Discover How to Bring More Resiliency, Empathy and Connection to Judaism to Your Students (and You!)
Because You Can Only Give What You Authentically Have
As educators, we already know the importance of being strong and positive role models. After all, students learn at least as much from what we do as they do from what we say.
If we wish our students to develop self-awareness; develop resilience and empathy even in stressful times; connect more deeply to themselves, others and God; and ultimately to lead purposeful lives . . . we must embody the same mindful habits and skills.
We must “walk the mindful walk.”
Without doing so, we run the risk of undercutting what we hope to teach by modeling mindlessness and reactivity.
For instance, if we tell our students to pay attention but then distractedly check our phone throughout the day, the students will take in a lesson of distraction. If we impatiently raise our voice at our students to quiet down, they will learn aggression rather than regulation.
But by walking the mindful walk, we can transform how students engage with their families, friends, teachers – and ultimately their communities and the larger world.
We are the teachers, but we are also the lessons.
Bringing Mindfulness to Your Classroom Begins with Having Your Own Jewish Mindfulness Practice
And You Can Start with Just 5 Minutes a Day
You may already have been sensing that mindfulness is exactly what’s needed to help you and your students navigate the complex challenges of our modern world and the world of tomorrow.
Yet you likely need guidance to know just how to do that in a non-secular, Jewish way. And you may also wonder how, as a busy educator, you’ll find the time and the support you need to establish a mindfulness practice of your own and skillfully apply it inside your classroom.
That’s why the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a global leader in teaching Jewish mindfulness and spiritual practices, has created The Gift of Awareness for Educators a first-of-its-kind, self-paced, online meditation course that offers new access to expanded awareness to support you in becoming more consistently who you want to be in the world so you can empower your students to do the same . . . all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Here’s how it works . . . during The Gift of Awareness for Educators, IJS’ director of the Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life program for Jewish day schools and religious schools, and former high school teacher, Rabbi Sam Feinsmith and Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell will expertly guide you each step of the way through establishing a Jewish mindfulness meditation practice that can support you in:
- Walking the mindful walk – by authentically modeling Kavvanah (intention) and Teshuvah (returning) in your classroom
- Showing up non-reactively in your life and in the classroom – by listening for the Torah of the body
- Showing up non-judgmentally in your life and in the classroom – by relating to your students as mirrors
- Finding an anchor of peace and positivity in stressful situations – in the classroom (or anywhere)
- Being a powerful example of resiliency, empathy and connection – in your classroom, in your life, and in the world
Here’s What People Who’ve Established a Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Practice Tell Us About How It’s Transformed Their Lives
“I am much calmer, patient, and in the moment with my students. When I am distracted, I notice and name it – this models this behavior for the students of recognizing when one is distracted and refocusing.”
“I gained so many skills. Pausing; non-reactive responses; taking deep breaths; thinking before saying; focusing and noticing choices; gratitude; food appreciation; more attention to all the beauties in life and the holy world around us.”
“I have learned so many different ways to practice Jewish mindfulness with kids in the classroom. It’s allowed me to choose which activity would be the best in the moment. The overall impact has been overwhelmingly amazing-the kids will often ask for favorite mindfulness activities, and they are now much better able to explain how they are feeling about something.”
The Gift of Awareness for Educators
A Session-by-Session Course Overview
Here’s a closer look at everything you’ll cover:
Modules One through Eight will support you in becoming firmly grounded in your own Jewish mindfulness meditation practice. These modules will be delivered to you with a one week gap between teachings given each session builds on the next and we want you feel relaxed, inspired and confident in each new skill before moving on to the next.
Every module is between 30 and 45 minutes in length, and includes:
- Video teachings with Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
- A text study with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
- A guided meditation
- A mindful life practice
- Reflection questions and discussion forums
- A supplemental handout.
Waking Up to Your Life
From Automatic Pilot to Intention
From Distracted to Present
Listening to Your Body
From Thinking to Sensing
Once you have finished the first three modules you may notice . . .
- You’ve begun moving through your life more intentionally, instead of being on automatic pilot
- You find it easier to anchor your attention to be more present
- You’ve become better able to notice your mental habits and unsupportive thought patterns that habitually move you into reactivity and away from feeling calm and centered.
Turning Towards the Stream of Your Emotions
From Reactivity to Responsiveness
Working with Difficult Emotions
From Avoidance to Approaching
Once you have finished Modules Four and Five you may notice . . .
