ALEPH and CDEEP: Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice present
Chant Leader's Professional Development
A Two-Year Training Program led by Rabbi Shefa Gold & Rachmiel O'Regan
Assisted by: Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Judith Dack, Yaffah Schnitzer, and Carl Woolf
All photos on this page by Janice Rubin
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT for Rabbis, Cantors and Lay Leaders, Meditation Teachers, Rosh Chodesh Leaders, Healers, Prayer Leaders, Support Group Facilitators and Artists of Ritual.
Kol Zimra is a two-year training program; there are four week-long retreats as follows:
Forming the container for Sacred Work/Clarifying our Intention
The Basics of Chant – Exploring the Uses of a Sacred Phrase and the Variables that Effect Consciousness. Cultivating Midot, qualities of Presence. Discerning and Practicing the Eight Functions of Consciousness in a Spiritual Group. Exploring the “Shadow” as it arises in group dynamics. Maintaining the energy body.
An Elemental Journey – We will deepen and expand our spiritual vocabulary through an exploration of the Elements of Earth, Water, Fire and Air. By discerning the gift, excess, deprivation and misdirection of these elemental forces, we can use chant to open to God’s Presence in ourselves and our world.
Chant as Medicine – We will enter into the mysteries of chant as vehicle of healing our hidden places of trauma, turning the sacred phrase into medicine for the residue of isolation, grief, fear and despair. We’ll learn to explore a Sacred Text in ways that reveal its medicine. We’ll learn how to construct a chanting service.
Chant as a Healing Modality – In the final retreat, we will use what we have learned to engage in a healing practice based on the model of the Mishkan. We will learn the silent meditation practice of Devekut that can form the foundation of our Chant and leadership.
KOL ZIMRA ALUMNI RETREATS
These retreats are currently on hold during the COVID19 Pandemic
Chanting — the melodic and rhythmic repetition of a sacred phrase — is a way of transforming the words of liturgy and Torah into doorways to expanded states of consciousness. The chant can attune us to ever-deepening levels of meaning, unlock the treasures of the heart, and give us an opportunity to generously serve each other.
This training is an opportunity to explore this powerful ecstatic practice with both rigorous attention to detail and expansive enjoyment of its transformative effects. Participants will be asked to organize a chanting group in their own communities in order to develop and refine the skills of chant and group energy. We will learn about the dynamics and potential of a spiritual group, using our own group as a living laboratory.
Rabbi Shefa Gold
These testimonials are from Kol Zimra graduates.
To anyone considering embarking on this journey: do not hesitate! Do whatever it takes! This is the finest training offering you will find anywhere. This program is a treasure and studying intensively with visionary Rabbi Shefa Gold is an opportunity that should not be missed.
– Danya Underwood (KZ1)
… the KZ experience has changed my life. It gave me the tools with which to share the richness of our heritage through the depth and beauty of chant. Not only did it help me to get in touch with the multiple levels of my own being, but it helped me to share the spiraling possibilities of spirituality with others. KZ taught me leadership skills based on acceptance, connectedness, support, and ingathering. I loved the total experience.
– Eva Friedner (KZ3)
Our training helped me to focus on something that was really important to me even with what “little” I had already been doing, it opened me up to the range of possibility that exists in the medium of chant to the point where it seems limitless, boundless and infinitely exciting. And I am continually “surprised” by how well it is received, how it really reaches people in a deep place and fosters their connection with divine energy. My life’s purpose has been more clearly defined by what we have done.
– Linda Zahavi (KZ1)
[Kol Zimra] delivered so much more than it promised. We thought we would learn chant leadership, but because chant opens into all streams of life we were able to create holy community, experience deep healing, and discover powers we never knew we had.
– Alon Nashman (KZ3)
The perspective Rabbi Shefa offers elicits a powerful way to be in deep relationship to G!d and one’s own truth, Jewishly. Using chant in this way will remain with me for the rest of my life. The the ability to grow in this, share, and teach it with others is a blessing. Shefa is a blessing.
– Donna Chava Friedman (KZ3)
Never could I have imagined the healing, presence, peace and transformation that would come from my 18 months in Kol Zimra 3. The chanting allowed so many places in my heart to open.
– Shira Orit (KZ3)
… Shefa Gold’s 18-month Kol Zimra Chant Leader Training… has been one of the most valuable and transformative trainings in my rabbinic career… Shefa is a master teacher, retreat leader, ritual facilitator, and community builder. She brings a spirit of joy, generosity, and integrity to this work, which is deeply rooted in Torah. One of the significant gifts I received through this training is a softening of the quality of my presence, and I find that the services I lead take participants to deeper places, the meetings I participate in go much smoother, and my interactions with family, friends are more nourishing.
