Happy Chanukah!  We are pleased and proud to share Sheila Weinberg's new piece written in conjunction with AJWS' project Chag v'Chesed; which is "written by prominent leaders in the Jewish community [and] draws on teachings from the holidays to inform our thinking about Judaism and social justice." 

Sheila writes - "One of the blessings recited as Jews light the Chanukah candles each year is: 'Blessed are you, the force that rules the universe, who made possible miracles for our ancestors, in those days, and also makes the same possible for us in our own times.'  We celebrate to remember the past and renew our confidence in the present and the future. 

Chanukah celebrates political will and fortitude as well as the mysterious quality of trust in something greater than human effort alone..."                   
New Podcast: Joy in the Moment That Is

As part of our ongoing online resource development, we're pleased to share a new podcast from Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, adjunct faculty with IJS.  Jordan recorded this podcast November 3rd at his Mindfulness Mussar group at his shul - Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living.  In it, he talks about the common sense that if we just reach a certain goal, achieve a certain thing in our lives, we'll be happy, but find when we get there that it's not the magical panacea we'd hoped for, and that this often results in struggle within ourselves.  He uses the teaching of Issac, who pleaded with God for Rebecca to overcome her infertility; but when when his prayers were answered with exactly what he wanted, it was with twins who struggled within the womb and beyond.  Jordan answers that to find the joy that is expansive and not predicated on the happening of any given event, we need to practice chesed, practice staying in the moment with what is happening, and practice radical acceptance of just the moment that is.

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Understanding Prayer in Our Lives

Nancy Flam writes about the newest phase of our prayer program, "Many Jewish leaders - rabbis, cantors, educators and lay leaders - are passionately dedicated to helping Jews deepen their prayer lives.  But how well do we actually understand the prayer experience of the people we are striving to serve?

In order to increase our own understanding at the same time as we provide a much-needed place for communal support, guidance and companionship in the life of prayer, the Institute for Jewish Spirituality has launched two pilot prayer groups.

Two groups of four participants each were invited to take part in one of two, four-week groups to help them better understand their own prayer lives and the prayer lives of those in their community by speaking and listening..."
Happiness is... Cultivating Joy in Life
A retreat for lay leaders January 20-23, 2011, Northern CA 

Join IJS Rabbis Rachel Cowan, Myriam Klotz and Jonathan Slater, as well as IJS colleagues Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Cantor Ellen Dreskin, and Sandra Razieli 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....


Sheila Weinberg Upcoming Retreat at Rowe
Judaism as Spiritual Practice, December 17-19, 2010

Roin Rabbis Sheila Weinberg and Ezra Weinberg, mother and son, in the beckoning woods of Western Massachusetts to celebrate Shabbat with prayer, music, study, meditation, laughter, friendship, great food and natural beauty..

Thank you! Rachel Cowan

Thank you for taking time out of your day
 to be with us.  Happy Chanukah!

L'shalom, Rachel


Surprisingly Happy:
Now Available!

Sheila Weinberg
by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
Buy Surprisingly Happy
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Breathe.  Linshom.