We have had a terrific year at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, reaching so many new people and helping others deepen their practice.  This is sustained by you - our donors and participants.

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I often hear how the Institute changes peoples' lives - and opens hearts - and want to share a story with you from Lisa Zbar, our Development Director and newest staff member. It was besherte  that we found each other.

Lisa Zbar Lisa Zbar, Development Director

I am a devoted member of Kolot Chayeinu in Brooklyn. Several years ago I told my rabbi, Ellen Lippmann - an alumna of the Institute's rabbinic program - about some difficulties in my life. She guided me to a program she planned to teach, created by the Institute, exploring adult Jewish spiritual journeys.

I joined and quickly learned that our tradition has sources dating back hundreds of years on how to pray, meditate, become more mindful and live a joyous life, even in the face of pain. I was flabbergasted that no one had ever told me about these texts and tools.

I felt like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz. At no point during her odyssey did anyone tell her she already had the tools right on her feet - the ruby slippers - to get home.  She didn't know until Glinda told her to tap three times and say "there's no place like home."

She finally had the tools, the knowledge, and the guidance to find her way.

So now I have ruby slippers: retreats, a renewed meditation practice, spiritual direction and weekly text study with my partner from Kolot Chayeinu. I am grateful to all of you who support the Institute and participate in our programs. You sustain this work, and enable our staff to bring it to more and more Jews who, like me, have no idea that these tools are embedded in the Jewish tradition.

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Thanks for being our partners in this work and opening this email - we know your time is precious and we
value it too.

Take five minutes out of your day and listen to Rachel talk about finding gratitude in the present moment.  It's worth your time and you'll be
glad you did!

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There are so many people like Lisa, who, through the Institute, have found their spiritual home in Judaism.  The need is still great.  Please make a generous, tax-deductible, donation today to partner with us in creating the vibrant, transformative Judaism we all seek. 

With deep appreciation,

Rachel Cowan      

Rachel Cowan

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P.S. We will be sending you two more e-mails to give you an opportunity to support the Institute before the end of the year; if you have made a recent donation, we thank you so very much for your gift.

P.P.S. The upcoming e-mails will share more stories of individuals who have been touched by this work and provide you with additional resources to support your own practice.