– Malkah Binah (KZ6)
Shefa teaches chant and leadership, giving us a balanced and original model, and practical elements to form loving containers for groups of our own. … the most important thing I received in this training was the sense of connection with the people who are today my spiritual family. Kol Zimra gave of herself to us in a personalized way, and from the first module the group had attained an aura of togetherness which Shefa, Rachmiel and Phyllis wove together through their unique style of teaching. A sense of wonder, moments of magic, attunement on a different level, ritual to encapsulate our lives and create sacred vessels of our instruments. Four weeks in eighteen months, through summers and winters, we were witnesses to the blossoming of each other. Everyone told us there was something special about the group: it was the chant, and the enchantress, which brought us together.
I highly recommend this training for anyone who wants to learn about their own leadership style, and about attaining a profound spiritual connection through sacred chant
My experience with the Kol Zimra training program was much more than I could have even hoped for. The caliber of leadership, the strength of group connections and the depth of learning all contributed to an incredible 18 month journey, a journey which was more joyful and profound than words can express, a journey which continues still. This program changed my relationship to leadership, my relationship to my home community and my relationship with The Great Mystery itself.
– Jessica Kreimerman-Lew (KZ1)
I joined Kol Zimra to spend 4 weeks chanting with Shefa because that experience opens my soul. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough.
And… I learned a structure for leading spiritual practice with special focus on the energetic roles… how to develop stereoscopic consciousness. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough.
And… I opened up my daily spiritual practice, integrating deep consciousness with an incredibly open connection to my spiritual community. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough.
And… I wrote my own chant and got to hear it chanted by many holy voices. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough.
And… I learned how to develop rituals by co-creating them with my holy chevra, investigating why some work better than others and how to dance in the unknown. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough.
And… I became part of an incredibly caring spiritual community. If that had been all that happened… dayyeinu… it would have been enough. And it was.
– Shlomo Bob Hyman (KZ1)
Kol Zimra [was] my first experience with Jewish renewal. As Education Director at a Conservative synagogue, I was looking for a program that would awaken my sense of wonder in my spiritual practice and revitalize my work. This training exceeded my expectations in every way. Kol Zimra has enriched both my personal practice and my professional life. The impact of this work has powerfully affected my teaching and, the energy and support I have been given, has made it possible for me to lift the level of learning at our school from the ordinary to new heights of spiritual excitement and academic eagerness. Rabbi Shefa Gold along with her colleagues Rabbi Phyllis Ocean and Rachmiel O’Regan have the ability to create a community of Jewish learners that has intellectual integrity and spiritual authenticity. I recommend this training to all those who have the privilege of teaching and leading Jewish young people in their communities. It will renew your commitment to Jewish service and invigorate your work and your heart.
– Carolyn Silver-Alford (KZ1)
From the first time I chanted with Shefa, years ago, I knew that her chanting touched something deep within my soul, and that if I ever had the chance to train in this path I’d take it.
When that opportunity finally opened up with the development of Kol Zimra, Chant Leadership Training, I ran to be among the first group. This experience surpassed my deepest expectations.
Yes, as I hoped, I learned many chants, understood how to develop a chant practice use, create and lead chants and many other essentials. But the accompanying personal and spiritual development, and profound connections that occurred with in the group over the 18 months we were together made this unique in my life. I was not mere learning but also transforming my being.
Shefa’s deep knowledge, broad background and inherent spiritual dignity are a role model for anyone who wants to live wholeheartedly in God’s presence and with authenticity with their fellow beings. If chant speaks to YOUR being, you can do no better than immerse yourself in Kol Zimra and let your soul sing.
– Maxine Fraade (KZ1)
I signed up for this course because it was… beshert (meant to be).
Without romanticizing the experience, I can truly say that I grew into the depths of my pain and into the heights of my ecstasy (mutually INexclusive parts of the process).
On a musical level, I (with some self-inflicted intimidation and trepidation at first) found my voice amidst a choir of magical, angelic tones – voices which nourished me, held me, enhanced me and elated me.
On a personal level, I am continuing to be engaged in a “transformative” (a compliment bestowed upon me by non-KZ friends who knew me prior to the course!) process, augmenting self-confidence and leadership skills, subtly and slowly facilitating the power of Jewish chant to reveal itself.
