The Community’s Challenge
As it works to develop and maintain Jewish identity, the Jewish community faces personal, institutional, and leadership challenges, many of which have a spiritual side.
Our Point of View
For a vital, expressive, welcoming Jewish life to come into being, we must tend to our inner spiritual lives. Clergy, in particular, can best help the Jewish community if they have a deep connection to their work; when they feel that what they are teaching has resonance in their own lives, they exemplify and inspire a vibrant, living Judaism.
Awakening, Healing, Renewing
Practice-based spirituality will return to Jewish life the full vitality of body, heart and soul to the highly intellectualized, privatized, and fragmented Judaism of the past. The Institute promotes an immersive, practice-based approach to deepening contemplative Jewish spiritual life for rabbis, cantors, educators, social justice activists, congregants, and community members, and we support them in creating and maintaining the rich, meaninfgul connections to Judaism that are so important for the overall health and continuity of the Jewish community.
The Institute offers transformative, contemplative programs that help people reclaim traditional Jewish wisdom and deepen their relationships with God. This helps them become stronger, more effective teachers, preachers, and leaders, which in turn helps build healthier communities and enriches everyday life for all Jews.
Our challenge is to reestablish a connection between Jewish practice and teaching, and the lived lives of Jews. We need teachers, grounded in authentic Jewish spiritual practice, who can help Jews connect their own deepest experiences to the language, imagery and compelling power of the Jewish tradition. If we are to inspire our people and sustain our vision, we must tend to our own inner life, drawing from Jewish spiritual tradition.
Jewish religious life is an engaged practice. Jewish belief and commitment manifests through action – performance of the mitzvot, participation in religious ritual and communal organizations, care and support for Jews everywhere.
Spiritual retreats that create a safe environment in which to investigate mindfulness, meditation, prayer, yoga, and Torah study help participants cultivate a deeper connection to self and therefore to God. Retreats and programs are led by rabbis and cantors, this creates unique opportunities to explore mindfulness, stillness, and movement in a Jewish context. Participants gain a vocabulary to articulate spiritual and related issues; this helps them address these issues in the wider Jewish community.
Participants develop a deep sense of authenticity and equanimity that leads to more flexible, responsive and skilled organizational leadership. Members of the clergy become refreshed and more open to contemplative forms of worship and service. Members of the laity find a deeper, more meaningful connection to Judaism. Congregational leaders are better able to partner with their rabbis, cantors, and educators to fulfill the obligations of tikkun olam.
Participants develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between Jewish texts, inner change, and social change. As individuals have more and more meaningful experiences with each other and their communities, the entire landscape of contemporary Judaism is transformed, and everyone benefits from the qualities of health, patience, appreciation, compassion, loving-kindness, truthfulness and humility that are essential to communities of meaning.