We are excited and proud to present our 2013 Class Roster.

To find out more about our amazing teachers, click on their photos! 

(You'll learn a little more about them and see their websites......)



A10 Kol B’Seder: It's all in the Seder! Learning, Remembering and Dreaming
Rabbi Sami Barth

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program)

Level: intermediate/advanced

The Passover Seder is an experiential journey through past, present … and future. Engage with the Seder through all Four Worlds! We’ll explore the “traditional” Haggadah, unpacking biblical and rabbinic sources, and then look at renewed versions that have emerged among us: Mystical, Feminist, Liberation, and more! We’ll look at language and metaphor, visual arts, poetry, and music – the “building blocks” through which the seder experience is built. Then we visit ecological and kabbalistic seders for Tu B’Shvat and embark on an innovative adventure to create a “Seder Yom Ha’Atzma’ut.” A class both “Text” and “Beyond Text,” welcoming analytic reflection and spiritual dreams.

NOTE: This class will meet for an extra hour each day (3 hours/class).
ALEPH students taking this course for credit must also register with the Ordination Program. Additional post-Kallah class sessions and fees apply for those students only.

Rabbi Sami Barth is a teacher of liturgy and halakhah, as well as the intersection between these academic fields and contemporary Jewish community life. He serves on the ALEPH Ordination Program Va’ad, teaching core courses in Liturgy and Codes, and is Senior Lecturer in Liturgy at the Jewish Theological Seminary.


A11 Sovev U’memalei: The Divine Within Us, Between Us, And Beyond All Our Namings
Rabbi Elliot K. Ginsburg

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program)

Level: intermediate/advanced

As both George Harrison and the Jewish mystics knew, the Divine fills our most intimate worlds while transcending our furthest imagination. In this course we’ll explore key elements of the multi-layered encounter with the Divine. Our primary tools will be chant and meditation, conversation, and especially close readings of Jewish mystical texts (Zohar, Azikri, Luzzatto,Nahman, Rav Kook, Heschel, Buber, and the two Arthurs, Green and Waskow). Throughout we will draw on practices for integrating and “holding” different levels of awareness.

Open to all who are comfortable decoding Hebrew texts (with translation generally provided), this course can be taken by ALEPH students in sequence with Rabbi Ebn Leader’s afternoon P12 A Tzaddik in Suburbia for one unit of credit.
NOTE: This class will meet for an extra hour each day (3 hours/class).

ALEPH students taking this course for credit must also register with the Ordination Program. Additional fees apply for those students only.

Rabbi Elliot K Ginsburg wears many hats, not all of which are fedoras. He is a professor of Jewish Thought and Mysticism at the University of Michigan, founding rabbi of the Pardes Hannah minyan in Ann Arbor, member of the ALEPH Ordination Program Va’ad and the author of studies on Jewish mysticism, the kabbalistic Shabbat, and spiritual practice.


A12 Connecting to the Divine through Earth, Water, Fire, and Air
Rabbi Shefa Gold

(Sponsored by C-DEEP, Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice, an ALEPH Project)

Elements can be our allies in the spiritual work of awakening, purification and opening to the Presence of God in each and every moment of our lives. In this class we will draw on the powers of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air as Divine forces or manifestations that can help us, guide us and empower our journeys. We will dig deep into the earth of Torah, be washed by her currents, be sparked by her fire, and be moved by her holy breath.

Rabbi Shefa Gold received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP, The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice and author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs.


A13 Shir Ecstasy Kallah Jospel Choir: Integrating Ecstatic Song into Jewish Spiritual Life through the Evocative Techniques of Gospel Choir
Sharon Alexander

Do you have a deep passion to viscerally feel God within, to have the ecstatic, transcendent personal experience of God, to be transformed by that experience? Americans associate this phenomenon with Charismatic Christians, but I argue that the Jewish service was actually designed to evoke this experience. The powerful yet simple techniques of gospel choir can add invigorating tools to the palette of Jewish choirs and congregations. In this class we will learn these tools didactically and experientially as a jospel choir. We will perform at the Sunday morning closing of Kallah (so participants should be prepared to stick around until closing ceremonies).

Recently relocated back to the US from Switzerland, Sharon Alexander teaches the ecstasy-evoking techniques of gospel choir all over the world. She’s a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology and Consciousness Studies and is ordained by Reb Zalman as Ba’alat Shirei Hama’alot B’chesed Elyon, Conductor of Sacred Chorales. www.ShirEcstasy.com


A14 Infinity, Nothingness, and Being: Running and Returning, An Exploration in Quantum Physics and Kabbalah
Karen Barad and Rabbi Fern Feldman

Level: intermediate/advanced

Both Kabbalah and quantum physics narrate a story of the creation of being from nothingness. Rather than drawing parallels between these accounts, we read insights of these entangled traditions through one another. With texts from Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah, Chassidut, and quantum physics, we will explore the play of nothingness and being. In particular, we will work with quantum field theory and a variety of mystical practices, many of them based on Ezekiel’s angelic vision, that allow us to glimpse the nature of material being and our own consciousness. Led by a rabbi and a master teacher of quantum physics.

