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)

Past Programs
  • Heartfulness for (This and) All Times: An Introduction to Jewish Contemplative Practice (Rabbi Jeff Roth)
  • 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

Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times
Dates: May 17, May 31, and June 7
Time: 1 - 2:15 pm EST (10 - 11:15 am PST)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (Proceeds go directly to supporting ALEPH)

Session 1 - Compassion: In these dark and challenging times how do we expand the boundaries of our hearts to include the suffering of others and of the planet without turning away and without being consumed by the suffering? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Compassion. Suggested Practices will be offered.

Session 2 - Patience: How do we learn the practice of patience and the ability to live in the present when we want to be in the future faster than our lives will take us there? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Patience. Suggested Practices will be offered. 

Session 3 - Trust: How can we combine trust in G-d and Something outside ourselves with a trust in ourselves and in others? This discussion and text study will focus on developing a spiritual practice of Trust. Suggested Practices will be offered.  


Zoom Gala Gala: The Art of the Omer Journey | Celebrate Lag B’Omer with a Bonfire of Joyous Expression
Date and Time: This event has already taken place. To receive a copy of the recording, please make a donation below
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (Proceeds will support COVID-19 relief and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Recommendation of $18 to $108 or more!)

Led by: Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and many more!

Description: "And You shall count for yourselves -- from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving -- seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days..." -Leviticus 23:15-16 

From Passover to Shavuot, Jews count the days with kavannah/intention. Today we are doing this with art, contemporary spiritual teachings, and with more women teachers than ever before in history! From mandalas and singing bowls, to yoga poses and tarot cards, books, and bible women… Come spend an evening with the creative voices of current leaders who can help us interpret the energies of the day according to the Kabbalistic system. 

Lag B’Omer, the thirty-third day of the Omer is a special day. It occurs on the 18th day of Iyyar -a day that the heavens open to create a bridge to earth for the unification of sacred masculine and feminine energies. Bonfires are lit to reach the skies. We will gather on Zoom to celebrate that day and learn from a number of gifted spiritual leaders, artists and musicians - who are forging new paths on the journey, and will help light our spirit fires! 

Convened by Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, the presenters include (and there will be more!)

Rabbi Yael Levy: Author of Journey Through the Wilderness: A Mindfulness Approach to the Ancient Jewish Practice of Counting the Omer 
Julie Levitt: Creator of Omer Kavvanot 
Sarah Waxman: CEO At The Well and Author of Daily Omer by Text 
Spiritual Companion Juliet Spitzer: Creator of Omer Mandalas 
Spiritual Guide Joy Krauthammer: Creator of Sephirat HaOmer Psalms of My Soul 
D’vorah Horn-Greenberg: Omer Artist 
Rabbi Diane Elliot: Teacher of Jewish Embodiment and poet
Gloria Krasno: Poet/Omer blogger
Rabbi Min Kantrowitz: Author of Counting the Omer: a Kabbalistic Meditation Guide 
Beth Styles: Musician/Artist
Cantor Abbe Lyons: Author of Spiritual Parenting Through the Omer
Sheila Firestone: Composer 
Cantorial Soloist Laura Lenes: Children's Omer song
Kohenet Batya Diamond: Singer/songwriter and Weaver of Omer ‘Shiviti’ Chants
Kohenet Rav Jill Hammer: Author of Omer Calendar of Biblical Women 
Spiritual Artist Brielle Paige Rassler: Psalmist
Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife: Chant composer/poet
Rabbi T'mimah Ickovits: Holistic Jew, Author of Seven Sacred Circles
And many more to come!

This program is women-led and all genders are welcome. It will last approximately two hours unless our fires are really lit! 


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 - 7 pm EST (1 - 4 pm PST)
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.


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.