Kli Kodesh

Kli Kodesh as Eved Hashem

Study and experience that includes: Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction; one unit of CPE or approved equivalent; lifecycle ceremony facilitation; educational pedagogy; curriculum development; DLTI & Davvenology, including mastery of basic musical nusach ha-t’fillah, Torah and haftarah leynen, and megillot; congregational dynamics and working with boards; community organizing; interfaith relations and more.

American Jewish Organizational Infrastructure

The Contemporary Jewish World is full of vital centers, offering energy and wisdom, strength and security to our people.  There are also vestigial entities, surviving to give a role and importance to self appointed Board members.  There are "corridors of power" and channels of funding and influence.  This course will support future leaders of the Jewish People to develop an understanding of the complex political structures of the Jewish People, and the most effective ways to negotiate these structures.  Careful analysis of contemporary history of Jewish institutions, examinations of current platforms and agendas, and exploration of the past, current and future role of ALEPH will be included. Most of all, there will be scope to see where the simple insights and power of the Divine break through even the most obfuscating structure:  The evolving role of the Prophetic imperative in contemporary times.

Congregational Dynamics and Growing Sacred Communities

This class will explore historic and current approaches to effective leadership and core elements in building sacred and healthy Jewish community, from a Jewish and spiritual values-centered approach. Topics will include in-reach and outreach, leadership and governance from systems perspective, human and financial resources. We will combine text and best practice study, small and large sharing of challenges and successes, creative and interactive exercises, as we deepen our understanding of the sacred bonds of congregational life, the challenges to it in our day and how we as spiritual leaders can become more effective agents for healthy change growth in the major areas of communal life.

Death and Dying

This course explores the many facets of death and dying from a Jewish and pastoral perspective.  We will look at the rituals that take place before and directly after death, including vidui, living wills, ethical wills, DNR’s, and briefly look at funerals, shiva and unveilings. The course explores the diverse beliefs Jews hold, or have held, concerning the the soul and its experience of the afterlife along with contemporary issues such as organ donation,  extending life versus prolonging death, death-related ethical issues and current practices and trends in the care and treatment of the terminally ill. A primary goal of this course is understanding how to use the course material in support of the families and loved ones of the dying person.

Forms of Personal Prayer and Spiritual Guidance: Intensive II

Objectives for the talmidim are to enlarge the scope of how guidance is felt; to understand that experiences of angels, ancestors and spirit guides may be real for people; and to increase a sense of comfort with modes of intercessory prayer.

Required papers include a pre-intensive reflection on personal prayer experiences from childhood on, as well as experiences with Guidance, and a post-intensive reflection on experiences with Guidance during the classes, and new approaches to personal prayer.

Admission to the Hashpa'ah program is required for this course.

Issues in Hashpa’ah

Hashpa’ah is the art and practice of mentoring people as they seek to grow closer to the Divine in a Jewish context.  Spiritual Direction centers around relationship to God, regardless of religious setting. Topics will include Spiritual Development and Typologies, Kaballistic Perspectives, Stages of the Journey, Sacred Narratives, Moral Development, Spiritual Practices, and Issues in conducting a session. Assignments will consist of two short personal reflection papers, a class report on related reading, and monthly middot work with a spiritual hevruta. It is assumed that participants will engage in a daily meditation and prayer practice.

Admission to the Hashpa'ah program is required for this course.

Issues of Sage-ing in Hashpa'ah

This course focuses on relating in wise ways by exploring the quality of relationships and the vitality of the social web. Presentations are intertwined with journal writing exercises, text study, interactive and individual meditations, and group sharing. While learning transformative “Sage-ing Tools” based in Jewish practices, we will also draw on the wisdom of other traditions, psychotherapy and current integral teachers. We view this as a deeply ecumenical process and invite all participants to connect their aging to their spiritual life.  This course is not the required course for the Hashpa'ah program.

Issues of Sage-ing in Hashpa'ah (cohort)

We will be guided by our deep, interactive study of Reb Zalman's groundbreaking work: From Age-ing to Sage-ing and our own experiences and personal insights generated through the application of his exercises, to discover how we might direct our own mushpa'im/'ot on the Sage-ing path.

Admission to the Hashpa'ah program is required for this course.

Jewish Bioethics and the Role of Jewish Clergy

This class will prepare talmidim to undertake the main roles and responsibilities of a Jewish clergy person in a wide-range of settings where Jewish bioethical questions arise. The history and fundamental principles, decision-making and counseling processes involved will be taught, often through application to realistic case situations brought by students and instructors. Primary Jewish sources will be studied, as well as contemporary responses from across the full spectrum of Judaism. Learning modalities will include reading in assigned books, articles and teshuvot, podcasts, weekly hevruta, and role playing. Topics will include issues relating to the beginnings and endings of life, abortion and contraception, organ donation/transplantation, stem cell research, gender and sexuality, addiction and mental health issues, and more. 