Karen Barad, author of Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, is Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness at University of California, Santa Cruz. Barad has a PhD in theoretical particle physics. http://feministstudies.ucsc.edu/faculty/

Rabbi Fern Feldman is a singer, scholar, spiritual counselor, service leader, and ritual facilitator. She received ordination from ALEPH and Spiritual Direction certification from Yedidya. She also works as a nurse practitioner in a community clinic. http://www.rabbifernfeldman.com/


A15 Can We Talk? The Palestinian/Israeli Dilemma
Ruth Broyde Sharone

The Middle East is such a “hot button” topic, a discussion of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is frequently and studiously avoided. We Jews value our ability to examine our sacred texts from a variety of viewpoints, yet our community is experiencing a genuine internal struggle as we try to navigate the complexity and emotion around the current conflict. It’s time for a fresh approach to this dilemma using proven guidelines for effective dialogue and learning to practice the art of active listening. Facilitated by Rodephet Shalom Ruth Broyde Sharone, a 25-year veteran of interfaith activism and author of the highly-acclaimed book Minefields and Miracles: Why God and Allah Need to Talk.

Honored internationally for her interfaith activism and peace building, Ruth Broyde Sharone is a prize-winning documentary filmmaker (“God and Allah Need to Talk”), journalist, and popular motivational speaker. Her interfaith memoir, Minefields and Miracles, received more than 30 endorsements from religious leaders including H.H. the Dalai Lama.


A16 Who is God?
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan

We speak of finding the Divine within. But who or what are we looking for — energy, witness, conscience, inner parent, or higher mind? Jewish tradition does not require us to choose only one. Torah, Jewish philosophy, and Kabbalah all make multiple faces of God available to us. Our task is to find the faces that call to us. Together, we will explore conceptions of God through text, discussion, writing, drama, visualization, and reflection. Expect to gain clearer understanding of your expectations as a seeker, increase your awareness of inner dimensions of consciousness, and deepen your experience of the Divine.

Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan is spiritual leader of Or Shalom Synagogue in Vancouver, Canada. She is an award-winning former philosophy professor, with a special gift for bringing intellectual ideas to life through experiential modalities. Visit her blog at www.reblaura.com.


A17 Embodying Torah
Rabbi Diane Elliot

Improvisational dance, authentic movement, and “soul collage” will be among our tools for mining divine wisdom embedded within sacred Torah text and within ourselves. The Torah portion of the week, Mattot-Masei, will serve as the ground, and PaRDeS, the mystics’ four-layered approach to Torah interpretation, will be our map for an illuminating, embodied, communal journey into Jewish textual traditions. Open to Torah students and expressive movers of all levels of experience. (Limited to 20 participants.)

Rabbi Diane Elliot inspires her students to become clearer channels for Divine Light through awareness and movement practices, chant, and nuanced interpretations of Jewish sacred text. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she directs ALEPH’s Embodying Spirit, En-spiriting Body leadership training



A18 Rebbe Realities: Finding G!D in Songs and Stories about Spiritual Masters
Rabbi Ya’acov (Jack) Gabriel

Great teachers often live their lives and express their teachings in ways that stimulate songs and stories about them. In this class, we will enjoy Early Masters from the Torah and Talmud, celebrate Hassidic Rebbes, marvel at unexpected teachers from our own and other traditions, and be inspired by terrifically gifted contemporaries..

Reb Ya’acov Gabriel has shared music and Jewish Renewal, from Capetown to Kona, Toronto to Berkeley. He teaches user-friendly Kabbalah and has written over 613 songs in post-folk, post-reggae and post-Yeshiva styles. He’s taught or led events at 11 previous Kallot.


A19 Kol Torah: Giving Voice to the Sacred Through Torah
Rabbi Dan Goldblatt

Originally an oral tradition, the genius of Torah is that it was written down in a way that invites and challenges us to reclaim and enliven it through oral teaching and transmission. We will explore the many settings and ways one can connect with the Divine by offering our own voices to the characters and stories of the Torah. Whether in tefilah or Torah study, there are many powerful ways the Torah can speak through us and allow the Torah of our own lives to dialogue with and vivify the sacred stories of our people.

Rabbi Dan Goldblatt has led Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville, CA, for two decades. He is honored to serve as President of OHALAH: The Association of Rabbis, Cantors, and Rabbinic Pastors for Jewish Renewal. His lifelong love of storytelling and Torah has also involved directing film and theater.


A20 Wilderness Torah Experience: Awaken Your Soul in Nature
Maggid Zelig Golden

Join Maggid Zelig Golden, Wilderness Torah co-founder, to awaken your connections to yourself, nature, and Spirit. Reb Nachman teaches that finding inner peace requires knowing our Tachlis — our purpose — most easily discovered in nature. Entirely outside on trails and in the forest, we will journey through the mind of Torah, Kabbalah, and Hassidic texts; the heart of prayer and meditation; the body of nature; and the soul of solitude and council to guide your awakenings to your purpose. The final class will guide you through a ceremony of discovery. Leave renewed with tools to continue the journey at home.

(Please note enrollment limited to 20. An additional fee of $65 to cover 4 days of transportation must be paid at registration. Participants must be able to hike 5 miles, generally easy to moderate but occasionally steep trails.)

Maggid Zelig fosters earth-based Jewish community as founding co-director of Wilderness Torah (www.wildernesstorah.org). He guides earth-based spirituality through the Jewish Vision Quest, B’naiture, and annual land-based festivals. Reb Zalman ordained Zelig as Maggid. He teaches at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, CA.


