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

  • Book Launch Panel of The Pearl and the Flame: A Journey into Jewish Wisdom and Ecological Thinking (Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD)
  • An Evening of Soulful Spirit: ALEPH Virtual Cabaret (Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine and friends)
  • Honoring our Loves, Honoring our Lives (Barb Segura)
  • Honoring the Life and Legacy of Reb Zalman (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Nechamah Minyan (Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends)
  • Reading the Rabbis (Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD)
  • Silence is Praise: Metivta-Style Morning Meditation Service (Rabbi Anne Brener)
  • Torah at the Intersection: Numbers/BaMidbar (Roberta Wall)
  • Walking in the Light of God’s Shadow (Jinks Hoffmann)
  • What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye (Dominique Tomasov Blinder)

Session Descriptions

Yad B'Yad

Honoring the Life and Legacy of Reb Zalman - FULL DETAILS

Date: Sunday, July 3 
Time: 8 pm ET (5 pm PT)
Cost: Pay-what-you-can (suggested donation of $36) 
Led by: Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael and friends

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l is the grandfather, visionary, and inspiration of the Jewish Renewal movement. For the past couple of years, we have gathered to honor his legacy and life by connecting with his stories, songs and teachings. 

This year, we gather on his yahrzeit (day of his passing) to remember. Led by Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, join as Reb Zalman’s friends, family, and students share their memories in tribute to this incredible soul.

Yad B'Yad

Reading the Rabbis - FULL DETAILS

Dates: June 16, 23 and July 14, 21, 28
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm ET (4:00-5:30 pm PT)
Cost: $144
Led by: Rabbi Dr. Natan Margalit

In this class we’ll dive into one of the most beloved of rabbinic writings, Pirkei Avot, which focuses on the development of ethical qualities. The goal of these classes is to help students improve their reading skills in Rabbinic Hebrew. Everyone will have a chance to read out loud (if they want), to prepare on their own and get feedback and to learn together with the class about the language and thought of the ancient and medieval rabbis. Since reading these texts is not only about technical skills but also about interpretation, we’ll also discuss the content and ideas as they come up. We’ll focus on the classical medieval commentators, but also take a look at the famous commentary of the Maharal of Prague whose approach to Pirkei Avot is unique and fascinating.  This class is best for students with some Hebrew reading background who wish to improve their reading ability. We’ll explore areas such as learning some Aramaic terms which come into Hebrew in the rabbinic writings and learning to read without vowels, pacing our study according to students’ needs. AOP students may combine this class with further study to receive AOP credit.

Yad B'Yad

Honoring our Loves, Honoring our Lives - FULL DETAILS

Date: June 21
Time: 7:30pm ET (4:30pm PT)
Cost: $18
Led by: Barb Segura

 

Class Description:

Living/Dying/Grieving – has been on all of our minds since 2020. We have our own brutal and  tender stories and experiences of these past two years. Grief is a change we don’t want. To grieve is human and to grieve is to have loved and to continue to love. In fact, the love we have for them doesn’t leave us, so why should stop loving when they are no longer physically with us? 

During our time together we will have the opportunity to actively engage with questions, concepts and tap into the wisdom of our lived experiences. 

Together, we will face our fears of living, dying and grieving so as to live a little more fully. We will do a guided meditation and spend some time reflecting on our current relationship with death. How does knowing that you will die inform your living? 

– – –

Batya/Barb Segura grew up Catholic in Queens, NY and went to SUNY Potsdam for her BA. She received her graduate degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with concentration in addiction rehabilitation from Springfield College in Massachusetts.  She retired from the State of Connecticut, Department of Correction, Addiction Services Unit where she facilitated grief support groups for men in outpatient and therapeutic community treatment programs. She also worked at the Hope Center, a community mental health clinic and as an imbedded clinician supporting the Connecticut National Guard during the OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) years. She is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor FL 16347 and Certified Addiction Counselor FL 002738-2014 and Licensed Professional Counselor CT 00463.

