I just heard that the Institute for Jewish Spirituality is soon offering its fourth program for rabbis beginning July 2007. I am a graduate of the third cohort of rabbis and want to confess that this program has been the highlight of my personal and professional life in recent years.
Simply stated, attending the retreat program and participating in the interim guided chevruta text study has deepened my sense of connection with the Holy One, has integrated my “spiritual being” into my professional work, has calmed me personally and led me to become more attentive to the world around me. To say that I have had more serious encounters with the Divine in my life since entering this program is neither hyperbole nor loose “spiritual gobbly-gook.” It is my reality today.
Prior to entering this experience, I could talk intellectually about God and what God’s place should be in my life/our lives. The IJS program has provided me with both a language and an openness to be able to experience God’s Presence and to comfortably talk about it. The move from intellectual to experiential and back again was made possible by means of a program that is both experiential and, through its text study particularly, very intellectually rigorous. I now have a spiritual practice – prayer, meditation, yoga, text study, chanting, journaling, and more – that is deeply meaningful and inspirational (for me).
FYI: The IJS Rabbinic Leadership Program is a retreat-based program of study and practice for rabbis who seek to deepen their own spiritual lives and their abilities to develop as spiritual teachers and guides for others. Participants live and learn together for four five-day retreats over the course of eighteen months. Retreats combine prayer, meditation, text study, movement practice, group discussion, spiritual exercises and one-on-one guidance with faculty members. The period between retreats is an essential part of the program. Participants continue to learn and grow through a guided program of requisite weekly hevruta study, as well as optional support for meditation, movement and middot practice, and e-conversation with the other participants. For more information or an application, contact Rabbi Nancy Flam, Program Director, at [email protected] or 413.584.0187.