A21 Our Rebbe’s Niggunim:Reb Zalman’s Legacy of Songs and Melodies
Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman

Reb Zalman is a living link to Hasiddic treasures from before the destruction in Europe, as well as a channel for birthing those treasures into the new paradigm. AND his great gifts to us include his own music! He has composed an extraordinary collection of powerful niggunim — songs and chants which pour ancient melodies into our modern soul’s yearnings. Each is a unique spiritual practice that awakens deep centers of awareness in the soul. Come on a guided journey into our beloved Reb Zalman’s niggunim! Together we will learn and travel deeply into these songs full of joy, hope, love, and longing.

Hazzan Shulamit Wise Fairman has served ALEPH affiliate Kehilla Community Synagogue in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Creating sacred space to teach and engage the spiritual practice of niggunim is her great joy and passion.



A22 Rabbinic Id: Unmasking the Hidden Beauty of Talmud
Rabbi David Ingber

This course will explore Talmudic stories as literary constructions, the obvious meanings of which often hide deeper subversive messages. We will learn to identify literary patterns, motifs, symbols, language, and structure, the presence of which point to an artful process of creative editing. Unmasking this hidden beauty will reveal the Divine face of the Shekhina embedded within these narratives.

Rabbi David Ingber, Founder/ Spiritual Director of Romemu (romemu.org), a center that offers Shabbat and holiday services infused with meditation and yoga, as well as a myriad of community groups, teachings, and events, designed to integrate body, mind and soul.


A23 The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A View of Another Reality
Arthur Kurzweil

We will study this contemporary classic of Kabbalah, written by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, in an effort to understand the primary abstract theological notions at the core of Jewish faith. A free copy of the text will be provided to each participant. No background is necessary; it might very well be a real advantage. Rabbi Steinsaltz writes: “This little book is a book for the soul…And if a person permits his or her soul to listen, the soul will soon learn that all it needs to do is remember. Because in some dim and enigmatic way, it already knows all this.”

Arthur Kurzweil is a writer, teacher, publisher, and performing magician. His books include On the Road with Rabbi Steinsaltz, Kabbalah for Dummies, The Torah for Dummies, and From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy.



A24 Nishmati Ahuvah: “Oh My Soul, I Love You. You Are The Holy Song In My Heart”
Rev. Gabbai Eli Shirim Lester

Create and share the holy music of your soul. Let us return to loving our divine essence through music. What does your soul long to sing? To “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” you must identify the “self,” worthy of love. We are creatures of zoology created from a Divine mold. These two aspects clash over the questions, “who am I, how am I defined?” Our second soul, “Nishamah,” is part of God, actually and literally (Job 13:2). Individually, as well as together, we will discover the love songs of our soul and “Sing unto HaShem a new song.”

Rev. Gabbai Eli Shirim Lester returns to Kallah. He is a seasoned teacher of music and creativity; a songwriter with a catalogue of over 130 original songs; a singer, musician and producer of spiritual music. Currently the Musical Director of Congregation Shir HaShirim.


A25 It’s All Live Love Light: Rav Kook’s 5 Steps to Liberation and Enlightenment
Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein

"All existence whispers to me its secret, I have life to offer, take, please take..."
Rabbi Avraham Itzchak HaCohen Kook z”l (1865-1935) is seen by many as the most enlightened Kabbalist and Jewish thinker of our epoch. His main student, the Nazir of Jerusalem, emerged with 5 foundational principles at the root of Rav Kook’s illumination. The mastery of these 5 principles, deeply rooted in the Torah and Kabbalah, offers the spiritual seeker a path to liberation and enlightenment. We will cover these principles and related teachings sequentially using study, discussion, meditation, poetry, and song to help us integrate these principles into our own spiritual path.

Rabbi Itzchak Marmorstein, MSW, has been doing pioneering work in bringing the universal and holistic teachings of Rav Kook to the English speaking world. He is currently learning and teaching Torat HaRav in Jerusalem while presenting Rav Kook jazz poetry worldwide with Greg Wall’s Later Prophets.



A26 Reclaiming Judaism as a Spiritual Practice
Rabbi Goldie Milgram

For those seeking spirituality and meaning through a Jewish lens, Jewish Renewal can be a stunning breath of fresh air. This course will introduce you to the leading works and methods of our senior teachers using the Four Worlds — restoration of physicality to Jewish practice through dance, movement and yoga; the emotional work of Jewish healing; the intellectual paradigm-shifting present in our approaches to sacred text, ethics and ritual; and the spiritual connection possible through Jewish meditation, prayer and spiritual direction.

Rabbi Goldie Milgram is an internationally acclaimed teacher of Torah and Jewish spiritual practices and also a former co-director of ALEPH and faculty member of the ALEPH Ordination Program. Editor-in-Chief of Reclaiming Judaism Press and www.reclaimingjudaism.org, Reb Goldie’s newest release is Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning.

A27 Davvenen' through the Worlds: A Master Class in Making Prayer Come Alive
Rabbi Marcia Prager and Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit

Join an adventure in Jewish prayer leadership: a taste of DLTI, the acclaimed two-year training program in the high art of Jewish prayer. Our class becomes a living laboratory for you to discover the deep structure of prayer and a range of leadership styles that tap the potential of your own personal presence. Learn to use voice, body and gesture with comfort, to let melody create mood, and to shape phrasing so that your teaching also becomes prayer. Come explore how the practice of Jewish communal prayer can activate the body, touch the heart, engage the mind, and nourish spiritual growth.

