Jewish Spiritual Direction or Hashpa'ah is a process for exploring our connection with what we experience as God, Spirit, Truth- however we express and understand the Sacred in our lives. Through these explorations, those engaged in spiritual direction, try to discern the presence of the Sacred, in their everyday lives, work, celebrations, and struggles. Since 1998, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has offered this form of spiritual support to rabbinical students, independent Jewish spiritual direction training programs have developed around the United States, and some Reconstructionist communities have begun offering group spiritual direction for their members through trained clergy or spiritual directors. This call will explore the historic and current evolution of Jewish spiritual direction, some of the key elements of the experience, and how this sacred practice can help individuals and communities deepen their connections to God, self, community and the world.
You can listen to the audio recording of this call by clicking here: http://jrf.org/node/2599
Barbara Breitman, D.Min., LCSW, ( http://www.jewishspiritualdirection.com/) is a pioneer in the field of Jewish Spiritual Direction. She is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where she also helped to create the program in spiritual direction. She is a co-founder of Lev Shomea, a two-year training program in spiritual direction at Isabella Freedman/Elat Chayyim: the Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center. An experienced psychotherapist with a private practice in Philadelphia, Barbara has a special interest in trauma and spirituality.
Sandra B. Cohen, DSW, LCSW, (http://www.aleph.org/hashpaah.htm) has a private psycho-spiritual clinical and relationship coaching practice. “Reb Sarah” is a Spiritual Director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and for the ALEPH Ordination Programs as well as core faculty for the HASHPA’AH Ordination Program. She privately provides individual and interfaith group spiritual direction and mentors individuals and clergy called to this ministry. She trained in Group Spiritual Direction at The Shalem Institute and received smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, Maggidah, and “Reb Sarah.” She is available for private Supervision for Spiritual Directors.
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, (http://www.alban.org/rabbizevit/direction.asp) is the Director of Outreach & Tikkun Olam, and a congregational consultant and resource developer for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is a founding member of Shabbat Unplugged and the Davenning Leaders’ Training Institute, and a spiritual director for numerous clergy and communities, having bee a spiritual director at RRC from 1999-2008 and on the core faculty of the ALEPH Hashpa'ah program. He has written and developed resources and delivered workshops in the areas of community building, leadership, prayer, interactive midrash, contemporary views of GOD, prayer and spiritual leadership skills, money and Jewish values, social justice issues, Jewish environmental concerns and Jewish men's issues. He is the author of "Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community (Alban, 2005), co-editor of "Brother Keepers: New Essays in Jewish Masculinities" (Men's Studies Press, 2010) and the Recon Press publications on "Money and Jewish Values" and "Manual for Effective Boards and Committees".
Rabbi Nancy Epstein serves as Director of Congregational Relations for JRF, as associate teaching professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, and as a spiritual director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She has been a participant in the most recent cohort of Lev Shomea, a training program for Jewish spiritual directors.
"In Reconstructionist circles, making our communities inclusive is one of our chief goals. We are acutely aware of the barriers that people encounter when they contemplate belonging to the Jewish community.. the Reconstructionist commitment to inclusivity is not only based on a desire to be warm and welcoming. It is deeply rooted in a commitment to democratic values and an understanding of the evolving nature of Jewish civilization." Exploring Judaism (200), Staub and Alpert, p. 118-9. http://jrf.org/resolutions
Our Passover tradition teaches us that a mixed multitude went up together with the Israelites out of Egypt and that we are to open our doors to the stranger and needy especially as we contemplate our own freedom. This call will look at how we can grow our communities in terms of inclusion in multiple area of Jewish life (e.g. Intermarried, GLBT, physical needs).
Listen to the audio portion of this call at http://jrf.org/node/2591
Packet material is attached below.
Rabbi Jacob Staub is Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is former editor of the Reconstructionist magazine and co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, and helped start the spiritual direction program at the Reconstrcutionist Rabbinical College in 1998.
Dr. Shelley Kapnek Rosenberg is a founding member and past president of Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA. With a doctorate in Psychoeducational Processes, she worked for many years in Jewish education, especially in the area of special needs. As a former member of the JRF Board, she was instrumental in helping with work on welcoming people with disabilities. She is retired and currently serves as a member of the governng council of the YES! Coalition, an interfaith group of congregations in the Greater Philadelphia area that are welcoming to the LGBTQ community.
Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser is a member of the JRF congregation, Jewish Community of Amherst, a former special education teacher. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and holds a D.Min in Jewish Spiritual Direction. She has a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Antioch University and is a student in the Aleph Smicha Program.
