About the Program
In these times of physical distancing, it's hard to feel connected to our innermost selves. Many of us are doing the best that we can just to stay afloat, that we haven't had the chance to touch base with our souls.
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal's virtual programming includes our Tikshoret Program and Renewing Our Collective Soul: A Virtual Program For Our Times, which was created in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachers and leaders from all over the globe have hosted sessions on meditation, embodied movement, spiritual direction, and so much more––gently guiding us to spaces where we can connect with our deepest selves.
Most programs are pay-what-you-wish. Donations will directly support the work of ALEPH and Jewish Renewal programming, and we are thankful for any amount you can donate. If you're unable to make a donation at this time, that's okay too. We welcome you.
New offerings will continue to be added, so be sure to check back here often.
- Dreams, Oracles, Predictions, and a Party! (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Embodying the Divine Mystery: A Kabbalistic Movement Journey (Reb Simona Aronow)
- Life Story Midrash: Our Stories as a Map for Transformation (Rabbi Dayle Friedman)
- Light It Up: A Chanukah Concert with Mikey Pauker (Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine and Mikey Pauker)
- Love at the Center Fireside Chat (Rabbi Shefa Gold and SooJi Min-Maranda)
- Movement is Life (Reb Simona Aronow)
- Premiere Reading of "My Ancestors Dreamed Me Here" | Benefiting Together on Turtle Island (Stephanie Liss, Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, and special guests)
- Resilience Skills for Trying Times (Rabbi Aura Ahuvia)
- Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service (Rabbi Anne Brener)
- Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part Five (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Ta’amei HaMikra: The Music of the Hebrew Bible (Hazzan Diana Brewer)
- The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment (Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder)
- Yad b' Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series (Rabbi Deb Smith, Sister Eleanor Francis, and Dr. Shabiha Sheikh)
Light It Up: A Chanukah Concert with Mikey Pauker
Date: Sunday, December 13
Time: 7:30 - 8:30 pm EST (4:30 - 5:30 pm PST)
Description: Jewish rock artist Mikey Pauker is here to bring light and energy right to your living room! Named one of “The 10 Stars of The New Jewish Music” from TIME Magazine, Mikey’s ecstatic sound is not to be missed.
Chanukah may be looking a lot different this year, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t come together to celebrate virtually. Mikey’s dynamic, spirited energy is sure to lift you right off of your couch (or desk chair) as you sing and dance right alongside your computer and your menorah. Celebrate the Festival of Lights with one of the brightest lights in the Jewish music world!
Premiere Reading of "My Ancestors Dreamed Me Here"
Benefiting Together on Turtle Island
Date: Monday, December 21
Time: 7:30 - 9:30 pm EST (4:30 - 6:30 pm PST)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (proceeds will benefit Together on Turtle Island)
Description: "My Ancestors Dreamed Me Here" is a new play by award-winning playwright and television writer, Stephanie Liss, with an original score by RebbeSoul, featuring Native American Flute, by Blue Fluteman, of the Apache Nation. This Zoom reading is a premiere (first eyes and ears on excerpts of the play!) especially for ALEPH. Rabbi Geela Rayzel will host this exciting evening!
Proceeds will benefit Together On Turtle Island, the first of its kind, intertribal organization, working toward sovereignty among all the Tribal nations, and providing COVID-19 relief to the devastated Native American community.
Stephanie wrote this play with her many conversations with Reb Zalman z"l in mind. A supporter and fan of Stephanie's work, Reb Zalman urged her to write a play or movie, connecting the Native American and Jewish nations. Twenty years later, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the right time appeared. "My Ancestors Dreamed Me Here"––in full theatre structure––is a three part, generational play of three tribes, their stories interwoven, featuring the strength of Native American women. The play explores the deep connection they have, not only to each other, to the land, and to their ancestors, but to Jews, and the Jewish people's journey. In this reading, there will be excerpts of the lives of two of the main characters, portrayed by Native American actresses––some faces you may recognize, know, and love. Their stories are both tragic, and extraordinary, and most assuredly, blessed. The reading will also feature surprise guest appearances by a beloved Jewish actor and beloved Native American actor; both lions of film, television, and stage.
Following the reading, a talkback panel will feature leading Native American activists, several of whom have been featured on BBC, CNN, and World News Tonight. There will be time for a Q & A session as well. This one-of-a-kind performance is not one to be missed!
The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment
Dates: Sundays: December 20, and January 3
Time: 7 - 8:15 pm EST (4 - 5:15 pm PST)
Description: Following a series of conversations which were engaging, thought-provoking and spirited, we are excited to announce the continuation of our intergenerational conversations. During this era of physical distancing, we invite you to join us as we explore some of the big questions that are arising during this time. Our intention is to create opportunities to draw on each person's wisdom and to share responses from voices across the generations.
This session is for anyone who is drawn to the alchemy of elders and youngers together - addressing the here and now - with all of its joy and grief. In breakout groups, we will create space for structured sharing on relevant topics as they emerge.
A sampling of topics which we addressed in the first three sessions included loneliness and isolation, adjusting to the new normal, making the most of the High Holiday in quarantine and guilt-free spaciousness. All sessions can stand alone, or be taken together.
Dreams, Oracles, Predictions, and a Party!
Date: Thursday, December 31
Time: 8 - ? EST (5 - ? pm PST)
Description: Let's harness the energy of good intention at the turning of the year! Join Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael as she leads an uplifting Zoom GalaGala with teachers, oracles, music, and more on New Years Eve. The evening will include a new Havdalah ritual goodbye to 2020 and a royal welcome to 2021; filled with blessings, dreams, and predictions of what is to come. We will offer yoga and dance to move into the year with grace. Come for a little, stay as long as you are comfortable, but don't sit alone in your room! Join us to bring in 2021 with an uplifting, educational, and artistic event. Start the New Year off with Joy and Hope!
Rabbi Avruhm Addison
Rabbi Micah Becker-Klein
Elissa Yaffe Cohen
Rabbi Mychal Copeland
Kohenet Rebekah Erev
Rabbi Shefa Gold
Kohenet Ketzirah HaMa'agelet
Rabbi Dr. Jill Hammer
Cantor Naomi Hirsch
Kohenet Rachel Kann
Hazzan Jack Kessler
Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein
Rabbis Ben and Shoshana Leis
Dr. Beverly Pincus
Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael
Dr. Brielle Paige Rassler
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit
Rabbi Simcha Zevit
Movement is Life
Dates: Sundays: January 17 and January 31
Time: 3 - 4:30 pm EST (12 - 1:30 pm PST)
Led by: Reb Simona Aronow
Description: As the sap begins to rise within the trees in a hidden quiet way even before Spring, and we celebrate the Trees on Tu B'Shvat in the depths of winter, we will enter the tree metaphor as inspiration for getting our bodies moving. Our body sap, roots, trunk and branches move independently, yet are also in a dynamically changing connected relationship.
Mindfully and playfully we will put attention to body connectivity and organization, and our natural inner impulse to move. There is no right or wrong way to move. We have been moving naturally from the time we were born. By starting where you are and honoring your body's wisdom and movement abilities, you can then experiment with new movement vocabulary. This class will nurture and give structure to what is already natural, and help cultivate aliveness, ease, and awareness through movement. Whether you identify as a lover of movement or as a "non-mover", this class will bring you closer to feeling alive and open new possibilities to enjoying the precious gift of movement called life.
Class one will focus more on the Body aspect of movement and our relationship to ourselves. Class two will expand to include a focus of ourselves within Space, and our relationship to the environment around us.
This is a two class series, yet each class can be taken independently. You already have all the experience you need. Open to all bodies and physical abilities.
Love at the Center Fireside Chat
Date: Sunday, January 17
Time: 7 - 8:30 pm EST (4 - 5:30 pm PST)
Description: Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Love at the Center project, focusing on reclaiming the Song of Songs as a central text that can inform, remind and intrigue us daily, launched in October. Join Rabbi Shefa and SooJi Min-Maranda, Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, as they explore ways to live life with Love at the center.
Resilience Skills for Trying Times
Dates: Ten Wednesdays: January 20, January 27, February 3, February 10, February 17, February 24, March 3, March 10, March 17, and March 24
Time: 12 - 2 pm EST (9 - 11 am PST)
Cost: $200 for the ten-week course
Led by: Rabbi Aura Ahuvia
Description: Sometimes, our circumstances can leave us feeling worried, stressed out, and depleted. In our darker moments, we might even wonder whether we’ll ever be able to feel energized or hopeful again. Help is available. Resilience Skills for Trying Times is a class devoted to learning practical, easily mastered self-care skills that are grounded in the science of Mind-Body medicine, and steeped in Jewish wisdom.
