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

  • Exploring the Parables of Jesus: An Interfaith Perspective (Rabbi Debra Smith and Sister Eleanor Francis)
  • Holy Moments: How to Chant Essential Prayers for Sacred Transitions
  • Meet the Author: Conspiracy U by Scott Shay (Rabbi Debra Smith)
  • Nechamah Minyan (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service (Rabbi Anne Brener)
  • Ta’amei HaMikra: The Music of the Hebrew Bible (Hazzan Diana Brewer)

Session Descriptions

Yad B'Yad

Legacies of Jewish Renewal- FULL DETAILS

Date: Saturday, February 26

Time: 8 pm EST (5 pm PST)

Cost: Pay-what-you-can

Led by: Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends

 

As more of our friends, colleagues, teachers in Jewish Renewal transition to the higher realms of the world beyond, join Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends for a memorial tribute program to keep their memories and teachings alive and honor their contributions.

 

Featuring stories and memories of the following who have passed:

Rabbi Devorah Bartnoff z”l

Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum z”l

Rabbi David A. Cooper z”l

Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield z”l

Lisa Kapin z”l

Hazzan Richard Kaplan z”l

Rabbi Shoni Labowitz z”l

Cantor Chaim Rothstein z”l

Rabbi Hanan Sills z”l

Rabbi Mem Movshin z”l

Rabbi Pauline Tamari z”l

Rabbi Sarah Tauber z”l

Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank z”l

Hazzan Susan Wehle z”l

Rabbi David Zeller z”l

…and more

 

To share a teaching, musical piece, or impactful story, please reach out to Rabbi Geela Rayzel directly at rrayzel@shechinah.com.

 

Yad B'Yad

Holy Moments- FULL DETAILS

Dates: Mondays, see below schedule for full dates

Times: 7:30-8:30pm ET (5:30 – 7:30pm PT)

Cost: Required unit: $100
All subsequent units: $130 per unit

Instructor: Hazzan Abbe Lyons

How do we mark our sacred moments? Whether it’s under the huppah, at the bedside, at the graveside, or at the Shabbat table, we’ve got a prayer for that! Dive in and learn or improve your skills for chanting and declaiming essential Hebrew prayers that mark these transitional moments, whether as an officiant or in a supportive leadership role. The words, the melody and rhythm, and the kavanah all contribute to bringing us into these holy moments.

Each session will be one hour long. You do not need to be able to sing well or to read music. Being able to decode and pronounce some Hebrew is preferred. 
 
Please contact Hazzan Abbe at alyons@aleph-ordination.org if you have any questions, especially about your Hebrew level.
 
Required unit
Approaches to Learning and Leadng including Misheberach for Healing
Jan 17 & 24
Additional Units
The Life Cycle: El Malei Rachamim
Jan 31, Feb 7 & 21

The Life Cycle: Sheva Brachot
Feb 28, Mar 7 & 14

The Weekly Cycle
Mar 21 & 28, Apr 4

 

Yad B'Yad

Exploring the Parables of Jesus: An Interfaith Perspective- FULL DETAILS

Date: February 16, 2022
Time: 7:30pm Eastern (4:30pm Pacific)
Cost: $18
Led by:Rabbi Debra Smith and Sister Eleanor Francis

Description:

Together we will explore the Parables of Jesus and their roots in Judaism. In session we will discuss the Parable of The Good Samaritan from both a Jewish and a Christian perspective, focusing on its historical, political, religious and literary contexts.

* NOTE: Parables are a form of oral literature. Jesus told parables to illustrate spiritual truths and everyday teachings.

Virtual Program - Minyan

Nechamah Minyan - FULL DETAILS

The Nechamah Minyan meets nightly at 9 pm Eastern (6 pm Pacific), every day except Friday, providing nechamah (comfort) beyond time and space. Serving to connect people across denominational lines; people who need a place to pray; to heal; to grieve; to experiment with different forms and modalities of prayer; the Nechamah Minyan is a container for the end of the day and to say kaddish. It has helped attendees relax into the night, soothe sleepless souls, and connect with one another. It is different every night—depending on who is leading—so come a few times to get an array of musical, liturgical, meditative, and poetic styles. 

 

The Nechamah Minyan was started in January 2021 by Reb Geela Rayzel Raphael as a place to say kaddish (Jewish prayer for the dead) for her mom, Natalie Robinson, (Nechama Leah bat Elke v’Chayim). 

For Jews in mourning, it is traditional to say daily Kaddish in a minyan, which is a group of 10 or more persons. 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.

Meet the Author Discussion Series Rehman

Meet the Author: Conspiracy U by Scott Shay- FULL DETAILS

Date: January 26, 2022
Time: 7:30PM ET (5:30PM CT)
Cost: Pay what you can (suggested donation of $18)
Led by:Rabbi Debra Smith

Description: 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.

In Conspiracy U, Shay presents a case study of his alma mater, Northwestern University, in order to challenge the proliferation of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories championed on college campuses by both the far right and far left.
Shay tackles the thorny question of how otherwise brilliant minds willingly come to embrace and espouse such patent falsehoods. He explains why Zionism, the movement for Jewish national self-determination, has become the focal point for both far-right and far-left conspiracy theories. His keen analysis reveals why Jews serve as the canary in the coal mine.
Conspiracy U delivers an urgent wake-up call for everyone who cares about the future of civil society and is concerned that universities today are failing at teaching students how to strive for truth but rather guiding students to blindly trust theories driven by ideology. The book provides a roadmap for reform based on universal moral and intellectual standards and offers a way out of the culture wars that are ripping America apart.
Scott A. Shay is the author of In Good Faith: Questioning Religion and Atheism (a Mosaic Authors’ Best Book of 2018 and a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award) and Getting our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry. He is a co-founder and chairman of Signature Bank. His essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News, Bloomberg, The Hill, Jewish Week, American Banker, Forward, and many other publications. Shay has been thinking about universities ever since he became the first person on either side of his family to attend one
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