Jewish Pastoral Counseling Parts 1 and 2

Two semesters; a primary aspect of clergy effectiveness is how one enters into and maintains healthy and holy professional relationships with those who come to us as students, congregants, clients, board members and employees. This introductory course provides a Jewish G-d–connected lens and approach to learning and applying such fundamentals as professional conscious use of self, boundaries, pastoral counseling models and methods, common situations facing individuals who approach clergy for counseling (depression, conflict resolution, addictions, eating disorders, disfigurement, rape, unemployment, divorce and remarriage, difficulties with teens, suicide and crisis intervention, etc.), role limitations, and referrals.

Life Cycle Ritual Practicum Parts 1 & 2

Pre-requisite: Liturgy of the Lifecycle. In this ten full-day (two full weeks) summer residential training course wedding/commitment ceremonies, funerals, and baby-naming ceremonies, are created and enacted. Other life-cycle events are touched upon integrating traditional forms and liturgies with new approaches.  Participants share experiences and resources, give and receive feedback, and are lovingly yet challengingly coached. This intensive master class uses hands-on practice of skills for using Jewish ritual tools. Practical skills, traditional structures, contemporary adaptations and mystical underpinnings of Jewish ritual tools and skills are explored in a laboratory setting.

(Liturgy of the Life Cycle and Life Cycle Ritual Praticum Parts 1 & 2 are listed in Kli Kodesh and Liturgy. These courses must be taken in sequence.)

Music of the Jewish Liturgical Year

Basic nusach and melodies for non-cantorial students. Jewish liturgical music is based on sets of musical modes with melodic motifs for different types of prayer. It is calendar-linked to event and time of day. Folk melodies, niggunim, compostions for cantor and choir, and contemporary liturgical songs have supplemented or supplanted traditional nusach as synagogue life has changed. This course covers the basics of nusach, melodies and niggunim, with the goal of competence in leading services that are traditionally grounded and melodically accessible. It is intended for both music readers and non-readers. Participants should be able to download mp3 files and have a working knowledge of the siddur and machzor. (Cross listed in Kli Kodesh and Liturgy/Hazzanut).

Personal Theology and Interfaith Issues in Hashpa’ah

This intensive aims to help talmidim explore areas of knowing and doubt about how the Divine works in their lives and to articulate their current personal theologies, to be aware of issues others have, and be able to support them as a mashpia/ spiritual director. A secondary goal is for talmidim to be become sensitive to issues that seekers may have who come from other spiritual traditions, and to expand their skill sets with tools from other forms of spiritual guidance.

Rituals for Guidance; Group Spiritual Direction

This intensive focuses on the various types of rituals that may be brought into Hashpa’ah sessions, as well as those that might be assigned. Talmidim will have experience co-creating a closing ritual. Techniques of Group Spiritual Direction will be introduced, including Peer Group and Facilitated Group. The afternoon sessions will be devoted totalmidim leading their own groups under supervision as well as working one-on-one with a mushpa.

Sacred Text and Hashpa’ah

We will be studying parashiot selected for the general themes of spiritual development they represent. Our focus will be: to read and understand the narrative in both Hebrew and English; to meditate upon the readings to discern what personal spiritual message(s) and sense of God’s presence in our lives the text raises; to learn how to incorporate personal spiritual experience into a dvar Torah, and involve participants in discussion. talmidim should study an aliyah of each parshah daily for each of the 13 weeks of the class, so that the entire Torah reading becomes a personal guide to the talmidim' inner lives and spiritual concerns.  The guiding question is, "How is God speaking to you through Torah (or how do you discern God’s presence in your life through the parshah), what is the message, and how can you incorporate this into your personal and professional life? After the sharing of the dvar Torah and reflections of the presenter, they will facilitate the rest of the group in a hashpa'ah format (to be discussed the first week) to share what arises for them in response.

Stories for Healing and Teaching

This class will explore when and how to use stories in teaching, in homiletics and in counseling/chaplaincy settings: When is it appropriate to use a personal story?  How to use a hasidic story, and draw out its message? When is it appropriate to change a story?  Can you invent a story? We will also look at the margins of our groups, and discuss the use of stories in working with people who are gay or lesbian, those who have mental illness, those who have experienced racism, bigotry and abuse, and those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious. Each student is required to present six stories including a personal story and ones that address the subjects above. The use of song and poetry to augment the message of a story is also explored.

Styles of Hashpa’ah: Intensive I

An introduction to various styles of Hashpa’ah by observing and learning from the core faculty. In addition, spiritual practices through a Hashpa’ah lens will be experienced, including morning, afternoon and evening prayer services.  Talmidim will have their first experience of serving as a mashpia/spiritual director, under supervision.  A reflection paper on personal experiences as a mushpa/at/ directee is required before the intensive, and a reflection paper on the various sessions is due after the intensive.