Applications are no longer being accepted
The next cohort will begin in January 2025
Cohort 5: January 2023 – July 2024
IJS introduced me to a form of Jewish spirituality
that has enhanced my rabbinate and my life in such profound ways.
I’m so grateful to pay it forward to my community.
– Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, Central Synagogue, New York, NY
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 two years have been particularly challenging and many clergy are spiritually and emotionally depleted. As clergy, you need ways to renew and reenergize in order to continue your sacred service to your congregants and communities. The IJS Clergy Leadership Program is designed to help you.
If you are an ordained clergy member serving in a position of spiritual leadership – as a rabbi, cantor, kohenet, educator, 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 loving and supportive community.
Join the more than 500 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.
Over the course of eighteen months, participants live and learn together for four retreats lasting five days. Retreats combine prayer, meditation, text study, group discussion, singing/chanting, and embodied practice. Participants learn and practice through 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 contact with faculty.
The 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 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 JOC, LGBTQ+, and participants with disabilities to ensure space and program content that promotes their well-being.
Cultivating 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 the soul dimension of your being, leading to greater authenticity as well as equanimity grounded in compassion for self and others, all leading to more flexible, responsive, and skilled leadership.
Grow in Community
One of the most important ingredients in sustaining spiritual growth is the support 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 supported in your spiritual development through periodic calls with faculty, learning and practicing with a chevruta partner, and larger group meetings.
CLP faculty members include Rabbis Sam Feinsmith (he/him), Myriam Klotz (she/they), and Dorothy Richman(she/her), and Cantors Richard Cohn (he/him) and Elizabeth Shammash (she/her). They are students, teachers and practitioners of Hasidic, Kabbalistic and modern Jewish texts, devotional and liturgical music, Jewish meditation, spiritual direction, yoga/embodied practice, and psycho-spiritual growth. Additional faculty may be added to individual retreats.
The faculty of IJS have become my greatest teachers, rabbis, and mentors.
I went nearly 20 years through rabbinical school and serving as a rabbi without kindred mentors until I began with IJS. My life is forever enriched and nourished because of these extraordinary teachers, who for the first time, speak the language of my Jewish soul.
– CLP Alum
Dates, Location, and Cost
Retreats will begin on Sunday evening and conclude on Friday morning.
Retreat 1: January 22 – 27, 2023
Retreat 2: July 16 – 21, 2023
Retreat 3: January 28 – February 2, 2024
Retreat 4: July 14 – 19, 2024
Tuition includes all program and retreat costs, including room and board. All participants stay in single rooms at retreats. We offer tuition at three levels. Level 1 covers the full cost of your participation.
Level 1: 4 payments of $3,250
Level 2: 4 payments of $2,250
Level 3: 4 payments of $1,500
Participants commit to a single tuition level for the full extent of the program. Tuition will be split into four equal payments. The first payment is due upon commitment to the program, and subsequent payments are due at the time of registration for the last three retreats.
Financial Support: Financial support is available upon request. Jews of Color, LGBTQ+, and participants with disabilities will receive priority support.
Clergy Leadership Program
For more information, please contact Rabbi Sam Feinsmith at (646) 851-0133 ext. 012 or [email protected]. The full course brochure is available below: