Kallah 2020 Four-Day Class Descriptions



Grief, Teshuva, and Resiliency in the Age of Climate Change

Rachel Binstock

As fires rage, top soil erodes, waters are filled with toxins, and displacement of people abounds, we find ourselves living through a great societal transition Our climate is spiraling out of balance and it's impact is effecting us whether we want to pay attention or not. More and more of us find ourselves wondering how we might lay our old paradigms to rest and walk with integrity into the future. In this session we will use the tools of Joanna Macy's Work That Reconnects and tools from Jewish ritual to explore our grief for our changing world. We will make space for the pain we so often suppress in order to make it through the day and we will unpack teshuva as a tool for reparation and second chances. We will ask what lessons in resilience our ancestors have buried within us, like seeds in soil. As always, nature has guidance, and so does Jewish tradition. In this interactive workshop, we'll honor the grief and explore how nature's resilience, as well as our ancestral journeys, can offer potent wisdom for our work as healers, neighbors, and witnesses. Bring your dreams, your fears, and your own life lessons - let's figure it out together. We were made for these times and must cultivate our sensitive and brave hearts.


Jewish Wilderness Spirituality: Mindfulness in Nature

Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav

Using techniques of Jewish Wilderness Spirituality and Mindfulness, we will build spiritual community as we walk, sit, journal, study and explore being outdoors and finding the Spirit Within. 

Most days we will board a bus for a short trip into local nature, including at least one day with a bit more of a hike. However, though this is not a "hiking" group, please bring proper footwear, water, sun cover, etc. 

If you have concerns about physical ability, please contact Rabbi Steve directly.


Embodied Jewish Wisdom: Embodying Middot

Julie Emden

What are a few essential qualities needed to channel and embody our best versions of ourselves so that we may create positive change for our world? Explore and embody wisdom teachings for the qualities of Anava (Humility), Bitachon (Trust), Rachamim (Compassion), and Menuchat HaNefesh (Equanimity) as a resource for grounding, calm, and wholeness in your life in this 4-day experience of embodied Middot (character traits). Each day we will move our bodies for most of the session via a variety of somatic practices including Iyengar-based Yoga, Embodied Mindfulness, and Conscious Dance (with and without music) with carefully constructed movement sequences, curated soundscapes, and time for free expression via movement, art and writing as we deepen our understanding and cultivate our unique full expression of these qualities. No previous experience with yoga, dance or movement is necessary. Please wear layered clothing in which you can easily move, and bring a yoga mat if you have one.


100 Blessings Now

Rabbi Shir Yaakov Feit

Rabbi Meir would say, “A person is obligated to recite one hundred blessings every day.” The tradition subsequently worked out a method to meet this goal of sustained God-consciousness through fixed prayer. But Rabbi Meir was punning on a verse: “what is God asking of us now?” With the average American checking their smartphone 40-60 times per day, we might want to renew these practices that cultivate Awareness. What is a blessing in our postdigital age? Using Torah, Talmud, Halacha, and Kabbalah as jumping-off points, we will explore what it means to live in and weave a matrix of blessing in our increasingly digital lives. We will work in chevruta, in expressive arts, and embodied contemplation. If you have a siddur practice (or want one) please bring your book along with you.


Opening to Grace

Rabbi Shefa Gold

In his book, Amazing Chesed, Rabbi Rami Shapiro defines Grace as, “God’s unlimited, unconditional, unconditioned, and all-inclusive love for all Creation.” The concept of Grace is central to a Jewish Spiritual path. To be a Kabbalist is to become receptive to the flow of Grace. As we open to the possibility of receiving this ever present flow, our practice keeps us anchored to the present moment. In this class we will engage with practices that might inspire us to live by grace. We will study texts that illuminate the way of grace as well as the obstacles that keep us from receiving this Divine flow and transmitting it through our awakened presence into this thirsty world.


Holy Ground(ing): Kohenet Practices for Rooted Presence

Rabbi Jill Hammer and Rav Kohenet Taya Mâ Shere

Weaving the ancient wisdom of Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation, with immediate resources like the earth and our own bodies, we will explore the practice of deep presence in ritual space and beyond. We’ll consider passages in Sefer Yetzirah that invite us to ground ourselves in space, time, body, and Divine Presence, and show us how to use the elements as a resource for daily connection to the cosmos. We’ll also try those practices in real time. We’ll explore tools for embodied presence, including transition, pacing, and more. Chant and rhythm will accompany us throughout our time together. Participants will gather skills to apply in their own contexts. This class is open to all, and roots in teachings from the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute.


B'Chol Nafshecha-B'Chol M'odecha | With All Your Breath-With All You Have In You: A Master Class in Jewish Spiritual Singing

Hazzan Jack Kessler

Come join a voyage into Jewish spiritual song, the blend of voice and melody that combine in the art of Jewish prayer. Your voice and musical creativity will open up your inner sources of power and validation. We use traditional nusach, the musical language of prayer, along with Chassidic niggunim, to explore how the human voice becomes a channel for the Divine. This Master Class style course blends fun group vocal exercises and singing with individualized vocal coaching. Everyone from advanced singers to beginners who hope to lead song and prayer with greater vocal clarity can benefit and grow. This class is recommended for anyone looking for a deep dive into the creative realm of voice, song and prayer. Basic prayer Hebrew is helpful, most transliteration provided. Sponsored by the AOP Cantorial Program


Desire, Vulnerability, Connection, and Insight: A Radical, Spiritual Psychology

Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit

In this class we will explore how to be reach our highest potential as human beings. That means dealing with our very human issues such as desire and vulnerability as well as our deep yearnings for connection and insight. In our explorations we will focus on the writings of two Hasidic masters who, in very different ways, were amazingly insightful into these issues and yearnings: Mordecai Yosef Leiner (The Ishbitzer Rebbe) and Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro (The Piazetzner Rebbe). Their approaches to understanding our human struggles and potentials both start from the assumption that to be fully human is to be in contact with holiness. Through discussion, hevruta learning, meditation, and art we will explore how their ideas can help us to reach our own most fully human, holy and connected selves. 

Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program. Open to everyone, this class meets for 3 hours and involves advanced preparation. AOP students and applicants may take this class for AOP credit - there will be extra post-Kallah sessions and assignments, as well as an additional fee of $450. To register for the post-Kallah for-credit sessions, or if you're interested even though you're not an AOP student or applicant, please reach out to Ming at ming@aleph.org.


Intentional Fabric Arts Creating Sacred Space

Rev. Sandy Pond, LMT and Marilyn Bronstein

Bringing Torah to life through Intentional Fabric Arts not only creates Sacred Space but softens the heart and opens the eyes of our understanding. This workshop will be guided and inspired through Biblical Texts. We will explore what Jahovah Nissi (Yah is our Banner) means to us, what colors mean profetectly, how diverse fabrics and shapes express different meanings, and how that relates to the Mishkan and our Holy Artist Betzalel. We will learn Banner making techniques from initial design to letter application using different mediums. TIme will be given to go into deep listening, opening to creativity supported by Marilyn Bronstein's sacred chant. We will embody our banners: lifting them high through movement and physical expression. Utilizing the cycles of the year, we will explore how fabric art can help you and your congregations create Sacred Space with deep intentional learning. All are welcome. If you have fabrics or embellishments feel free to bring them. There may be a fee for supplies. Everyone will make a banner of their own.


Core Strengthening for Your Sephirot: Cultivating Stability and Joy in an Era of Climate Chaos

Rachael Resch

Is it possible to sustain Joy during this time of climate and cultural upheaval? Using simple movement, music and poetry, we will blend somatic and spiritual inquiry in this fun, interactive class. The goal: Embodying Joy irrespective of circumstance. 

This class includes Nia movement, Feldenkrais, sacred anatomy, and physical and spiritual core strengthening in order to enliven each of the divine energies of the sephirot in our Kabbalah Tree of Life bodies. You’ll come away with simple embodiment practices you can continue at home. 

The class is based on Rachael’s forthcoming book on embodying the sephirot throughout the week. All ages and physical abilities are welcome. No previous movement background is needed. Healthcare CEUs are available.


Jewish Contemplative Practices to Heal the Flaws of Human Nature

Rabbi Jeff Roth

Jewish meditation and contemplative practices can help us uncover and begin to transform the reactive patterns of human nature. Heartfulness/mindfulness is the practice of bringing loving attention to the present moment of experience. This allows for the development wisdom and compassion and results in more frequent acts of kindness. 