Jody Rosenbloom,MA is the Director of Life Long Learning at the Jewish Community of Amherst. She has been a member of RENA since its inception. She views her 25 years in Jewish education, through the lens of community and leadership development. Her formal education includes an BA in Urban Planning from Antioch College and an MA in Leadership from Augsburg College. She was an active member of CAJE and sat on the CAJE 25 Mazkirut. Most recently, she was a participant in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality sole educator cohort in 2004-2006.
While we understandably focus on the technical aspects of running and growing our communities (especially in difficult times), there are core spiritual, cultural, ethical and identity issues that bring us together as religious communities. This call will explore some of the key elements that are crucial to keeping our selves grounded in core religious values, spiritual values, and social justice principles as we grow our faith communities. Topics will include ritual life, prayer, Jewish values-based decision making as spiritual practice, spiritual direction, tikkun olam and more.
Please prepare for the class by reading Exploring Reconstructionism: A Leadership Workshop and listen to GOD - Through A Reconstructionist Lens; Social Action (Tikkun Olam)
The audio recording of this session can be found here: http://jrf.org/node/2607
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, (www.rabbizevit.com) is the Director of Outreach & Tikkun Olam, and a congregational consultant and resource developer for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is a founding member of Shabbat Unplugged and the Davenning Leaders’ Training Institute, and a spiritual director for numerous clergy and communities. He has written and developed resources and delivered workshops in the areas of community building, leadership, prayer, interactive midrash, contemporary views of GOD, prayer and spiritual leadership skills, money and Jewish values, social justice issues, Jewish environmental concerns and Jewish men's issues. He is the author of "Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community (Alban, 2005) and a forthcoming book for Jewish Men.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Rabbi-in-Residence of Jewish Funds For Justice and the author of There Shall be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition. She writes and speaks frequently about Judaism and social justice, with an emphasis on issues such as poverty, labor relations, housing issues, criminal justice, and environmental sustainability. Rabbi Jacobs was named to the Forward Newspaper's annual list of fifty influential American Jews in 2006 and 2008 and to Newsweek's list of the fifty most influential rabbis in 2009. She received rabbinic ordination and an MA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary; an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, CUNY; and a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Guy Austrian.
Deane Root is the current president of Congregation Dor Hadash in Pittsburgh, the largest and oldest JRF affiliate that is primarily lay-led. His wife, Doris Dyen, is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinnical College. As a musicologist and librarian at the University of Pittsburgh he has taught, conducted research and published widely on the meaning of music in the lives of Americans. His spiritual journey to Judaism has involved participating with diverse groups through Dor Hadash including the school, a spiritually centered Havurah, Harmoniah singing, and a Torah study minyan, as well as the New Community Chevre Kadisha.
Carole Caplan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is proud to be a past president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL, and to have helped build their new building as the "greenest" shul in America. She is currently a Greenfaith Fellow, participating in a unique multi-faith endeavor which teaches stewardship of the environment as imperative spiritual work (see Greenfaith.org). Carole's company, Live by Choice, assists clients in making empowered choices for sustainable environments including low- toxic "green" building products, water filters, air filters and cleaning products. A certified meditation and yoga instructor, Carole teaches to both children and adults in the Chicagoland area.
The NY/NJ Region of JRF was fortunate to receive a UJA-Federation grant focusing on Reconstructionist Synagogue Outreach. Hannah Greenstein and lay congregation leader Susan Leon, will share the information learned from project consultants, training sessions and from the strategic formation and implementation of the synagogue outreach plans.
Listen to an audio recording of the session:
Hannah Greenstein is the Outreach Coordinator for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation of Metropolitan NY/NJ and a graduating rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to rabbinical school, Hannah worked for the Jewish Outreach Institute, a transdenominational organization that advocates for accepting interfaith couples in the Jewish community. Hannah holds a BA in Jewish Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently resided in Westchester with her husband and new baby boy.
Susan Leon is an active lay leader in outreach from Bet Am Shalom and recipient of the NY/NJ Regional Keruv award.
Rabbi Nancy Epstein (RRC '06) is the Director of Congregational Relations for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF). Nancy has worked with communities for over 30 years, holding positions of leadership in the areas of community organizing, nonprofit management, public policy, legislation and advocacy. She is trained in systems-centered approaches to organizational development and as a mediator of interpersonal and complex policy disputes and has served as a consultant to professional associations, not-for-profit organizations, universities, and national foundations. In addition to her role at JRF, Rabbi Epstein serves as an Associate Professor of Community Health at the Drexel University School of Public Health.