On an interpersonal level, I have been blessed to acquire the most phenomenal international family of KZ particilpants that one could imagine. These are relationships bonded by the program, which became like siblings, parents, partners; regardless of geographic separation.
On an educational level, I learned (and am continually learning) how to define Jewish chant, how to access it and how to disseminate it.
Shefa (and Rachmiel) are leaders par excellance. Their teaching, support, example, challenge, wit and love combined to create for us a life-transforming experience. Though the couse has officially concluded, our journey with them will continue.
– Sue Rodgin (KZ1)
Rabbi Shefa Gold’s 18-month Kol Zimra (Chant Leaders) program, including four week-long retreats at Elat Chayyim, takes you several octaves further in your spiritual awakening adventures and sacred service in the world. Among many other things, you learn how to use sound consciously to refine awareness; how to design and use ritual to enrich your life and further your growth; and how to meditate deeper and further than you knew before. During this training you find yourself naturally and more confidently stepping forward into leadership in all the communities in which you are participating.
I believe Rabbi Shefa is one of this generation’s most illumined teachers. An opportunity to study with such a teacher comes along only a few times in a lifetime.
– Prahaladan (Philip David Mandelkorn) (KZ1)
The practice that I learned and continue to develop through the experience of Kol Zimra is purifying, cultivating, and nourishing my soul in a way that I never could have imagined. Among so many other things, the Kol Zimra experience has taught me the value of building a relationship with the energy of chant that encourages the voice of my inner life to be heard.
As I recognize the more self awareness I can develop the better leader I can be, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to receive the generous gift of learning with impeccable detail about this transformational work. The feeling of deep connection and unending support of my teachers and chant buddies inspires me to share this powerful healing tool with others as they seek to meet themselves and to connect with the universal energy.
– Yaffah Schnitzer (KZ1)
I signed up for Kol Zimra with the simple intention of learning how to teach, lead, and guide group sacred chant, as an adjunct to workshops I was facilitating.
I did realize this intention.
However, the gifts of Kol Zimra have been far deeper.
Within the safe, sacred container of the loving community we built, I came into contact with the high, thick, broad walls of grief encasing my heart, built as protection over a lifetime, now standing in the way of living and loving fully.
It became clear that in order to more completely fulfill my intention of serving as God’s instrument in the world, it was necessary to acknowledge and deeply grieve the pain I had hidden away.
In our first week together Reb Shefa spoke of the inner heart inside our hearts, of accessing that deep inner space, going through the doorway of chant, to serve as channels of God’s love and healing.
I believed she was speaking truth, and I was afraid it was a journey impossible for me to make.
I’ve never been so grateful to be wrong.
I signed up believing I would deepen my ability to serve as an instrument of God’s voice in the world.
18 months later, I journeyed out with a deeper, more honest ability to serve as an instrument of God’s love.
Deep gratitude to our teachers, and to our Kol Zimra community, for the gifts of our work together.
– Lynn Shaeffer (KZ1)
Shefa Gold and the Kol Zimra experience helped me recognize the power of chant as a vehicle for spiritual growth, healing, and building community. Learning about my voice, chant group leadership and the unique life of a chant at different times and for different groups enabled me to grow as a chant leader. The essential aspect of chant, we learned, is energy. A chant’s power rests in its ability to shape, build, and transform energy and in the process, the chanters.
Shefa Gold is a powerful teacher whose own practice is a model for her students. It is truly a privilege to be her student.
– Christina Ager (KZ3)
“I cannot say enough good about Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra seminar series. I’ve known Shefa a long time, and I thought I was already familiar with her work. But intermittent exposure to Shefa’s Jewish Chant doesn’t begin to compare to four week-long intensives, each more powerful than the next. There is no question that I received far more than I bargained for in each installment of Kol Zimra.
“To anyone who has been searching for an experience of genuine spiritual depth in a Jewish context, I would say: your search ends (and begins) with Kol Zimra. In Kol Zimra, Shefa has succeeded in creating an entirely new phenomenon within Judaism—a simple, practical technology, based on Hebrew scripture, that anyone can utilize to their great spiritual and psychological benefit.
“In keeping with the tradition of all great spiritual revivals, it’s no exaggeration to say that Shefa has thrown wide open the gates of Jewish prayer. All who sincerely wish to enter them, can naturally, effortlessly enter them here.”
– Rabbi Alan Green (KZ7)