You’ll learn one new skill per week. These will include meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback and autogenic training, breathing and movement, healthy and mindful eating, gaining perspective by discovering generational patterns, drawing and self-expression. These pair in important ways with core Jewish concepts including Neshamah and Nefesh (soul, breath, relaxation), Haveirut (spiritual friendship), Oneg (joy), Dorot (generations), R’fu-ah (healing), Tamid (regular practice), and Shalom (peace, wholeness).
The small group setting, which is carefully structured to provide support and safety, offers an experience that is educational, supportive, participatory and fun. Many past participants report group interactions to be a powerful aid in both their learning, and their healing. Ultimately, each participant is there to gain insight about themselves, and learn how to better access their own inner healing and wisdom.
In this class, the learning and relationships grow over time, resulting in a course that is deeply rewarding. Please be sure, however, that you feel comfortable committing to the fullness of the course. This course is not appropriate for someone who is seeking a drop-in class.
This course is being offered to a small group of only ten participants. Register today to reserve your place in this powerful, small group intensive.
Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part Five
Dates: Sundays: January 24 and January 31
Time: 1 - 2:15 pm EST (10 - 11:15 am PST)
Led by: Rabbi Deb Smith
Description: This two session series builds off of the previous program series offered in Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020. However, the previous courses are NOT required in order to sign up for this one. All courses can be taken as standalone programs. This new series will focus on two new spiritual practices for these challenging times.
Session 1: Truthfulness (Emet) - The practice of truthfulness (emet) is critical in our relationships with others and with ourselves. How do we develop a spiritual practice of truthfulness? How do we learn to be truthful with ourselves so that we can be more truthful with others? What about white lies? Lying outright? When do we stretch the truth? We will explore key texts that help us grapple with these difficult issues.
Session 2: Frugality (Kimmutz) - The practice of frugality (kimmutz) deals with how we limit ourselves to what is necessary and how we exercise self-restraint in our relationships with others and with the world. How do we deal with our material desires, with our lives in relation to money? How do we determine what we really need and what is an indulgence? We will explore key texts that will engage us in meaningful discussion about these questions.
Life Story Midrash: Our Stories as a Map for Transformation
Dates: Thursdays: February 4, February 11, and February 18
Time: 11:30 am - 12:45 pm EST (8:30 am - 9:45 am PST)
Led by: Rabbi Dayle Friedman
Description: Life review is a natural and generative part of growing older. Sociologist Sara Lightfoot-Lawrence says, “our stories are our only map” for the journey beyond midlife. Through our stories, we can come to recognize tender places, unfinished business, and yearnings that can transform our lives going forward. Re-framing our stories can guide us and heal us; as Fred Luskin says, “we can always rewrite the stories we carry around.”
In this series, we will investigate the interpretive process of Midrash, the rabbis’ approach to finding meaning in the stories from our sacred text. We’ll sample some key questions Midrash uses in expounding a text, and then we’ll each apply these questions to a story from our own lives. We’ll write and re-write our story in order to glean lessons from our pasts and directions for our futures. Please note: the stories from our lives that we work on will be kept private. We will share reflections only about the process and the lessons we learn.
Yad b' Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series
Dates: Wednesdays: February 17, March 3, and March 17
Time: 7:30 - 8:45 pm EST (4 - 5:45 pm PST)
Description: Join ALEPH for our brand new Yad b' Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series, an opportunity for immersive, interfaith learning at the intersection of the Abrahamic traditions. This program is perfect for curious seekers hoping to expand their knowledge of Judaism's sister faiths and build relationships with Christians and Muslims.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn from a dynamic interfaith trio with a deep shared history: Rabbi Debra Smith (Reb Deb), Sister Eleanor Francis, and Dr. Shabiha Sheikh have known each other over many years, building relationships with each other through teaching, studying, sharing meals, praying, and sharing family stories with each other. In this series, they will share the fruits of many years of dialogue and insight. Each dialogue session will be followed by an open Q + A. Register today!
Session One: Compassion in Our Traditions - Compassion is a core teaching in each of our value systems. Explore key texts and stories teaching compassion in each of our faiths.
Session Two: Charity, Tzedakah and Zakat in Our Traditions - Our traditions place strong emphasis on helping those less fortunate. Where do these values come from and what form does this obligation take in helping us create a more just society?
Session Three: Prayer in Our Traditions - Our three faiths place and emphasis on praising and thanking G-d. We'll explore these prayers of thanks and praise as well as a range of different types of prayers from a three faith's perspective.