Rabbi Marcia Prager is Director and Dean of the ALEPH Ordination Program, rabbi of P’nai Or, the Jewish Renewal Congregation of Philadelphia, author of The Path of Blessing, creator of the unique P’nai Or Siddurim for Shabbat, and co-director of the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute.


Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit is a congregational and organizational consultant, rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah of Detroit, MI, author, spiritual director, liturgist, recording artist, member of the ALEPH Ordination Program Va’ad, Associate Director of the ALEPH Hashpa’ah Spiritual Direction Program, and co-director of the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute.


A28 Jewish Meditation Practices for an Awakened Heart
Rabbi Jeff Roth

One of the biggest obstacles to a compassionate heart is naiveté about the workings of our minds. This can result in a small sense of self whose functioning is protective, greedy and aggressive. Through Jewish meditation practices, it is possible to see more clearly the truth of each moment, thereby recognizing the Divine Presence. With mindful attention to body, feelings, moods, and their interactions (the four worlds), it is possible to cultivate wisdom and awaken the heart to compassion, which leads to kind actions. Participants will have ample time to experience the various core practices of this approach.

Rabbi Jeff Roth, past Director of P’nai Or and co-founder of Elat Chayyim, is director of The Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism, co-leader of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program and author of Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life.



A29 Yoga Bliss in All Four Worlds
Ida Unger

In Hebrew, the word for worlds, Olamot, also means concealments, hidden aspects. The holy source is hidden, not obvious. The Kabbalah gives us four worlds, or aspects of consciousness, as tools for understanding. From the world of doing, Assiyah, we command our daily life. From Y’tzirah, the realm of feeling, we know love, connection, compassion, and our limits. The world of creativity, B’ri’ah, unites heart and mind for manifestations. Atzilut, the world of spirit, is where the individual soul has a merging with the Divine Source. Each day we will practice a yoga sequence and look at a prayer text for one of the worlds. From wholeness we move to holiness, ultimately unifying self with All That Is.

Ida Unger has a love of Torah and spiritual pursuits. She is a full-time yoga teacher who connects her Jewish roots to her yogic wings, resulting in a deepening of both. She has taught her course, “Yoga and Judaism,” to hundreds of students nationwide since 1992.


A30 Prayer As If the Earth Really Matters
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

This class will experiment in prayer that explicitly treats the Earth and the interweaving of all life processes as sacred. We will explore reframing old and creating new specific prayers, and experiment with the impact of reframing a whole service with “YHWH” experienced as Yahh/The Interbreathing of All Life rather than as “Lord, King.” Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel taught that “prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive.” What would subversive pro-Earth prayer be today? Finally, we will delve into “praying with our legs” (á la Heschel after marching for justice alongside M.L. King) — infusing “political” action with prayerful intention and practice.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow is founder and director, The Shalom Center, co-founder of ALEPH, and author of Seasons of Our Joy; Godwrestling – Round 2; Down-to-Earth Judaism; and with Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman, Freedom Journeys and A Time for Every Purpose Under Heaven.



A31 Roots and Branches: The Jewish Roots of Christianity
Rabbi David Zaslow

Judaism and Christianity share many of the same Biblical texts, yet the members of each faith know little of each other’s beliefs and spiritual practices. This course focuses on the essential theological ideas that both differentiate and join these two sister faiths together. Participants will gain insight into the first-century world of Judaism and the Jewish roots of Rabbi Jesus’ teachings. We will thoroughly explore theological ideas such as salvation, messiah, and the afterlife from a Jewish perspective. The roots of anti-Semitism will be explored in depth, as well as ways that these two great religions can find common ground today.

Rabbi David Zaslow is the spiritual leader of Havurah Shir Hadash in Ashland, OR, and the interim rabbi of Nevei Kodesh in Boulder, CO. Along with his wife, Devorah, he is the co-director of the Maggidic Training Program and author of the Jewish Renewal siddur, Ivdu et Hashem B’simcha.



P10 Eco-Judaism: The Torah Mandala and the Mystical System Of Sustainability
Rabbi Elisheva Brenner

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program)

Level: intermediate/advanced

Grab your seat belts! Embark on an entirely new way of encountering Torah through the lens of Eco-Judaism. Based on religious, historical, agricultural, and climatic data from the ancient Near East, the works of Mary Douglas and Moshe Klein, and ancient manuscripts from India, we will discover how the Torah becomes a three-dimensional mandala made of narratives from Shemot to BaMidbar, the “eye” of which is the Holiness Code of Leviticus. Explore the encoded literary devices that offer us a radical new way of interpreting Torah as a sustainability message for the whole Earth. Eco-Judaism is not just for Jews anymore!

NOTE: This class will meet for an extra hour each day (3 hours/class).
ALEPH students taking this course for credit must also register with the Ordination Program. Additional post-Kallah class sessions and fees apply for those students only.

Rabbi Elisheva Brenner, JD, LPC, NCC, is Executive Director of the Center for Eco-Judaism in Pueblo, CO, a 415-acre farm, ranch, nature conservancy, and worship, research and teaching facility, and co-founder of Eco-Glatt, Inc.



