Virtual Programs

About this 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.

Upcoming Programs

  • Elul Ascension | Yoga Shalom (Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine)
  • Ma’ariv Minyan (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Meet the Author Discussion Series | “Threading My Prayer Rug” with Sabeeha Rehman (Rabbi Debra Smith)
  • Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service (Rabbi Anne Brener)
  • Ta’amei HaMikra: The Music of the Hebrew Bible (Hazzan Diana Brewer)
  • Yad b’ Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series (Rabbi Debra Smith, Sister Eleanor Francis, and Dr. Shabiha Sheikh)
Past Programs
  • A Day of Illumination | Torah of Awakening Summertime Jewish Meditation Retreat (Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks)
  • Awakening Inner Freedom Through Integral Kabbalah Meditation (Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks)
  • Back to the Heart: A Kirtan Love Concert for Tu B’Av (Beit Ahavah of Northampton)
  • Coming Home: The Season of Teshuvah | Preparing for the New Year (Rabbi Debra Smith)
  • Crossing the Red Sea: Seventh Night/Shevi’i Pesach Celebration (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and Rabbinic Pastor Simcha Raphael, Ph.D.)
  • Dreams, Oracles, Predictions, and a Party! (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • The Ecological Roots of Passover: A Webinar Conversation with Rabbi Ellen Bernstein (Rabbi Ellen Bernstein)
  • Embodying the Divine Mystery: A Kabbalistic Movement Journey (Reb Simona Aronow)
  • 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)
  • Hosting an Earth Seder on Zoom Using The Promise of the Land: A Webinar Conversation with Rabbi Ellen Bernstein (Rabbi Ellen Bernstein)
  • Inviting in the Sweetness: A Rosh Hashanah Zoom Gala Gala (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Jewish Spa Time Sunday Series (Rabbi Aura Ahuvia)
  • Journey Through Elul: Anti-Inflammatory Reset (Kohenet Sephirah Oshkello and Kohenet Aliza Rivka)
  • 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 (Rabbi Shefa Gold and friends)
  • Love at the Center Fireside Chat (Rabbi Shefa Gold and SooJi Min-Maranda)
  • Love at the Center Mini Retreat (Rabbi Shefa Gold and Rachmiel O’Regan)
  • Movement is Life (Reb Simona Aronow)
  • Miriam’s Equinox Seder (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Omer, Oh, Omer, Let Me Count the Ways! (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • A Passover Earth Seder for Everyone (Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, Rabbi Cantor George Mordecai, and friends)
  • Premiere Reading of “My Ancestors Dreamed Me Here” | Benefiting Together on Turtle Island (Stephanie Liss, Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, and friends)
  • Raising Ruach: ALEPH Virtual Cabaret (Produced by Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine, hosted by Rabbi Lex Rofeberg and Dr. Brielle Paige Rassler)
  • Sources of Wisdom: A Five-Part Series in Earth-Based Jewish Practice (Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit and Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife)
  • 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)
  • Spiritual Practices for Challenging Times – Part Five (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
  • “We Refuse to Be Enemies” Discussion with the Authors (Rabbi Debra Smith, Sabeeha Rehman, and Walter Ruby)
  • The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment – Series One (Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder)
  • The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment – Series Two (Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder)
  •  The World is Changing and We Are Changing, Too: An Intergenerational Conversation for This Moment – Series Three (Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife and Rabbi Eva Sax-Bolder)
  • Yad b’ Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series – Compassion, Charity, and Prayer (Rabbi Deb Smith, Sister Eleanor Francis, and Dr. Shabiha Sheikh)
  • The Yemenite Experience with Singer Shlomit Levi (Shlomit Levi)
  • 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)

Session Descriptions

Virtual Program - Minyan

Ma'ariv Minyan - FULL DETAILS

Every evening at 9 pm Eastern (6 pm Pacific), Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael hosts a Ma’ariv Minyan, joined by various leaders. Originally created as a container to say Kaddish, the minyan now has a life of its own. More and more participants are joining to find a liberal minyan at that hour and experience the wide array of davvenen leaders and experiences. It has truly transformed into an incredible prayer container. From poetry readings, to meditations, chanting, guitars, muted and unmuted readings, drumming, song and more; Kohenot, cantors, rabbis, rabbinic pastors, and lay leaders all bring the offerings of their soul.

This minyan will take place every night except Friday for now. Beginning in June (and for the summer months), this program will meet Sundays through Thursdays. For Jews in mourning, it is traditional to say daily Kaddish in a minyan, which is a group of 10 or more persons. This virtual age is calling forth new paradigms to support the mourner when the old forms of in-face meetings just aren’t possible. All who mourn, who are honoring yahrzeits, or who wish to participate in the mitzvah of making a minyan, are invited to join this important program.

If you would like to register, please reach out to Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael at rrayzel@shechinah.com.

If you are looking to attend a minyan taking place that evening, please contact Rabbi Geela Rayzel by 6 pm EDT.

If you’d like to be on the last-minute text list (to be contacted to participate in the mitzvah of making a minyan, in the case not enough are gathered) please reach out to Rabbi Geela Rayzel at the email above.

If you’d like to lead one of the evenings (creative, traditional, and all types of services are welcome!) please reach out to Rabbi Geela Rayzel at the email above.

If you would like to express your gratitude for this type of program, please feel free to make a donation HERE.