This class will combine didactic presentations and meditation instructions with period of silent practice and meditative chanting. Students will be offered the opportunity for individual meetings with the teacher outside of class to personalize the approaches best suited to each one's needs.


Weaving Together Our Own Lives & Torah

Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Berman

This class is co-led by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow & Rabbi & Spiritual Director Phyllis Ocean Berman. All four sessions will interweave Torah passages with the life-experience of participants in innovative & creative forms. Two sessions will be actual experiences of Torah study using a particular passage focused on a specific theme in life-experience; two will be model aliyot focused on a kavanah addressing a question in the Torah passage that speaks to the lives of those rising for the aliyah in response to a theme to which they are invited. We two teachers have many years of rich experience in leading / weaving one or the other of these practices. 

We intend these to be real experiences in the spiritual/emotional lives and understandings of Torah of those in the course, as well as teaching models that some participants might choose to use in their own congregations or chevruta sessions.


Living Soulfully Everyday Through Hashpa'ah/Spiritual Guidance

Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit

Goal of this class include the ability to open, discern and cultivate an ongoing connection to the Divine Source in Life, and learn to and develop and nurture approaches to maintain and increasing that connection. Each session will begin with music or meditation, and have its own focus embedded in the arc of the week. Topics include: listening for the movement of Spirit, Hashgachah pratit (Divine guidance), Accessing Spirit through the Four Worlds, Integrative Kabbalah and the Four Worlds, longing, hitbodedut and other spiritual modalities, Spiritual Practices, the Interior Soul/Tikkun HaNefesh (middot, blessings, prayer), and Spiritual Activism: the Soul in the World. Required books, readings, and other sessions will be shared upon registration. 

Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program. Open to everyone, this class meets for 3 hours and involves advanced preparation. AOP students and applicants may take this class for AOP credit - there will be extra post-Kallah sessions and assignments, as well as an additional fee of $450. To register for the post-Kallah for-credit sessions, or if you're interested even though you're not an AOP student or applicant, please email reach out to Ming at ming@aleph.org.



Sippur Nafshi: The Story of My Soul

Judith Dack

This art making class will use some Hebrew chant, meditation and journaling to release the creative force within each of us as we unfold our own unique Soul Story Books, an altered book that tells our inner story. Join us in creating an enlivened and intimate community of artists. Recycled books, artist materials and various embellishments will be provided for an additional $20.00 materials fee. 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.



Rabbi Julie Dean



The Heart of Mussar

Julie Dean

Are you interested in a practical, spiritual Jewish pathway of personal transformation that provides you with tools to uplift your everyday living? Welcome to the amazing world of Mussar. For centuries, Jews have wrestled with questions about how to define, develop and emulate Divine attributes described throughout our treasured texts. For Jewish mystics, poets, theologians and scholars, refining these attributes has inspired ethics about how we treat one another and respond to the complexities of everyday life. 

This class will weave together middot wisdom from past and present teachers in an experiential learning laboratory that utilizes text, contemplative practices, personal reflection and chevruta as inspiration and guidance for this practice. In a supportive, reflective setting we will relate core concepts in Mussar to our real-world lives, thereby increasing our connections with self, others and YHVH. Our week will build intentionally toward Shabbat, leaving each of us with practical tools and deepened spiritual connections for living a more meaningful life.


Tikkun Adam/ah: Origin Stories for a Time of Healing

Rabbi Nate DeGroot

In this period of great social and climate upheaval, what wisdom can be gleaned for future healing (tikkun) of humanity (adam) and the earth (adamah) by looking back at the stories that have shaped us? This class will dive deeply into Judaism's creation stories, using text, discussion, and a variety of spiritual modalities, such as art, song, creative writing, and mindfulness. We'll explore the themes, questions, and directives embedded within our ancient narratives of peoplehood and purpose to consider what stories we need now to support this moment of great turning. This class is open to all and no previous text skills or Hebrew knowledge is required.