P11 The Art of the Hazzan: Jewish Spiritual Singing
Hazzan Jack Kessler

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program)

Level: intermediate

A hazzan (cantor) is much more than a performer of music. We are artists, healers, and teachers. Our tools are the liturgy, the musical tradition, our voices, our imaginations, and our souls. Come explore the high art of the hazzan. Employing traditional nusach, the musical language of prayer, we’ll allow our voices to open to the Divine in new ways. This “masterclass” style course blends group singing with individualized coaching. Whether you are an advanced singer or someone hoping to lead song and prayer with greater vocal clarity, this course offers the coaching and skill-building you seek.

Hazzan Jack was ordained as a Cantor at the Jewish Theological Seminary and had a 20-year congregational career. He earned a Master’s degree in voice from The Boston Conservatory and studied composition at Brandeis University. He directs the ALEPH Cantorial Program, as well as two touring ensembles, Atzilut – Concerts for Peace and Klingon Klezmer.


P12 A Tzaddik in Suburbia
Rabbi Ebn Leader

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program)

Level: intermediate/advanced

Of all the early Hassidic rebbes, No’am Elimelech (Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk/Lezansk) is most strongly associated with developing a mode of leadership and with training new Tzaddikim (Hassidic leaders). Of the various spiritual models that Jewish Renewal might take from classic Hassidism, the Tzaddik or Rebbe as a spiritual leader raises many challenges and questions: Is the Tzaddik a miracle worker, an intermediate between the Hassid and God? Do we need to resurrect such a model of leadership? Does it have anything useful to contribute to an egalitarian society of seekers? In this course we will study the No’am Elimelech’s instructions on the practice of spiritual leadership and see what we might be able to take into our own lives and communities.

This course can be taken by ALEPH students in sequence with Rabbi Elliot Ginsburg’s A11 Sovev U’memalei for one unit of credit.

NOTE: This class will meet for an extra hour each day (3 hours/class).
ALEPH students taking this course for credit must also register with the Ordination Program. Additional fees apply for those students only.

Rabbi Ebn Leader grew up in Israel and was privileged to be a disciple of Rabbi David Hartman and Amos Hetz. For close to 15 years he has also been the disciple of Rabbi Arthur Green, with whom he teaches at Hebrew College Rabbinical School and who has given him the gift of smicha. He has also had the privilege of learning regularly from Reb Zalman.


P13 Becoming Sages as We Connect With the Divine Within and Around Us
Rabbi Richard Simon and Annie Klein

(Sponsored by the ALEPH Sage-ing® Mentorship Program)

This inspiring program for spiritual growth as Sages helps us discover the special kedusha/holiness of becoming elders and transform our daily lives into joyful, sacred journeys. This class offers powerful contemplative tools for gathering and giving expression to the wisdom of our ripening lives, such as harvesting the wisdom of our life experience to enrich the present moment, facing our mortality and learning to evolve from it, maturing in our relationships and in our communities, developing a regenerative spirit, and taking active leadership roles in society. An intergenerational workshop, this program offers presentations intertwined with journal writing exercises, text study, interactive and individual meditations, and group sharing. (This course may serve as Part One of the ALEPH Sage-ing® Mentorship Training Program)

Rabbi Richard Simon, ordained by Reb Zalman in 1985, has been serving a Conservative/Jewish Renewal congregation in New Jersey ever since. He chairs the OHALAH Ethics Committee, works as a spiritual director and hospital chaplain, and is a certified Sage-ing® Mentor.

Annie Klein, recognized as an Eyshet Hazon, is a Spiritual Director, Reiki Master and Soul Memory Discovery Practitioner. She currently has a private practice and facilitates Sage-ing® classes and circles in a variety of settings. Annie is a certified Sage-ing® Mentor.


P14 Re-Storying Our Heritage (like it’s always been done)
Maggid David Arfa

It is time to reclaim the mythic grandeur and spiritual audacity of Judaism’s creative storytelling imagination. In this class we will explore our heritage of stories and make visible the ways storytellers have always bundled old images and bold new themes together. In addition, this class will put the oral back into the oral tradition. Using playful prompts and creating safe story circles, our work will be structured as a story-arts workshop. Our goal will be imagining the role stories and storytellers have played in the past, present and future.

Maggid David Arfa’s performances, workshops, and teacher trainings allow participants to explore story images, the natural world, traditional texts, and contemporary life. He’s produced two CDs and performs a full-length memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Rebbe.



P15 Writing the Psalms of Our Hearts
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

The psalms are a deep repository of praise, thanksgiving, grief, and exaltation, one of our communal tools for connecting with God. In this class, each of us will become a psalmist. We'll awaken our spirits and hearts by praying select psalms together, warm up our intellectual muscles with writing exercises, and enter into a safe space for creativity as we each write our own psalms. After sharing our psalms aloud and sharing our responses to each other's work, we'll close by davenning together once more. At week's end, we'll each take home a compilation of our collected psalms.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, “the Velveteen Rabbi,” received smicha from ALEPH in 2011 and holds an MFA from Bennington College. She is author of 70 faces, a collection of Torah poems. She serves Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA.


