounded in mindfulness in the context of a caring, supportive community of like-minded colleagues–to promote personal transformation and professional growth. In addition to filling your inner well, reconnecting with your body as a locus of spiritual work and healing, and rekindling a sense of sacred purpose, you will develop the knowledge and skills to continue your dedicated service to your congregants and communities with enriched consciousness, character, and connection to your sacred core and the Divine.

If you are an ordained clergy member serving in a position of spiritual leadership – as a rabbi, cantor, educator, entrepreneur, Hillel professional, activist, ritualist, or executive – you are eligible to participate in this immersive, retreat-based program to deepen your spiritual life and the spiritual lives of the people in your community through an array of Jewish spiritual practices grounded in mindfulness, conducted in the context of a caring and supportive community.

Join the more than 530 other Jewish professionals who have studied and practiced with IJS through our Clergy Leadership Program (CLP). You will be part of a cohort of 40 clergy in an intensive program designed to deepen your spiritual life.

 

IJS is committed to creating a physically and emotionally safe and respectful environment for all of its participants. As an expression of this commitment, all applicants to the CLP are required to be members of a professional organization that has clear protocols for adjudicating any claim of ethical impropriety. Applicants who are not members of such an organization must submit proof of having joined one prior to being accepted into the program.

Program Information

Over the course of eighteen months, participants live and learn together for four retreats lasting five days. Retreats combine prayer, mindfulness meditation, text study, group discussion, singing/chanting, spiritual direction, and embodied practice. Participants learn and practice through personal introspection, group discussion, paired study, and deep listening. They also receive one-on-one guidance with faculty members. The winter retreats take place in January at a retreat center outside of Los Angeles; the summer retreats take place in July on the east coast. Food is certified kosher.

The periods between retreats are an essential part of the program. Participants continue to learn and grow through sustained practice of mindfulness meditation or yoga/mindful movement, a guided program of weekly chevruta study, and regular mentorship with faculty.

Practice Self-Care

The Jewishly-grounded mindfulness practices that IJS teaches will help you learn to slow down, still yourself, and hold your own heart with compassion. As you cultivate inner quiet, you will deepen your access to a nourishing inner source of clarity, vitality, sacred purpose, and loving connection. The spiritual practices you learn in community on retreat and sustain during the interim periods between retreats will help you show up in your personal and professional life with greater calm, balance, clarity, and resilience. This, in turn, will help you respond with greater wisdom and compassion to the many demands and challenges of life in general, and life as a Jewish spiritual leader in particular. Special attention will be paid to the needs of Jews of Color, LGBTQ+, and participants with disabilities to ensure space and program content that promotes their well-being and centers their experiences and spiritual needs.

Cultivate Dimensions of the Soul

The Clergy Leadership Program is designed to help you grow in consciousness and character. You will explore ideas about the nature of the spiritual self and God through study and discussion – and experientially through meditation, prayer, song, yoga/mindful movement, and spiritual direction. Text study focuses primarily on the Hasidic tradition as a source of inspiration and practical instruction, taught in a Neo-Hasidic idiom that is fully egalitarian and inclusive. Prayer and meditation are informed by both classical Rabbinic and Hasidic traditions. At the same time, our faculty aspire to center and elevate marginalized Jewish voices and experiences. Over time, the program will help you develop greater access to your inner life, leading to greater authenticity and equanimity grounded in compassion for self and others, and resulting in more flexible, responsive, and skilled leadership.

Grow in Community

One of the most important ingredients in sustaining spiritual growth is the support and care of community. Over the program’s eighteen months, we cultivate a strong sense of community, with members who support each other’s growth and practice in an atmosphere of safety, honesty, and depth. You will be guided in your spiritual development through periodic calls with faculty, learning and practicing with a chevruta partner, and larger group meetings.

Faculty

 

CLP faculty members include Rabbis Sam Feinsmith (he/him), Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife (she/they), Miriam Margles (she/her), Dorothy Richman(she/her), Cantor Lizzie Shammash (she/her). They are students, teachers, and practitioners of an array of Jewish spiritual practices grounded in mindfulness, including Hasidic, Kabbalistic, and contemporary Jewish meditation; devotional and liturgical music and chant; contemplative prayer; spiritual direction; yoga/embodied practice; earth-based practices; tikkun middot (character refinement) practices; and study of the Hasidic masters. Additional faculty may be added to individual retreats.

 

My experience in the CLP gave me the mindset, vocabulary, and practices which sustained me through the worst of the pandemic years

and which sustain me still. It is to the CLP that I owe this sense of self-awareness, curiosity, and commitment to being present.

– Cantor Josh Breitzer, CLP Alum, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn, NY

Applications Are Now Closed

Clergy Leadership Program