As the Executive Director of Hillel at San Diego, I received hate mail in response to our plans to build a student center. I practiced maintaining space between my thoughts and reactions, ensuring that we took the high road and stayed focused on our mission and the students' needs.
At another time, I counseled a deeply polarized and angry Jewish student body as it grappled with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I provided calm guidance for the students and community, even as I observed my own anger and worry.
Most recently, I left my beloved San Diego community and moved to New York City to become the Executive Director of the Institute. We all know that change is hard. For me, every single thing in my life is different, except for the thread of contemplative Jewish practice that runs through each day. It shapes my reactions and sustains me on a daily basis. The meditation and mindfulness that the Institute teaches-and my diligent practice-help me to be more patient and maintain perspective. I can bring compassion to myself and the difficult aspects of changing my life, and find great joy in the many pleasures.
Why did I seek out the Institute's programs in the first place? Ten years ago, despite a life-long interest in God, and a clear connection to something larger than myself, I knew there was more but I didn't know how to get there on my own. I needed teachers.
A friend told me about the Institute and I jumped in. I was surprised to discover that I wasn't alone in my searching-here was a committed community of seekers. And I found that I love to meditate! It gives me tools for greater insight and patience-plus the ability to make wiser decisions, because I can see things more clearly and feel less reactive.
I'm six months into this position, pinching myself at my good fortune to be at the Institute and living in New York. And I'm grateful for the Jewish mindfulness practice and community that help me confront challenges, stay attuned to most aware self, and drink in the delight of this amazing life.
I'm also grateful for Rachel Cowan, my predecessor, and a model of generosity, open-heartedness, and humility. She is truly an inspiring teacher.
I hope you'll join Rachel and me in making a generous, tax-deductible donation today to continue to partner with us in creating the vibrant, transformative Judaism we all seek.
With warm appreciation,
Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein
P.S. If you have made a recent donation, we thank you so very much for your gift.
P.P.S. Two upcoming e-mail stories will share the journeys of individuals who have been touched by this work, and provide you with additional resources to support your practice.