P16 Not Your Bubbe and Zeyde’s Pirke Avot
Rabbi Dennis Beck-Berman

Connect to the Divine like the ancient sages. Using hevruta study, discussion, and creative exercises, explore a very different version of Pirke Avot based on my forthcoming critical edition, with translations and interpretations that often strikingly depart from all others. Avot’s teachings are not simply a disconnected collection of pious platitudes, but a coherent, organized series of witty, often paradoxical epigrams, forming an ethical-philosophical treatise on the spiritually transformative power of observance combined with Torah study in which a scholar becomes the embodiment of divine Torah. Topics: Sex & Death, Desire & Ambition, Truth & Paradox, God & Torah.

Rabbi of Congregation Brith Achim in Petersburg, VA, Rabbi Dennis Beck-Berman has taught eco-Kosher workshops at ALEPH Kallah and classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, U.S. Military Academy, and University of Pennsylvania. He has lectured at colleges and led religious retreats and tours in Israel and Europe.

P17 The Still Small Voice of Shofar
Michael Chusid

Shofar echoes throughout time — from the breath of Creation to trumpeting the final redemption. Holy texts describe our ancestors using shofarot to communicate with God, warriors and laborers, to hold oil for anointing and wine for drinking, and to mark fasts and seasons of joy. Calling in both masculine and feminine voices, shofar unifies the Four Worlds. We will reclaim shofar as a technology for prayer, meditation, tikkun olam, music, and ritual. In time for Elul and High Holy Days, you will craft shofarot and learn to sound them, deepen your hearing, and prepare to serve the community as master blasters.

Michael Chusid has taught shofar at American Jewish University, Hebrew Union College, Limmud, Cactus Kallah, and many synagogues and havurot. Reb Zalman calls Michael Chusid “the mouthpiece of the shofar.” He is author of Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram’s Horn. www.HearingShofar.com


P18 Sippur Nafshi: The Story of My Soul
Judith Dack

This art-making class will use Hebrew chant, meditation and journaling to connect with The Divine within each of us as we unfold our own unique Soul Story Books, an art piece that tells our inner story. Join us in creating an enlivened intimate community of artists creating expressions of our souls’ wisdom and longings. (This class will entail an additional $20 fee, paid at registration, for books, artist materials and embellishments.) You may also bring color copies of your own personal photos, favorite texts and any other materials you may want to incorporate into your Soul Story Book. All levels welcome, artists and unidentified artists alike.

Judith Dackis a graduate student at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, studying Art Therapy and Transpersonal Counseling Psychology. She is on the faculty of Kol Zimra, Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Chant Leadership Training. Judith also serves on the ALEPH Board.


P19 Voluntary Simplicity with a Jewish Twist
Chava Gal-Or

Life often feels like a pressure cooker that needs navigation. Our fast-paced realities inspire us to seek ways to both simplify and live more meaningful lives. Both Judaism and the Voluntary Simplicity movement encourage us to seek conscious living tools as a path to spiritually and physically healthy lives. Together we will explore principles of Voluntary Simplicity and how they can be intertwined with core Jewish teachings/values. Simultaneously, we will develop tools that will enable us to walk more gently as we actively engage in a life of tikkun olam, repairing the world.

Chava Gal-Or is a mother, a writer, a Youth Education Director, an ALEPH volunteer for our news releases, graduate of Kol Zimra and the Davvenen’ Leadership Training Institute. Recently she moved to the beautiful desert of Tucson, AZ.


P20 Jewish Brainpower Institute: The Neuroscience of Spiritual Practice
Rabbi Ilan Glazer

How can we use our minds to come closer to God? Are we hardwired for belief in God? What effect does spiritual practice have on our brains? What are the implications of neuroscience in the areas of learning, health, aging, and wisdom? What do Jewish teachings have to offer? The Jewish Brainpower Institute will blend insights from Torah, neuroscience and the human potential movement to discuss these and other fascinating questions, and how their answers may fundamentally change our understanding of God, ourselves and our roles in the world (in the Jewish world and beyond).

Rabbi Ilan Glazer was ordained by ALEPH in January 2012. Ilan is a freelance Jewish educator blending Torah and Jewish life with insights from the personal growth and public speaking disciplines. Ilan lives with his soon-to-be-ordained wife Leslie Hilgeman in Philadelphia, PA.

P21 Hebrew Kirtan As I-Thou Encounter: Connecting With God Through Music, Meditation And Study
Rabbi Andrew Hahn

Hebrew Kirtan — inspired by a form of devotional prayer developed in India — is call-and-response, participatory chant where short, sacred phrases from the Jewish tradition are treated as powerful, universal meditations. Join the “Kirtan Rabbi,” Rabbi Andrew Hahn, for a deep, I-Thou immersion in this cutting-edge practice. Through chant, chi gung meditation, vocal toning (nada yoga) and study, we will learn easy techniques to connect: inwardly (to the heart and body), horizontally (to community), and vertically (to God).  You do not need to know any Hebrew or be a singer to enjoy this workshop, which culminates in a community-wide evening concert.

Rabbi Andrew Hahn, the Kirtan Rabbi, is an artist-rabbi whose music unites celebration of Torah and song to inspire a renewed spiritual energy. A martial arts instructor with a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought, he weaves meditation and learning into his chant playshops.