Embodying the Divine Mystery: A Kabbalistic Movement Journey
Dates: Sundays: February 28, March 7, and March 14
Time: 3 - 5:30 pm EST (12 - 2:30 pm PST)
Cost: $108 for all three sessions ($36 per session)
Led by: Reb Simona Aronow
Description: Come join an embodied immersion in Kabbalah to bring balance and dynamic resilience amidst the mysteries of life unfolding. We will learn traditional Kabbalistic roadmaps through movement and somatic experience, encouraging direct body knowing. Our three themes for exploration are: The Sephirotic lights on the Tree of Life, the parallel Levels of Soul, and the letter paths of Aleph, Mem, Shin, corresponding to Air, Water and Fire. These Kabbalistic tools will come alive in personally meaningful, playful, and practical ways. For a further description of each of the three classes, see below.
Whether you are learning this material for the first time or teaching this material, what is unique about an embodied approach is the direct understandings and relationships that unfold from the depths of the body/mind/spirit in the present moment. Embodied spirituality enables you to enter the material where you are, and come out with a new perspective.
These three classes are best experienced as a series. If you would like to take a single class only, please first contact email@example.com before registering.
No Movement or Kabbalah experience needed. Grow the roots of your spiritual aliveness, watered by the wellsprings of your body wisdom.
Class One: The Tree of Life
"She is a Tree of Life to those who grasp her, and those that hold on to her are happy. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her pathways are peace.” (Proverbs, 3:17-18)
The Tree of Life is a manifestation of Divine creation in our three dimentional world and mirrors all human experience. We open to the Tree of Life within us as a road map to embodying the sacred. Each of the seven lower Sephirot will be explored through movement. Each embodies a unique quality, creates a vessel for that spiritual light, yet also contains the whole. We are a microcosm of these Sephirot, and this is how humans can partake in the divine. To the extent that we can embody the Tree and her varied channels of light, is the degree to which we can embody the sacred in everyday life. This class provides an opportunity to open to direct visceral knowing of these Divine channels for guidance and inspiration. Let theTree of Life come alive as you embody her Roots, Trunk, and Branches, and connect with them in a personal and meaningful way.
Class Two: Levels of Soul
"And God blew into his nostrils a soul of life." (Genesis, 2:7)
What is your experience of soul? Kabbalah speaks about having not one Soul, but Five Levels of Soul. Our souls are the deepest connection to the sacred and are needed to both interact with and receive information from different dimensions. Each soul level has a unique gift to offer us. We will learn the basic nature of each soul level and play with how it moves through you as an individual. How does each soul level receive nourishment and uniquely express itself? Where in your body and in which body systems do each of these soul levels live? In which levels are you most comfortable and what other soul consciousness might you need to strengthen in order to come to better balance?
Class Three: Three Mother Letters and the Elements
"Three Mothers: Aleph, Mem, Shin, a great, mystical secret..." (Sefer Yetzirah, The Book of Creation, 3:2)
In addition to the 10 Sephirot, there are also 22 pathways on the Tree of Life, each with an associated Hebrew letter. We will explore through movement, three of the 22 letters that are the building blocks of creation. These three foundational letters, are Aleph (A), Mem (M) and Shin (SH), and correspond to Air, Water and Fire. We will play with the shape, number, and meaning of each of these letters and the Elements they represent. We will also explore the energy of each of the Elements, how they live within our bodies, and how to balance these elemental energies. Whether you are learning this material for the first time or teaching this material, what is unique about an embodied approach is the direct new understandings and relationships that unfold from the depths of the body,/mind/spirit in the present moment. Embodied spirituality enables you to enter the material where you are, and come out with a new perspective, healing or personal meaning.
Ta’amei HaMikra: The Music of the Hebrew Bible
Dates: Tuesdays, see below schedule for full dates
Times: 1 - 3 pm EST (10 am - 12 pm PST)
Cost: Three session units: $180 per unit
Four session units: $240 per unit
Instructor: Hazzan Diana Brewer
Description: Have you been wanting to learn to chant from the Torah? Haven’t chanted Haftarah since you turned 13? Are you haunted by the melodies of Lamentations? Join Hazzan Diana Brewer for a journey through the music of the Hebrew Bible. We will make the journey in a series of units to learn the music of the six different systems of Ashkenazi trop.