- You’re better able to identify emotions in your body, such as “Oh, I must be feeling sadness because there’s sensation in the pit of my stomach” or “My face is flushing, which means I’m feeling angry.”
- You’re more in tune with your emotions and able to know precisely what you’re feeling moment by moment, instead of having only a vague sense of ease or uneasiness.
- You’re more able to cultivate non-judgemental attention to your own emotions, allowing you to be more responsive instead of getting stuck in emotionality and reactivity.
Befriending Your Own Mind
From Conviction to Curiosity
Cultivating Your Loving Heart
From Judgment to Compassion
Resting in Shabbat Mind™
From Doing to Being
Once you have finished Module Six you may notice . . .
- You’re more able to be the observer of your thoughts and the student of your habits instead of believing those thoughts and habits are what define you.
- As you realize more clearly that you’re not actually your thoughts and mental habits, you become more in touch with who you really are.
Once you have finished Module Seven you may notice . . .
- You’re better able to cultivate loving emotions when you need them — the kind of emotions that open the heart and leave the mind feeling spacious and connected.
- You’re better able to skillfully handle emotions (like anger) that distort your ability to see clearly.
Once you have finished Module Eight you may notice . . .
- You’re better able to de-stress, regulate and strengthen your attention, and practice emotional self-regulation.
- You feel more resourced, restored and supported as you do your work and live your life.
Showing Up Mindfully
Modeling Kavvanah (intention) and Teshuvah(returning) in the Classroom
Showing up Non-Reactively
Listening for the Torah of the Body
Showing Up Non-Judgmentally
Relating to Students as Mirrors
Once you have finished Modules Nine through Eleven, you may notice . . .
- You’re able to show up for your students more intentionally, lovingly and non-reactively.
Mindfulness in the Classroom
Mindfulness in the Classroom
Finding an Anchor in the Storm
Once you have finished Modules Twelve and Thirteen, you may notice . . .
- You’re able to both model and teach your students mindfulness through mindful moments.
Course Materials and Resources
When you register, you’ll get access to everything you need to take full advantage of the self-paced course, including:
- 7 hours of 3-8 minute, self-paced video teaching sessions (approximately 4 videos per module)
- 13 sets of reflection questions and a personal online journal
- 13 guided meditation practices
- 13 “mindful life” practices—designed to help you integrate the course teachings into your everyday life and classroom
- Downloadable handouts for each module—so you can reference these powerful teachings anytime
- An online meditation timer into which you can load your favorite guided meditations from the course—so you can practice them again and again
The Gift of Awareness for Educators
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About Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith is a Program Director at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, co-directing the Clergy Leadership Program and the Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life program for Jewish day schools and religious schools. Previously, he taught Judaic Studies at Chicagoland Jewish High School, Illinois, and the Heschel School in NY, where he did cutting-edge work on teen spirituality and mindfulness. He holds rabbinic ordination from YCT Rabbinical School and an MA in Talmud from JTS. He is a co-founder and meditation teacher at Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning, and has served as a consultant on a number of innovative prayer and minyan-related projects. He served as a Kol Tzedek Fellow for American Jewish World Service, and volunteered in Cambodia with their Volunteer Corps. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife Sarah-Bess and their daughter Elanit.
About Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell is Director and Rabbi of Camp Ramah in Canada. He served on the faculty of IJS for seven years, directing the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program. Jordan was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2008, after which he served as a congregational rabbi and began interning with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Prior to pursuing his rabbinical studies, Jordan studied Conservation Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, spent several months at Zen centers in California and France, led spiritually engaged Jewish backpacking trips, worked at a number of Jewish summer camps and studied Jewish text at yeshivot in Jerusalem. Jordan is a founder of the Center for Jewish Mindfulness in Chicago, now a part of Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning.
About the Institute for Jewish Spirituality
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) teaches people who are seeking a deeper, richer and more meaningful life experience Jewish spiritual practices that are grounded in mindfulness. We do this by reclaiming texts and practices from contemplative Jewish traditions, including various forms of mindfulness meditation, yoga, singing, contemplative prayer and working with middot (better aligning our behaviors with our innermost values) — all taught within a Jewish context.
We believe that people who engage in Jewish spiritual practices that are grounded in mindfulness are better equipped to contribute to building Jewish communities that are vibrant, resilient and wise. They are also better able to navigate and meaningfully address the brokenness and complex challenges of our world.
By making these teachings and practices widely available, we seek to cultivate mindfulness, deepen connection to ourselves, each other and even God, and to enliven Jewish life.