P22 The Barefoot Sofer: The Sacred Craft of Emergency Torah Repair
Rabbi Kevin Hale

Level: intermediate/advanced

While Torah resonates in all worlds of creation, this class on the physical Torah scroll is primarily concerned with the world of Assiyah, the world of making and doing. Torah “from the mouth of HaShem through the hand of Moshe” is the product of a human/divine partnership. Today, outside of Israel and a few large cities, the Jewish world is largely bereft of traditionally trained soferim. Our communities need members who are trained in the essentials of our sacred scribal tradition and can be entrusted to care for our most precious possession. This hands-on class will provide this training.

Rabbi Kevin Hale trained as a Sofer STaM under master scribe Rabbi Eric Ray z”l. He evaluates, repairs and writes Torah in Northampton, MA, and works with congregations across the spectrum in order to teach about our sacred tribal tradition. www.assiyah.com


P23 How the Hindu and Buddhist Traditions Can Clarify Our Understanding of Jewish Practice: Revisiting Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed
Jared Kass

Jewish resilience includes the assimilation of scientific insights and spiritual understanding from “cultural collisions” with other philosophical and religious traditions. We will explore a classic text on spiritual maturation, Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed, utilizing Hindu and Buddhist perspectives to explicate this dense material and focusing on four themes: Spiritual Maturation (Transformation of Awareness and Behavior); Knowing God: (The Architecture of the Human Mind); Building Healthy, Just Community (On the Nature of Evil); and Transformational Leadership (Moral and Contemplative Dimensions). Sessions will include Jewish meditative chanting informed by Hindu and Buddhist practices.

Jared Kass,
Ph.D., is a Professor in the Division of Counseling and Psychology at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, specializing in the Psychology of Religion. He has conducted research for over 30 years on spiritual maturation, well-being and social justice.

P24 Uri, Ori, Nur ala nur: Awaken my Light! Light Upon Light! 
Rabbi Debra Kolodny & Ibrahim Farajajé

Join us in a journey that pierces the heart and drinks from the radiant well of mystical Islam and Judaism. Read Qur’an and Torah texts on Avraham avinu/Ibrahim khalilullah (intimate Friend of HaShem) and explore Sufi, Zoharic and Hassidic commentaries. Soar on the wings of dhikr and Hebrew chant to embody our shared story/reality. Lift your soul, ascending to dvekut/merging/sufiyyat with the Divine Beloved through merkava and mi’raj meditations. Sample medieval teachings reflecting profound spiritual exploration across our traditions. Leave inspired to activate the Or Chadash/Nur ala nur we’ve tasted for inner and global peace, reconciliation and celebration.

Rabbi Debra Kolodny is the spiritual leader of P’nai Or of Portland. A passionate social justice activist and leader in ALEPH for ten years, she dwells in the well of deep ecumenism. Daily prayer, meditation and taiji make life glorious.

Ibrahim Farajajé is a professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He is also a Pir (shaykh) in the Chishti Sufi Order (Ajmer, India). Dreams: yoga, wilderness Torah/Qur’an, dancing with Reb Yisrael Odesser, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, kirtan!!

Joining us will be Nessim-Isa Enver, a 17-year-old visiting musician at Chochmat HaLev in Berkeley, CA. He studies and performs Turkish classical music/Turkish Sufi music/Turkish and Mizrahi Jewish music.


P25 “V’ah-Soo Lee Meek-Dash V’sha-Chantee B’to-Chom: Let Them Make for Me a Sanctuary and I Will Dwell Within Them.”
Experiencing The Sacred Within And Among Us Through Authentic Movement
Julie Leavitt

Each day we will create safe space — sanctuary — within our selves and among the group. Authentic Movement will be our core practice of movement meditation. We will experience dance and movement that comes naturally through the encouragement of inner listening and responding. We will move with eyes closed in the presence of a compassionate witness to the whole self. Our goal will be to create a sense of increased safety and sacredness within our body, allowing playfulness in community, the experience of dance and movement as prayer, and devekut, an intimate connection with the Beloved that you can access at any time.

Julie Leavitt has been exploring dance as prayer for 30 years since studying Dance Therapy and finding Jewish Renewal. Julie is a Spiritual Director through Lev Shomea, where she teaches Authentic Movement and offers body-centered practices.


P26 Living a Life of Bliss: 20 Jewish Practices Which Create Joy  CLASS CANCELLED
Hana Matt

We will directly experience the joy which comes from doing certain Jewish spiritual practices. Judaism and modern scientific studies have both come up with the same set of 20 fundamental practices, which lead naturally to experiencing bliss. This will be all new material from the course I taught at the last Kallah. You’ll receive an extensive packet with these texts of practices from Judaism and their corresponding proof from modern scientific studies. We will do each practice after we have learned the text. These practices are from the Jewish mystical tradition, Kabbalah, Zohar, Nachman of Bratslav, Baal Shem Tov, Rabbinic sources, Maimonides.

Hana Matt is a teacher of Jewish Spirituality, World Religions and Spiritual Direction at the Graduate Theological Union and the Interfaith Chaplaincy Institute. She is a Jewish Spiritual Director and the Co-Director of the Spiritual Direction Training Program. She teaches Kabbalah and Zohar courses with her husband, Daniel Matt.


