Welcome to AJS
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Our current courses are listed below.
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The Tanya is the magnum opus of the great mystic Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, affectionately referred to as the Alter Rebbe, who founded the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic movement.
Tanya is based on Kabbalah, and it guides us to achieve harmony of body and soul, of earthliness and spirituality.
The Ba'al HaTanya (as the author is sometimes referred to) offers a series of practical suggestions for attaining inner harmony, always with the emphasis on joy.
In each of our eight sessions, we will learn about, and then practice together, a specific approach to opening our heart and experiencing an elevated consciousness, which through continued practice we can then integrate into every aspect of our daily lives.
What is Jewish Meditation, and how to learn to practice it in an authentic way?
In this course we will encounter Jewish meditation intellectually and experientially, with foundational practices based on textual sources from the Jewish tradition.
The course weaves together text study and practice, to empower participants to integrate the practices into their daily lives, incorporating our whole selves – intellectual, emotional, embodied, ethical and spiritual.
Each class will include reading and discussion of a key text, followed by meditation instructions based on the text, meditation practice, and time for questions and sharing at the end.
The Ba'al Shem Tov (also known as the Besht) founded the spiritual revolution that became the Chasidic movement, in the mid-1700s.
The oral teachings of this Jewish shaman/medicine man (this is what it means to be a "ba'al shem"), are gems of transformative wisdom, and are often full of surprises.
Of the many ideas which the Besht originated, Rabbi Ruth has chosen some of her most beloved teachings which are linked to spiritual practices. You are invited to practice them between classes or keep the teachings in your hearts to use when the right time arrives...
Classes will incorporate the four worlds (levels of consciousness) of the holistic Chasidic system: Stories, Niggun, Torah and Prayer/Silence.
The Shemoneh Esrei or Amidah is the central Jewish prayer, recited three times daily and even more on Shabbat and holidays. This course unpacks the language and structure of this prayer to uncover its contemplative, experiential core. The Shemoneh Esrei was composed by Sages and Prophets to provide a pathway to the Divine that could be accessed throughout the generations. It is a visionary journey and devotional practice of turning to God in a personal and intimate way.
Together we will excavate the text of the Shemoneh Esrei to encounter its multiple layers of meaning - the choice of words, hidden Biblical references and underpinnings of this prayer, as well as its Kabbalistic interpretations. These layers of understanding offer access points for engaging with the Shemoneh Esrei as a dynamic, experiential practice.
How can the primary system of Kabbalah help us to understand and refine our inner selves, our creativity and our relationships?
The Sefirot of the Tree of Life are often described as attributes of the Divine, or gateways, through which the Divine brings existence into being.
The Sefirot can also be understood as archetypes or character traits, which we can identify and refine in our own selves.
By learning about each Sefirah and how they may manifest in our internal and external lives, we will grow intellectually and experientially, internalizing the Kabbalists' potent wisdom to enrich every aspect of our day-to-day existence.
Together, we will explore the Sefirot in theory and practice, learning how they were understood by several generations of Kabbalists, and how they may manifest in our internal lives, relationships, creative or vocational pursuits.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, was the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel, and a towering scholar, thinker, Kabbalist and poet.
Many today see him as a modern day prophet, a visionary whose spiritual and redemptive teachings speak to the individual, the people of Israel and all of humanity.
In this course, we will explore eight "sparks" - aspects of our search for spiritual authenticity and freedom. Each class will consist of studying about a "spark," and then experiencing our relationship with it through a guided meditative practice.
Step by step, we will uncover more and more of our true essence – the image of the Divine in Whom we have been created and Who continues to dwell within us.
Available whole or in 2 parts
How can the early Chasidic Masters help us to understand and harness the power of Kabbalah in our daily lives?
What are the transformative ideas and practices with which they created a mass-movement, and changed the lives of millions of people?
Join us as we explore the revolutionary lives and teachings of these Masters, and support each other in bringing their radical spiritual and psychological insights into every aspect of our lives. Our learning and practice will be guided by tradition, scholarship and the relevant insights of the contemporary mindfulness world.
Dr. Mira Neshama Niculescu
Did you know that Maimonides wrote a classic work of self-understanding and self-improvement?
His Eight Chapters (Shmoneh Prakim) were written as introduction to the Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) and they offer us a practical path towards clarity, balance and healing.
Maimonides was a giant of Jewish thought and practice, as well as a master of Greek philosophy and medicine, and has tremendous wisdom to offer our bodies, minds and souls.
Join our international community of students supporting one another in learning, reflecting upon and applying his insights to enhance our daily lives.