She converted to Judaism, her father’s unspoken religion in 2018 and is a member at P’nai Or Synagogue in Philadelphia.

When she is not spending time with her children and grandchildren, she serves as a Grief Educator, certified by the internationally known grief expert, David Kessler, teaching and speaking wherever she is invited. She facilitates and ongoing grief support group for Temple Beth Sholom in Melbourne, FL  For fun, Barb loves road trips, hiking, Hebrew, singing and playing guitar.

Yad B'Yad

Book Launch Panel of "The Pearl and the Flame: A Journey into Jewish Wisdom and Ecological Thinking" - FULL DETAILS

Date: Tuesday, June 28
Time: 7:30 – 8:30 PM ET (4:30 – 5:30 PM PT)
Cost: FREE
Led by: Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD

Description:

This panel of leaders in the fields of Jewish social justice, spirituality, and environmental education and activism will discuss insights and implications of Margalit’s new book, The Pearl and the Flame.

The Panel:

Rabbi Sid Schwarz, PhD, moderator — Senior Fellow at Hazon, director of Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI) and Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network
Rabbi Natan Margalit, PhD — Chair of Rabbinic Texts Department, ALEPH Ordination Program; Director of Earth-Based Judaism Program and Organic Torah
Michal Smart — Chief Program Officer, Institute of Jewish Spirituality
Rabbi Laura Bellows — Director of Spiritual Activism and Education, Dayenu: A Jewish Call for Climate Action

In the words of Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, one of the pioneers of Jewish environmentalism, this book “illuminates the radical ecological nature of ancient Jewish thinking. Through personal stories and exploration of the most cutting-edge ecological thinking, Rabbi Margalit brings to life the wisdom of the rabbis, who understood that the meaning of life is forged by creating connections. At this time of such brokenness, The Pearl and The Flame inspires us to find creative new ways to make the world whole again.”  

If you wish to purchase a copy of Rabbi Margalit’s book, The Pearl and the Flame, you may do so here.

Yad B'Yad

Torah at the Intersection: Numbers/BaMidbar - FULL DETAILS

Dates: Wednesdays, July 6, 13, 20, and 27
Time: 7:30 – 9 pm ET (4:30 – 6 pm PT)
Cost: $72
Led by: Roberta Wall

Class Description:

Each week we will explore the weekly reading, or parasha, of the Torah, connecting its wisdom to traditional and new Jewish midrash, Nonviolent Communication, Buddhism, and other major streams of learning relevant, healing and supportive of our lives today.

This will be an intimate interactive class, with learning and concrete practices to apply traditional wisdom and insights to our daily lives. This exploration of the intersections of Torah, Nonviolent Communication and Buddhism is in service of our spiritual development and global movements for peace and justice. This four week series completes the Book of Numbers, BaMidbar, and the classes will be recorded for all participants.

Here are the four weekly Torah portions we will cover as Torah at the Intersection has explored them:

Schedule (Click links to read full pieces):

Week of July 6 Parashat Chukat

Week of July 13 Parashat Balak

Week of July 20, Parashat Pinchas

Week of July 27 Parashiot Matot and Masei

Roberta Wall is a senior student of  Buddhist Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication, and a serious student of Torah, Hassidut and Jewish practices. She has presented and taught Torah at theIntersection in numerous Jewish, NVC and Buddhist communities and online summits. Roberta also is a co founder of the Israeli-Palestinian NVC community. Her book, Torah at the Intersection, is forthcoming. Roberta welcomes questions about the course: Info@steps2peace.com

Yad B'Yad

An Evening of Soulful Spirit: ALEPH Virtual Cabaret - FULL DETAILS

An Evening of Soulful Spirit: ALEPH Virtual Cabaret
Benefitting ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal

Date: Sunday, July 17

Time: 7 – 9 pm EST (4 – 6 pm PST)
Welcome and centering from 6:45 – 7 pm EST (3:45 – 4 pm PST)

Cost: Pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $36 or more

Description: It’s that time of year again: time for the third annual Virtual ALEPH Cabaret! A stellar lineup of performers will lift us up in song, connect with us through words, and bring us all together—beyond our Zoom screens—as one collective soul. Produced by Rabbinic Pastor/Cantor Lisa Levine, ALEPH’s biggest summer fundraiser is going to be an unforgettable evening you won’t want to miss.

Yad B'Yad

Walking in the Light of God's Shadow- FULL DETAILS

Date: July 17
Time: 4:00pm ET (1pm PT)
Cost: $18
Led by: Jinks Hoffmann

Waking up—becoming conscious—is a lifetime endeavor. In dialogue with Bobbi Breitman, Jinks Hoffmann will reflect on the divine daily call to wholeness: in our relationships and work, our joys and dreams, our messes and triumphs, our losses and grief. Jinks’ book was coming together in a very dark time in the world where archetypal and personal shadow ran rampant. Synchronistically, Jinks was upended by unusually traumatic circumstances. Journeying through dark and also radiant shadow, Jinks learned much about surrender, about “I don’t know,” and about the dark and light of life and of the Divine.

In conversation, Bobbi and Jinks will also reflect on the teachings of six remarkable teachers of contemporary Jewish mysticism—Arthur Green, Lawrence Kushner, Michael Fishbane, Sanford Drob, Tirzah Firestone, and Melila Hellner-Eshed—whose wisdom comforted and sustained Jinks during this period. Jinks offers the perspective that by waking up, we can grow in our minds, bodies, hearts and souls. We learn that when we welcome our vulnerability and strength we heighten our humanity and heal our souls. By becoming kinder and more compassionate with ourselves and with one another, we keep waking up and can contribute to our own healing and that of our fractured and exquisite world.

There will be time for questions and reflections.

 

Yad B'Yad

What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye - FULL DETAILS

Dates: Sunday, July 24
Time: 1 pm ET (10 am PT)

Cost: $20
Led by: Dominique Tomasov Blinder

Class Description:

For the past two decades Dominique Tomasov Blinder has focused on ancient Jewish cemeteries, combining her professional background and her involvement in the Jewish community. Dominique is an independent researcher and Jewish heritage activist.

In 1999, she took the Jewish narrative out on the streets in Spain where she advocated for ancient Jewish cemeteries to obtain historical landmark designation.

Cemeteries are loaded with tradition and meaning. They are fundamental sites of collective memory that call upon us to fulfill the responsibility of Kvod hamet.

This ancient cemetery in Barcelona (pictured) dates back to the 9th century. After the violent attacks in 1391 throughout Castille and Aragon, the Jewish community in town did not recover and the cemetery was forcibly abandoned, looted and subdivided through the centuries, but graves still lie underground with no visible evidence.

These sites offer a very powerful opportunity for local and visiting Jews to reinforce their sense of belonging and reconnection to the place. The question is how to integrate ancient Jewish cemeteries in the local historical narrative. Should we present them as places of the past or as part of the ongoing life of the people who established them?

– – –

Dominique Tomasov Blinder is the grandchild of Jews from Belarus and Ukraine who settled in Buenos Aires. She was born in NY and raised in Argentina. After earning an architecture degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Dominique moved to New York and, twelve years later, settled in Barcelona in 1991.
A founding member of the first egalitarian synagogue in Spain, she is responsible for its Chevra Kadisha.
Dominique is an independent researcher and Jewish heritage activist. In 1999 she took the Jewish narrative out on the streets,for the first time ever in Spain.She is a strong advocate for ancient Jewish cemeteries and obtained historical landmark designation for the one in Barcelona.

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.

Virtual Program - Minyan

Silence is Praise - FULL DETAILS

Date: Weekly on Wednesdays
Time: 11:30 am-12:30 pm ET (8:30-9:30 am PT) 
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

The views, information, or opinions expressed during this event are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of ALEPH and its members.