There’s more to trop than the beautiful melodies! We will begin with a three-week unit, delving into the core structure of trop, revealing the layers of meaning it holds. This first unit (or previous study of this material) is a prerequisite to all other units, and will be offered twice*. We will continue over the course of the academic year with four-week units on the music of Torah, Haftarah, Esther, Ketuvim, Eicha, and High Holy Days. If you already know Torah trop, but are hoping to chant Megillat Esther in the spring, that’s fine. With the exception of the prerequisite opening unit, participants are welcome to sign up for any of the units they are called to.
Who should take this journey? It is open to anyone who wants or needs to know the music of the Hebrew Bible. Musical units will cover lots of ground pretty quickly, so it is best if you have some facility with learning and singing music. Ability to read music, while helpful, is not required. Recorded materials will be available. Ability to “decode” Hebrew is a must.
What do I need? We will be working with “Chanting the Hebrew Bible” Student Edition by Josh Jacobson. This text is available at thriftbooks.com, AbeBooks.com, barnesandnoble.com, and Amazon. (E-Book not recommended) Also recommended, but not required, is Hebrew Grammar Guides: Study Aids for Basic Hebrew Grammar Skills by Rabbi Miles B. Cohen and Leslie Rubin.
*Contact Hazzan Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure if you meet the prerequisite.
*Registration for Units 2 - 7 will be made available to you immediately after you register for Unit 1.*
To register for Unit 1, please click on the blue linked title.
(THIS IS A REPRISE OF UNIT 1 OFFERED IN SEPTEMBER.)
January 5, January 19, and January 26
Unit 4: Esther
February 2, February 9, February 23, and March 2
Unit 5: Ketuvim
March 9, March 16, March 23, and April 6
Unit 6: Eicha
April 13, April 20, April 27, and May 4
Unit 7: High Holy Days
May 11, May 25, June 1, and June 8
Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service
Date and Time: Every Wednesday, 11:30 am EST (8:30 am PST)
Description: Overwhelmed with stress from social distancing, quarantine, and COVID-19? Join Rabbi Anne Brener and AJRCA Student Cantor Elizabeth Baseman for a chanting and meditation service, using the structure of the morning service, to calm our bodies and connect our souls. There will be time for some check-in afterward.
Our Session Leaders
We are thankful for so many incredible leaders who are stepping up to provide space for us to virtually connect. Our leaders are sure to excite, grow, and inspire you––learn more about them below!
- Awakening Inner Freedom Through Integral Kabbalah Meditation (Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks)
- Coming Home: The Season of Teshuvah | Preparing for the New Year (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Embodying Your Jewish Practice (Rabbi Diane Elliot)
- Heartfulness for (This and) All Times: An Introduction to Jewish Contemplative Practice (Rabbi Jeff Roth)
- Here Comes the Sun! A Solstice Celebration to Stay in the Mystical Light of Hope (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Inviting in the Sweetness: A Rosh Hashanah Zoom Gala Gala (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Love at the Center (Rabbi Shefa Gold and friends)
- Sparking the Sparks of Light (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part One (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part Two (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part Three (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - Part Four (Rabbi Debra Smith)
- Sukkat ShaZoom (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Tales and Teachings of Reb Zalman (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
- Virtual Concert Series - An Evening of Social Justice and Praise Featuring Nefesh Mountain and Hazzan Jessi Roemer
- Virtual Concert Series - Erev Shel Kochavim: An Evening of Stars | ALEPH Virtual Cabaret
- Virtual Concert Series - Rosh Chodesh Elul | Evening of Kirtan Chant Featuring the Kirtan Rabbi and friends
- Virtual Concert Series - Sing a New Song Psalms Showcase Featuring Cantor Linda Hirschhorn, Rabbi David Shneyer, and friends
- The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment (Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder)
- Yoga Shalom at Home (Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine)
- Zoom Gala Gala: The Art of the Omer Journey | Celebrate Lag B’Omer with a Bonfire of Joyous Expression (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
When is this event taking place?
Each program takes place at different dates and times. Please refer to your selected program for the correct dates and times, and be sure to pay attention to time zones.
Where is this event taking place?
This event is entirely virtual! You can participate from anywhere in the world. You can even be in your pajamas (we won't tell!)
Do I need an internet connection to participate?
An internet or phone connection is required to be able to participate. We encourage having some sort of camera so that your face can be seen, but a phone will work just fine if needed.
What if I have never done video conferencing before?
That's okay! After you register, you will be given detailed instructions on how to get set up so that you will be able to fully participate in as many sessions as you wish.
How long is each session? How often do they meet?
Session lengths vary based on the program. Refer to the detailed session descriptions above to learn more.