Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell
As a college freshman, standing one night in the basement of my fraternity, beer in hand, I saw in a flash that the way I was living did not make me happy and never would. I knew that I needed to figure out how to live a more meaningful life. This realization led to deep exploration, engagement in social justice and a serious Buddhist practice.
In retrospect, what is amazing is that I did not consider for a moment that the tradition in which I was raised had any wisdom to offer to uplift my experience of living.
But life unfolds in unpredictable and beautiful ways.
My journey into Buddhism first took me to a Japanese Zen monastery and then to the Himalayas. It was there that I heard a surprising yet somehow familiar call that would lead me home to Judaism.
Years later, as a rabbinical student with regular meditation and yoga practices, I found the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Throughout my training and teaching with the Institute over the past six years, I have felt enormously grateful for this warm, smart, and authentically Jewish home for spiritual growth and renewal.
Now, leading a congregation, I see that the Jewish world benefits tremendously from the work of the Institute. We need the Institute for Jewish Spirituality.