“Through a Clear Glass:” Growing Your Embodied Jewish Practice

Rabbi Diane Elliot

It is said that, of all the prophets, Moses was the only one who saw not through a veiled lens, but through an aspaklaria ha-me’ira, through a “clear glass.” In other words, he clearly perceived God’s presence in the world and encountered the Divine “face to face.” In growing an embodied Jewish practice, we aspire to refine our spiritual perception, to cultivate 20/20 “soul vision,” by bringing body, emotions, intellect, and creative life force together to experience and serve Divinity in the world in these challenging times. 

In this class we’ll begin each session with an in-depth, embodied exploration of one or more prayers from the traditional Jewish morning liturgy. We’ll then creatively engage with short sections of parashat Pinchas, the Torah portion from which we’ll be chanting on the Shabbat of Kallah. 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). People of different genders, ages, and movement abilities are all welcome.


ShemaSpa: Chant and Meditation Retreat

Rabbi Andrew Hahn, Ph.D. and Shoshana Jedwab

Do you need an escape from a crazy world? Do you want to have a chance at Kallah to find a safe space just to relax and go inside? Come join Kohenet Shoshana Jedwab and RebDrew (the Kirtan Rabbi) for a deep dive into a completely experiential class: a week of chanting, breathing, drumming, meditation, movement—just being. Hebrew Kirtan—call-and-response, participatory chant where short, sacred phrases from the Jewish tradition are treated as powerful, universal meditations—is not really about singing or making music: It’s foremost about stopping everything... and learning to listen. In this class our primary focus will be to study and learn techniques how to hear and blend, how to embody Shema in a Divine chorus. We are excited to try this experiment, and hope you will join us. We are also delighted to be assisted by vocal empowerment coach and breath-work expert, Renee Finkelstein. Class culminates in a community-wide kirtan concert on Thursday evening, with members of the class as a Kirtan Choir!


Hebrew Priestessing: Ancient Tools for Modern Times

Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife

Join Kohenet Keshira HaLev Fife and a diverse group of Kohanot (Hebrew Priestesses) for this deep dive exploration into the ways in which ancient tools and models are being reclaimed in service of vibrant communities, social justice work and devotional Jewish ritual practice. Topics may include Priestessing in the Four Worlds, Building Priestess-led Communities, Sacred Art as Prayer, Priestessing Activism, Remembering Our Priestess Lineages, and Counter-Oppressive Priestessing. Folks of all genders are welcome. No previous knowledge required; just a curious mind and an open heart!


What to Say When You Don't Know What to Say

Rabbinic Pastor David Daniel Klipper
We all experience difficult conversations with those we care for when they are suffering. We often feel that we don't know what to say or how to be present in a way that is supportive and nourishing.  The Jewish practice of bikkur cholim, or visiting the sick, contains much wisdom to help us with these difficult conversations. Rabbin Pastor David Daniel Klipper has been training chaplains for years and will bring his experience and knowledge to help you develop the skills to be with people when they are most vulnerable. We will explore and practice with texts, tools and techniques to enable you to not only know what to say, but to be a healing force in the other person's life. This course will be experiential, including role plays and 'real' plays, as well as didactic.


Wisdom of the Zohar

Daniel Matt

The Zohar is a foundational Jewish mystical text that has influenced and captivated our thoughts for centurirWe will explore some of the Zohar’s most powerful and radical passages, studying the English translation compiled by the instructor while also referring to the original Aramaic 

Among the themes and subjects we will examine are: Ein Sof (God as Infinity) and the ten Sefirot (facets of the Divine personality), Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God), the Divine eros, the Zohar’s method of Biblical interpretation (spanning literal, midrashic and mystical perspectives), and the Divine need for human action. 

The class will focus on a close reading of the Zohar passages. We will attend to both the Zohar’s poetic language and its bold mystical theology. Students of all levels of experience with text are welcome to join!


We Are the Stories We Tell

Rabbi Mark Novak and Renée Brachfeld

We are a storytelling people. Israeli evolutionary historian Yuval Harari teaches that what separates human beings from all other species is the ability to tell stories. Through stories we transmit heritage, share values, and introduce ourselves to each other and the world. 

This class - geared towards experienced tellers and novices alike - will provide a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to explore the creative process of learning and telling stories. Using well-known (and not so well known) Jewish folktales, you will come away with increased confidence and skills to lift a story off the written page and make it your own. We will then turn to finding, crafting and telling personal stories. Join us for a fun and empowering class that will take stories from words on a page to an ecstatic and living expression.


