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Thank you for joining us for this month's e-letter.  We are pleased to announce the schedule for the upcoming July lay and Hevraya retreats, let you know where Sheila will be teaching and reading from her new book, Surprisingly Happy, and give you an update on our recent work.
Pesach Resources

It seems to be that time of year again - Passover is almost here!  We have several resources available for Pesach -
  • Podcast:  Spiritual Preparation for Pesach, with Rabbi Jonathan Slater  [listen]
  • Podcast:  Passover Meditation:  Washing our Hands, with Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg [listen]
  • See the end of this e-letter for a Passover teaching

Upcoming:  Lay Retreat - July 8-11

 Happiness is......Developing a Deeper Sense of Joy in One's Life

Join IJS Rabbis Rachel Cowan, and Jonathan Slater, as well as IJS colleagues Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, and Robin Wald for a different sort of Shabbat. Truly stepping out of our routine, we will explore this quality of joy, and begin to understand the significance of its practice in our lives.


Joining with others in conversation, study, prayer and contemplative silence, we will gain insights into garnering our inner resources and directing our energies toward that which may have lasting impact far beyond this weekend together. 

No prior experience in text study, Hebrew, meditation or yoga is necessary in order for you to participate fully in our entire program.

Cost:  Sliding scale according to ability to pay - $475-625 for a double; $650-850 for a single.

Registration:  This retreat is open to the public. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.regonline.com/layjuly2010

Upcoming: For Hevraya Members

A reminder that this summer's Hevraya retreat,  "L'shem Shamayim: Responding to Conflict with Clarity and Compassion," is fast approaching, please take a minute to register online for the Hevraya retreat.

This retreat will address a subject of pressing importance to many, if not all of us:  "L'shem Shamayim: Bringing Compassion and Clarity to Conflict and Difficult Conversations."  In a safe and contemplative context, we will explore how we might respond to conflict in our lives (e.g. difficult situations and people, challenging or divisive topics such as Israel, etc.) with greater awareness, compassion, and clarity. 

We'll explore as well how we might apply this mindfulness practice as leaders in Jewish communities, and help our communities respond to conflict with greater courage and creativity.

Our retreat faculty will include IJS staff Rabbis Sheila Weinberg, Jonathan Slater, Rachel Cowan and Marc Margolius, as well as Rabbi Amy Eilberg, who directs interfaith dialogue programs at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning in St. Paul, MN, and through the St. Paul Interfaith Network. 

Cost: Sliding scale according to ability to pay - $750-925 for a double, $950-1,050 for a single.

Registration:  Please note, this retreat is only open to Hevraya members.  For more information on the retreat and to register, please visit http://www.regonline.com/hevrayajuly2010

Upcoming: Rabbi Sheila Weinberg

Sheila will be at the following events, reading from her new book, Surprisingly Happy at some -

  • Brooklyn, NY - Jewish Meditation Center of Bklyn, April 11
  • Falls Village, CT - Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Scholar in Residence Panim retreat on Spirituality and Social Justice, April 15-18
  • Philadelphia, PA - Mishkan Shalom, April 25

  • New York, NY - Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, workshop on compassion with Bikkur Holim Committee, April 27

  • New York, NY - JCC (Makom) Book reading and signing, 7-8:30 - May 12
  • Malibu Jewish Community, CA - June 1

  • San Raphael, CA - Rodeph Sholom, June 2

If you would like to invite Sheila to visit your community, please write sheila@ijs-online.org.
Recent Activities

We are pleased to report that we have just completed our first retreat for Kivvun, a two year intensive lay cohort; and this week our faculty are leading a social justice retreat in California. 

If you work in a social justice field and would like to be informed of future social justice retreats, please e-mail Pat Fettinger; and use the "Join our mailing list" button in the right hand column to sign up for our mailing list.
Passover Teaching:  Awareness

This story was told by R. Hanoch Henich of Alexander:
Once there was a butcher who was cutting up meat in his shop on Friday afternoon, paying no attention to the waning sun. When he finally looked up and realized that Shabbat had begun, he shuddered in grief and ran to the synagogue in his blood-splattered apron, and found the congregation already singing Lecha Dodi. He heaved a great a weighty sigh.
That sigh cleaved the heavens, not because it was loud, but because it arose from the butcher's deepest sense of self-betrayal. His Jewish awareness realized how far he was from the person he wished truly to be.
This is reflected in this verse, repeated in the Passover seder: "A long time after that, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites were groaning from serving Pharaoh and cried out; and their cry for help from the bondage rose up to God" (Ex. 2:23). The groan that they uttered emerged from their Jewish awareness, realizing how far they were from their true calling, from serving God. That is when their "cry rose up to God" and as a consequence they "knew God" (vs. 25) - which is to say, they became fully aware of their true and full potential. Immediately, the movement to liberation began with God's call to Moses (Ex. 3).
How close are you to being the person you truly wish to be? Have you ever had a moment when you sensed a distance between your intention and your actions? How did you respond? Was this awareness liberating for you? Can you imagine how it might be?
May this Passover be a time of inner liberation that brings you to a sense of wholeness and fulfillment.
Thank you! Rachel Cowan

Thank you for taking time out of your day
to be with us.  Wishing you a liberating Passover; we look forward to seeing you next month.  L'shalom, Rachel.
Listen to Podcasts Online
Sheila Weinberg
Listen to Sheila giving  meditation practice instructions at an IJS retreat this past January.



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Breathe.  Linshom.