New Online Classes from ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal

New Virtual Offerings

In these times of physical distancing, it’s hard to feel connected to our innermost selves. Many of us are doing the best that we can just to stay afloat, and we haven’t had truly engage with our souls. Even though we can’t gather in person at this time, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal invites you to (virtually) join us for Renewing Our Collective Soul: A Virtual Program For Our Times.

Teachers and leaders from all over the globe will host sessions on meditation, embodied movement, spiritual direction, and so much more––gently guiding us virtually to spaces where we can connect with our deepest selves.

All programs are pay-what-you-wish. All donations will directly support the work of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal programming, and we are thankful for any amount you can donate. If you’re unable to make a donation at this time, that’s okay too. We welcome you.

Several of our new offerings are highlighted below and additional offerings will continue to be added, so be sure to check our Facebook, Instagram, and website often.

Date and Time: Monday, May 11 | 8 pm EST (5 pm PST)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (Proceeds will support COVID-19 relief and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Recommendation of $18 to $108 or more!)
Led by: Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and many more!

Description: “And You shall count for yourselves—from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving—seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days…” (Leviticus 23:15-16)

From Passover to Shavuot, Jews count the days with kavannah/intention. Today we are doing this with art, contemporary spiritual teachings, and with more women teachers than ever before in history! From mandalas and singing bowls, to yoga poses and tarot cards, books, and bible women… Come spend an evening with the creative voices of current leaders who can help us interpret the energies of the day according to the Kabbalistic system.

Lag B’Omer, the thirty-third day of the Omer is a special day. It occurs on the 18th day of Iyyar. It is a day that the heavens open to create a bridge to earth for the unification of sacred masculine and feminine energies. Bonfires are lit to reach the skies. We will gather on Zoom to celebrate that day and learn from a number of gifted spiritual leaders, artists and musicians who are forging new paths on the journey, and will help light our spirit fires!

Convened by Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, the presenters include (and there will be more!):

  • Rabbi Yael Levy: Author of Journey Through the Wilderness: A Mindfulness Approach to the Ancient Jewish Practice of Counting the Omer
  • Julie Levitt: Creator of Omer Kavvanot
  • Sarah Waxman: CEO At The Well and author of Daily Omer by Text
  • Spiritual Companion Juliet Spitzer: Creator of Omer Mandalas
  • Spiritual Guide Joy Krauthammer: Creator of Kabbalistic Sephirat HaOmer Psalms of My Soul
  • Rabbi Sarah Leah Mazal Tov and Rabbi Leah Novick: Creators of the Divine Feminine Tree of Life Poster
  • D’vorah Horn-Greenberg: Omer Artist
  • Kohenet Rav Jill Hammer: Author of Omer Calendar of Biblical Women
  • Rabbi Min Kantrowitz: Author of Counting the Omer: a Kabbalistic Meditation Guide
  • Beth Styles: Musician/Artist
  • Abby Lyons: Author of Parents Omer Counter
  • Sheila Firestone: Composer – “Miriam and the Women of the Desert” and CD “Ancient Blue Threads”

And many more to come!

This program will last approximately two hours unless our fires are really lit!

Register Now

Dates and Time: Tuesdays | May 12, May 19, May 26 | 7 – 8 pm EDT
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
All donations will support ALEPH’s new Organic Torah project
Presenter: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit

Description: We’ll learn together an amazing Shavuot Torah by Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, the Piaseczner Rebbe, also known for being the Hasidic Rebbe in the Warsaw Ghetto during the horrific years of the Holocaust. In this Torah he explores how deeply connected we all are, to the point where our very being co-arises with our world. But we are not limited to this physical world—our interconnectedness also includes our spiritual connectedness. In our present crisis we all can feel isolation and fear, and we easily fall into using distractions such as food or screens to find temporary relief. The wisdom of the Piaseczner is to teach us to go deeper and find real, lasting spiritual connections. As we prepare for Shavuot the Piaseczner’s Torah of connection may be just what we need.

All levels of Jewish knowledge welcome! English translation and Hebrew text provided.