If you would like to register, please reach out to Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael at rrayzel@shechinah.com.

Yad B'Yad

Yad b' Yad Abrahamic Faiths Dialogue Series - FULL DETAILS

Dates: Wednesdays: October 13, October 27, and November 10
Time: 7:30 – 9 pm EDT (4:30 – 6 pm PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
Led by: Rabbi Debra Smith, Sister Eleanor Francis, and Dr. Shabiha Sheikh

Description: Join ALEPH for the continuation of our 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: Humility in Our Traditions – We will focus on the topic of humility in our faith traditions, applying it to both our relationships with others and our relationship with the environment. How do we learn to take up the right amount of space, neither too much nor too little? Join us to explore this multifaceted topic.

Session Two: Forgiveness in Our Traditions – How do different faiths address forgiveness? How is forgiveness achieved in different faith traditions? Join us as we explore how our different faith traditions address the topic of forgiveness.

Session Three: The Problem of Evil in Our Traditions – Why would G-d permit evil to exist? This is a troubling question for many of us. What do our faith traditions teach about evil and how to address it? How do we reconcile faith in the presence of evil? Join us and learn more about the problem of evil from a multi-faith perspective.

Meet the Author Discussion Series Rehman

Meet the Author Discussion Series | “Threading My Prayer Rug” with Sabeeha Rehman - FULL DETAILS

Date: Wednesday, October 20
Times: 7:30 – 8:30 pm EDT (4:30 – 5:30 pm PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
Led by: Rabbi Debra Smith and featuring Sabeeha Rehman

Description: ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is pleased to announce our new Meet the Author Discussion Series, hosted by Rabbi Debra Smith. Join Rabbi Deb as she introduces Sabeeha Rehman, author of “Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim.”

Sabeeha Rehman will talk about her many journeys: from Pakistan to the United States in an arranged marriage that becomes a love match lasting forty years; from secular Muslim in an Islamic society to devout Muslim in a society ignorant of Islam, and from liberal to conservative to American Muslim. She will recount an immigrant’s daily struggles balancing assimilation with preserving heritage, overcoming religious barriers from within and distortions of Islam from without, and confronting issues of raising her children as Muslims—while they lobby for a Christmas tree! She will share anecdotes from her own life to reveal American culture from a Muslim and immigrant perspective.

Sabeeha Rehman, a popular author, blogger and speaker on the American Muslim experience, is best known for Threading My Prayer Rug. One Woman’s Journey From Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim, her irresistibly charming 2016 account of growing up in Pakistan. Short-listed for the 2018 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, it also won Booklist and San Francisco Book Festival honors, and was listed among top memoirs by Readers Digest. Excerpts her memoir were featured in the Wall Street Journal, and Salon.com. Since the publication of her memoir, she has given over 250 talks in nearly 100 cities at houses of worship, academic institutions, libraries, and community organizations, including Chautauqua Institution. Sabeeha has given talks on the art of memoir writing at academic institutions including Hunter College, New York. She is an op-ed contributor to the Houses of Worship column of the Wall Street Journal. Her writings have been published in New York Daily News, Forward, Salon.com, Tiferet, and Patheos.com. She has co-authored with Walter Ruby her next book We Refuse to be Enemies. How Muslims and Jews Can Make Peace, One Friendship at a Time. It will be published in April 2021. Rehman can be reached at www.sabeeharehman.com

Learn more about our upcoming January guest, Scott A. Shay, author of soon-to-be released “Conspiracy U.” “Conspiracy U.” exposes how conspiracy theories drawn from far-right and far-left ideologies masquerade as scholarship at many universities, endangering our norms and conceptions of morality and truth.

To learn more about our Meet the Author Discussion Series or to suggest future authors for consideration, please contact Rabbi Deb at: hineni77@gmail.com.

HaMikra Music of the Hebrew Bible

Ta’amei HaMikra: The Music of the Hebrew Bible - FULL DETAILS

Dates: Wednesdays, see below schedule for full dates
Times: 1 – 3 pm EDT (10 am – 12 pm PDT)
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 once*. We will continue over the course of the academic year with four-week units on the music of Torah, Haftarah, Esther, Festival Megillot, 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. Once you register for Unit 1, you will receive access to register for units 2 through 7.

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 dbrewer@aleph-ordination.org if you are unsure if you meet the prerequisite.

SCHEDULE:

Unit 1: Core Structure
(THIS UNIT IS A PREREQUISITE TO ALL OTHER UNITS.)
September 29, October 6, and October 1

Unit 2: Torah
October 27, November 3, November 10, and November 17

Unit 3: Haftarah
December 1, December 8, December 15, and December 22

Unit 4: Esther
January 19, January 26, February 2, and February 9

Unit 5: Festival Megillot
March 2, March 9, March 16, and March 23

Unit 6: Eicha
March 30, April 6, April 13, and April 27

Unit 7: High Holy Days
May 11, May 18, May 25, and June 1

Silence Is Praise

Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service - FULL DETAILS

Date and Time: Every Wednesday, 11:30 am EDT (8:30 am PDT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can
Presenter: Rabbi Anne Brener

Description: Overwhelmed with stress from social distancing, quarantine, and COVID-19? Join Rabbi Anne Brener 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!

FAQ

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.
ALEPH Virtual Programs