Soul-Guiding and the Kabbalistic Journey of the Soul: Birth, Death, Afterlife, & Reincarnation

Rabbinic Pastor Simcha Raphael and Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael

Kabbalah teaches us that the human soul is forever in cycles of transition from birth into life, from death to rebirth. Through study of Zohar and Midrash enhanced by meditative journey work we shall explore these texts as transformational maps of consciousness that provide insight and wisdom for living a spiritual life today. And in cultivating compassion for others, our study shall lead us to discover how we human beings can provide spiritual assistance to souls in dealing with end-of-life dying and experiences of grief and mourning.
Assisted by music from Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, this class will help us all see the cycles of living and dying with gentle eyes. 

Sponsored by the ALEPH Ordination Program. Open to everyone, this class meets for 3 hours and involves advanced preparation. AOP students and applicants may take this class for AOP credit - there will be extra post-Kallah sessions and assignments, as well as an additional fee of $450. To register for the post-Kallah for-credit sessions, or if you're interested even though you're not an AOP student or applicant, please reach out to Ming at ming@aleph.org.


Unmasking Our Inner Vision: A Journey of Self-Revelation Through the Expressive Arts

Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder and Rabbinic Pastor Sandra Wortzel

To know our authentic selves in the presence of the Divine is a life-long journey. As we enter this new decade how do we honor the person we are and invite the ever-evolving hidden essence of our deepest longings/selves to manifest fully in this world of uncertainty and beauty? 

The focus of this playshop will be an artful exploration of inner and outer vision. We will integrate Jewish mystical thought and psycho-spiritual in-sights as we discover the ways we reveal and conceal our truest essence in the presence of the Divine. With verve, joy, and purpose this play-filled class will incorporate mask-making, play-formance, and spontaneous creative exploration through the visual arts, dance/movement, chant and group synergy. Be prepared to open your hearts and expand your vision to new insights and revelations!


Journey of Awakening Through the Hebrew Letters

Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks

Spiritual awakening is the realization that you are far more than your thoughts and feelings. Beneath your personality, there’s a radiant field of awareness, free from negativity and connected to the aliveness of the present moment. 

The twenty-two Hebrew letters can be gateways to this awakening. Each letter offers a unique access point into this heightened state. In this class, Reb Brian Yosef will lead us through the first few Hebrew letters through text, chanting and guided meditation. Students of all levels and expereinces are welcome to join us and find new paths to awareness. 


Becoming the Instrument: Embodied Awareness and the Art of Prayer

Rebecca Schisler and Aviva Grossberg

The times we are living in are calling upon us to step ever more courageously into our authentic expression and to deliver our gifts from a place of awareness and truth. How can we empty ourselves to become receptive to that which seeks to emerge through each of us uniquely? What does it feel like to then fill ourselves up with ancient wisdom from our rich tradition? How can we draw upon both tradition and direct, embodied awareness of the present moment to create space for the emergence of our own deeply personal and heartfelt prayers? 

In this class, we will call upon the central prayers of the Shema and Amidah to aid is in the cultivation of an embodied prayer practice that is both traditionally rooted and radically creative. We will utilize free form dance, text study, creative prompts and other awareness practices to explore how to become instruments for divine inspiration to move through us. This class aims to create a transformational space as we radiate our personal and collective kavana for our world.


Words: Creation, Blessing, Curse, and Redemption

Rabbi Jeremy Sher

The world is created and maintained in words. These are spiritual words in God's own language, which our souls can sing. Even today, with proper intention and focus, we may join the Creator in speaking a word of creation. Words of creation root the things in our world in wonder. Our souls may pronounce words of blessing, which can be easy or hard to hear, but all serve holy purposes. Words of blessing bring beauty and joy into the world. And while I don't recommend it, it is possible for a word of curse to cross our lips, may it not happen; such words oppose God's creative intention and introduce evil into the world. And we may incant words of redemption, words that transmute curses into blessings and bring us closer to the ultimate redemption for which we work and yearn. Come and study the heavenly language together, and let's help each other find the words of redemption that our world so desperately needs.