Register Here

Hosted by HUC and Temple Beth Zion, Brookline

Composting as a Spiritual Practice: A Practical Approach to Daily Transformation
Dates: Wednesdays | May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10 and June 17
Time: 7 – 8:30 pm EDT
Cost: $90 (Scholarships available for those who need assistance. No one will be turned away for lack of funds)
Instructors: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit and Rabbi Laura Bellows

Description: What is the connection between composting and redemption? Looking to cultivate a low-barrier daily (or weekly) spiritual practice? In this unique class, we will learn both the practical skills of successful, no-smell composting — whether in an apartment or a backyard, and explore Jewish teachings about the spiritual practice of transforming our food “waste” into new growth. Join us as we draw on Jewish composting wisdom going back to biblical times, and relating to the ecological and spiritual needs of today. All levels of composting experience welcome.

Register Now

Sponsored by The Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism

Dates: A four-session program | May 6, May 13, May 20 and May 27
Morning classes at 9 am – 11 am EDT
Evening classes 7 pm – 9 pm EDT
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (100% of donations go directly to supporting ALEPH) $100 donation recommended
Presenter: Rabbi Jeff Roth

Description: We are living in a unique period of history when all our routines are different, in which the situation can be used for growth or could result in fear and confusion. A Jewish meditation practice can give you the tools you need to open up your heart/mind bringing wisdom and cultivating the qualities of compassion and kindness to this period and to each moment now and it what will come. Learning to pay sustained loving attention to your own experience and feelings in the present moment is the key. This class will provide the support to starting or building such a practice. Students in the class will have the opportunity for a private discussion with the Rabbi Jeff to support their individual needs.

A special feature of Jewish meditation is recognizing the Divine Presence that is manifesting in each moment of the experience of life. This can bring a sense of Sacredness to your life and to all of your relationships. Through this course you will learn:

  • The skill of sustained attention
  • How to deal with obstacles that arise in the mind, which make it difficult to get through the day
  • To begin paying awakened attention in daily life
  • How to connect to the Divine Presence through contemplative practice
  • Various contemplative techniques including:
    • Breath and body awareness
    • Cultivating heart/mind states of love and compassion
    • Mindfulness/heartfulness
    • Open Awareness

Please register in advance. Class is designed for those who intend to do all four sessions.

Register Here for Morning Sessions

Register Here for Evening Sessions

Overwhelmed with stress from physical distancing, quarantine, and COVID-19? Join Rabbi Anne Brener and AJRCA Student Cantor Elizabeth Baseman for a chanting and meditation service, using the structure of the morning service, to calm our bodies and connect our souls. There will be time for some check-in afterward.

This program will take place every Wednesday, 11:30 am EDT (8:30 am PDT), for at least the next month or two.

This is a pay-what-you-can program, with 100% of donations going directly to supporting ALEPH’s programming. No one will be turned away due to inability to pay.

Register Now

Dates: May 17, May 31, and June 7
Time: 1 – 2:15 pm EDT (10 – 11:15 am PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (Proceeds go directly to supporting ALEPH)
Led by: Rabbi Deb Smith

Session 1 – Compassion: In these dark and challenging times how do we expand the boundaries of our hearts to include the suffering of others and of the planet without turning away and without being consumed by the suffering? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Compassion. Suggested Practices will be offered.

Session 2 – Patience: How do we learn the practice of patience and the ability to live in the present when we want to be in the future faster than our lives will take us there? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Patience. Suggested Practices will be offered.

Session 3 – Trust: How can we combine trust in G-d and Something outside ourselves with a trust in ourselves and in others? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Trust. Suggested Practices will be offered.

Register Now

Dates: August 2, 9, 16, and 23
Time: 4 – 7 pm EDT (1 – 4 pm PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (100% of donations go directly to supporting ALEPH)
Presenter: Rabbi Diane Elliot

Description: If you’ve been longing to enter into Jewish practice and learning in a more fully embodied way, this class is for you. We’ll begin each session opening the body as a vessel for prayer and learning. Each session will include an embodied exploration of one or two prayers from the traditional Jewish morning liturgy. We’ll then creatively engage with a piece of the week’s Torah or haftara reading.

Our tools for the journey: breath, movement, body awareness, drawing, written and spoken words. Our hoped-for destination: the beginning or deepening of a meaningful, doable spiritual practice, sourced in both the riches of Jewish tradition and the richness of our inner lives. The only prerequisites are a curious mind, an open heart, and a willingness to move (in your own time and way). This program is designed for those who can attend all four sessions.

Register Now

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