P27 Ancestors and Ghosts, Spirit Guides and Reincarnating Souls: The Ancient Mystery and Contemporary Meaning of Afterlife in Jewish Tradition
Rabbinic Pastor Simcha Raphael

This class is an exploration of Jewish afterlife texts spanning three millennia of history. As travelers through time, we shall enter the worlds of Torah, Talmud, Midrash, Zohar and Hasidic tales investigating diverse ways Jews have understood the enigmatic mystery of death and the world beyond. Searching for spiritual renewal of traditional teachings, we shall use these texts for reflection and discussion discovering practical guidelines for responding to the human encounter with death — personally, and in our families and communities. Our exploration of a plethora of Jewish death and afterlife traditions shall deepen our appreciation of God’s unfolding presence in our lives.

Reb Simcha Raphael, Ph.D., is a Rabbinic Pastor, psychotherapist and Spiritual Director. Founder of DA’AT Institute – Death Awareness, Advocacy and Training, he teaches in the Religion Department of Temple University. He is author of Jewish Views of the Afterlife.



P28 Harvesting From the Pardes of Dreams
Yael Linda Schiller

This class offers a way to listen to the voice of your dreams from a uniquely Jewish perspective, as a way to connect the Divine within and without. We will explore the history of Jewish dream study and interpretation from Torah to Talmud to Kabbalah, uncover the layers of meaning in a dream through the Pardes (Orchard) system of reading Torah, and participate in several interactive methods of dreamwork together. Learning to incubate (channel) dreams as part of a healing spiritual practice will also be covered. Please bring a dream journal or paper to class.

Yael Linda Schiller is a integrative body/mind/spiritual psychotherapist, consultant, teacher, and author in Watertown, MA. She teaches dreamwork locally and nationally, including through The International Association for the Study of Dreams. She is known for her spirited, engaging and informative style, as well as for blending experiential work seamlessly into her classes.


P29 To the Mountain and Back: Reb Zalman’s Davening
Joel Segel

Jewish prayer is so much more than just words on a page. It invites bodies to move, hearts to feel, minds to expand, spirits to delight. It brings our whole selves into the presence of God. The more we seek in prayer, the more we find! Join the co-author of Reb Zalman’s new book, Davening — available at www.aleph.org — for four experiential sessions on deepening the prayer connection. We’ll journey through prayer’s diverse landscapes. We’ll imbue the 14 words with meaning, music and movement. And we’ll embrace the challenge and invitation of praying together, heading for the place where our souls are home.

Joel Segel is co-author, with Reb Zalman, of Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice and the new Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer. He prays and leads his own compositions at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, MA.


P30 We are all Tzaddikim: Dancing with Rebbe Elimelech
Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser

This course will look at the teachings of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk/Lezansk, the beloved third generation Hassidic master. Rebbe Elimelech saw the path of the Tzaddik (Rebbe) as open to anyone. His book No’am Elimelech is a Tzaddik “how-to” manual. He was also a practitioner of practical Hassidism, seeing the Rebbe as one involved with the physical as well as spiritual well-being of his Hassidim. We will learn his stories and examine passages on the Tzaddik from his writings. We will practice two of his meditations, learn melodies connected to him and even dance the Elimelech Dance.

Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser, M.A., D.Min., was a teacher at the first Kallah and has taught at three National Havurah Institutes. She teaches adults, specializing in topics related to Hasiddism and Jewish mysticism, when she is not playing ukulele.


P31 SpeakChorus Torah: Building a Community of Holy Midrash Tellers
Rabbi Melissa Starr Wenig, Hazzan Michal Rubin and Hazzan Abbe Lyons

What do you get when you mix poetry, flash mob, bible and midrash with a little singing thrown in for good measure? Using Torah circles, Contemplative Torah, writing, niggunim, discussion and movement, we unpack, explore and connect to the text in all four worlds, crafting a holy sound-sculpture of story, poetry, melody, of voices weaving in and out separately and together. Our SpeakChorusmidrash will surprise and move both speakers and listeners during the Shabbat morning Torah service. You don’t have to be a writer, scholar, singer, or public speaker to be part of this community of holy Midrash Tellers.

The SpeakChorus Torah Project team of Rabbi Melissa Starr Wenig (www.joyfulservice.com), Hazzan Michal Rubin and Hazaan Abbe Lyons (http://www.abbelyons.com/teach.html) are writers, teachers, musicians, somatic educators, and lovers of Torah. They have crafted and performed SpeakChorus midrashim with groups at OHALAH and Ruach Ha’Aretz retreats and in congregational settings.


P32 Holy Drumming
Akiva The Believer

Drumming in Holy Space: How do you play your drum? How do you play your drum during services? Learn from Akiva The Believer, a popular, joyful Master Drummer. He will first show you the basics of getting sounds from whatever drum you bring. (Or you can borrow one of Akiva’s.) What rhythms work with which prayers? Deepening your own kavannah. When NOT to play. Listening. Chanting and drumming together. Soloing. Middle Eastern rhythms. Reggae. Drumming as a spiritual practice. Other instruments: shakers, tambourine, electronic drums for ecstatic dancing, hip hop, etc. Drumming with other drummers. Finding your own authentic beat.

Akiva The Believer Wharton is a Master Drummer helping to bring drumming back into Jewish prayer. Akiva accompanies a who’s-who of Jewish singers and prayer leaders. Akiva received smicha as Drummer from Reb Zalman. His first CD and book are in production. www.AkivaTheBeliever.com