Renewing Our Collective Soul: A Virtual Program For Our Times

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.

Even though we can't gather in person at this time, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal invites you to (virtually) join us for Renewing Our Collective Soul: A Virtual Program For Our Times. 

Teachers and leaders from all over the globe will host sessions on meditation, embodied movement, spiritual direction, and so much more––gently guiding us to spaces where we can connect with our deepest selves. 

All programs are pay-what-you-wish. All 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. 

Session Overview

Upcoming Programs
  • Embodying Your Jewish Practice (Rabbi Diane Elliot)
  • Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service (Rabbi Anne Brener)
  • Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times (Rabbi Debra Smith)
  • Tales and Teachings of Reb Zalman (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Virtual Concert Series - Erev Shel Kochavim: An Evening of Stars | ALEPH Virtual Cabaret
  • Virtual Concert Series - Sing a New Song Psalms Showcase Featuring Cantor Linda Hirschhorn, Rabbi David Shneyer, and friends
  • Virtual Concert Series - Rosh Chodesh Elul | Evening of Kirtan Chant Featuring the Kirtan Rabbi and friends

Past Programs
  • 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)
  • Virtual Concert Series - An Evening of Social Justice and Praise Featuring Nefesh Mountain and Hazzan Jessi Roemer 
  • 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)

Session Descriptions

Tales and Teachings of Reb Zalman


Cost: Pay-what-you-can

Come join us for an evening to commemorate the legacy of our beloved teacher, rabbi, scholar, mentor, visionary Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z"l. Listen to the stories of those who were impacted by his teachings and found direction and “deployment" in their life. Come schmooze, remember, and honor his legacy for the anniversary of his English passing (the following day, July 3.)


Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times - NEW SERIES!
Dates: June 21, June 28, and July 12
Time: 1 - 2:15 pm EST (10 - 11:15 am PST)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (Proceeds go directly to supporting ALEPH)


This series builds off of the first set of programs, offered in June and July. But the first series is NOT required in order to sign up for this one! All courses can be taken as standalone programs. This new series will focus on three brand new spiritual practices for these challenging times.

Session 1 - Humility: How do we figure how much space to take up in the world? This discussion and text study will examine how to establish a spiritual practice of taking up the proper amount of space in our relationships with others and with the environment and Mother Earth. 

Session 2 - Generosity: Generosity is expressed in many ways, including those that do not involve money. In these dark and challenging times, how do we come up with new models of generosity by which to live our daily lives? 

Session 3 - Responsibility: How can we balance care for and responsibility to ourselves and to others? How do develop a model of responsible leadership in our families, communities and on the job? How do we balance our own needs with those of others? 


Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service 
Date and Time: Every Wednesday, 11:30 am EST (8:30 am PST) 
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (100% of donations go directly to supporting ALEPH) 
Presenter: Rabbi Anne Brener and Cantorial Student Elizabeth Baseman

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. 


Embodying Your Jewish Practice

Dates: August 2, 9, 16, and 23 
Time: 4 - 6 pm EDT (1 - 3 pm PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (100% of donations go directly to supporting ALEPH) 

Description: If you've been longing to enter into Jewish practice and learning in a more fully embodied way, this class is for you. We'll begin each session opening the body as a vessel for prayer and learning. Each session will include an embodied exploration of one or two prayers from the traditional Jewish morning liturgy. We'll then creatively engage with a piece of the week's Torah or haftara reading. Our tools for the journey: breath, movement, body awareness, drawing, written and spoken words. Our hoped-for destination: the beginning or deepening of a meaningful, doable spiritual practice, sourced in both the riches of Jewish tradition and the richness of our inner lives. The only prerequisites are a curious mind, an open heart, and a willingness to move (in your own time and way). This program is designed for those who can attend all four sessions.


Coming Home: The Season of Teshuvah | Preparing for the New Year

Dates: Sunday, August 23
Time: 1 - 2:15 pm EDT (10 - 11:15 am PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
Presenter: Rabbi Deb Smith

Description: The primary theme for the Jewish High Holy Days is renewal, repentance and return. It is the season of “coming home.” It is a time of our lives for deep introspection, and making amends for “missing the mark” in our relationships with others and with G-d over the past year. Our introspective work can lead to bridge-mending with others, and also can be deep spiritual work with G-d and with self. 

We will explore re-committing to our relationship with G-d, to our spiritual practice, to loving and caring for ourselves. Join us as we gather to study, discuss and pray on the theme of on return, recommitment, and renewal. It is a time to re-calibrate and re-prioritize our lives. Suggested practices for Teshuvah will be provided. This workshop is appropriate for those of all faith traditions.


Virtual Concert Series

We are thrilled to announce our brand new concert series for Renewing Our Collective Soul! Each musical program is designed to center and connect us with one another. Each program is pay-what-you-can. Read about each of the programs in detail on our concert series page.

Sunday, July 19th | 7 pm EDT

Sunday, August 16th | 7:30 pm EDT

Thursday, August 20th | 7:30 pm EDT


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!


When is this event taking place?
This program will be taking place from now through early summer. Like you, we are physically distancing and staying at home, and having minimal contact with others. Although we don't know how long these guidelines will be in effect, we want to provide offerings throughout the duration of that time.

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.