Prayer (Tefillah) is the core spiritual practice of the Jewish tradition.
It is Jewish meditation par excellence. However, many people experience it as dry recitation of prayers, whose words and forms feel foreign and hard to connect to.
This course offers an entryway into Tefillah as it is meant to be - an embodied meditative practice of relating to the Divine.
Drawing from the full range of Biblical, Rabbinic, Kabbalistic and Chassidic sources, this course provides an in-depth exploration of Kavanah - the states of mind, heart and body that form the basis for Tefillah - and offers practical guidance for engaging in Tefillah as a meditative practice.
Ana B'Khoach is an ancient mystical chant, used by many great Kabbalists, that encodes the mysterious 42-letter name of God.
In this online course, taught by Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, we will explore the power of this chant like spiritual detectives, discovering a new layer of meaning in each class.
As we study and chant Ana B’Khoach together, we will encounter deep insights into the nature of reality and a wealth of mystical and kabbalistic practices, ranging from simple ones for everyday use, to advanced ones for those who are further on along the mystical path.
Join any time
2 Classes per month
What are the unique spiritual and psychological opportunities and challenges of each month and festival?
What are the practices that our tradition recommends for each month, to maximise our potential in every area of our lives?
In this online course, we will explore the depth and breadth of Torah and Kabbalah, month by month, and integrate their wisdom with insights from the best of the contemporary mindfulness world.
Join students from around the world as we learn, practice and support each other in our ongoing journey of inspiration and growth.
Teshuva is returning to our highest self and our Divine potential. It is a central idea and practice in Judaism, and our sages teach that when motivated by love (ahava), it is a deeply powerful, transformative process.
Our calendar invites us to focus on Teshuva with particular attention during the Fall, as we prepare for the key festivals of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
These High Holidays are crucial opportunities to engage with Teshuva, to choose who we want to be and how to live going forward.
Together, we will explore how to open ourselves to lasting changes in our lives that Teshuva M'Ahava can bring, from the wisdom of the Torah, ancient sages, Kabbalists, Chasidic Masters and contemporary teachers.
A TIME FOR
Rabbi Ami Silver
The High Holidays are a potent time for personal growth in all areas of life, including interpersonal relationships, our own self-concept, lifestyle choices, and our spiritual lives.
This course will help us access the powerful opportunities for insight and growth that these holidays offer.
Through a combination of in-depth textual study and embodied exercises and meditations, we will explore the core qualities and practices of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, allowing us to engage with this season in a way that is deep, meaningful, and that touches our lives.
"The courses offered through Applied Jewish Spirituality not only provide a window into the vast world of Chasidic and mystical teachings, but translate the esoteric into practices that can be integrated into ones daily spiritual life. The source sheets for every class are a remarkable resource full of deep and powerful Torah to make the teachings accessible to learners of all backgrounds."
- Rabbi Adam Gindea
"In so many ways the AJS course I followed redefined 'learning' for me. This is because of the unique way our course leader synthesised rigorous scholarship with practical spiritual practice. Through his personal skills he also created a sense of a community amongst us all - no mean feat for online learning! I ended the course feeling transformed and inspired." - Jyll Bradley
"One of the many things I so appreciate about AJS is that the online learning platform allows me to learn with teachers I would otherwise have far fewer opportunities to learn with. I greatly appreciated the way R. Ami Silver’s class opened more doors to deepening spiritual practices around the chagim, and learning Chasidut and the Kabbalah of the calendar with R. Daniel Silverstein has been a delight. I appreciate the way AJS teachers approach Jewish text with a healthy mix of deep reverence and a willingness to address with greatest intellectual honesty the historical context of the sources." - Rabbi Lauren Tuchman
"Not only does AJS provide access to an incredibly vast and rich well of Jewish material, but the faculty are really all masters at distilling and effectively transmitting information that ordinarily would remain hidden and inaccessible to curious beginning students. That said, faculty at AJS enthusiastically welcome and cater to the beginners mind who might otherwise feel too intimidated, or perhaps a bit too shy wandering into a traditional beit midrash of learned scholars and other big-time ball players. One really does get the sense that there is a larger learning taking place that the course as a single entity - material, teachers, and students all - participates in. And the importance of this really can’t be understated because its the facilitation of that mutual transmission of mind, body, and spirit that underlies and upholds the integrity of the great worldly wisdom traditions. I don’t know if I would have a Jewish practice if it weren’t for AJS."
- Gabe Gould
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Appreciation for use of images:
Hebrew Calligraphy by Michel d'Anastasio
Ram image by Federico Parolo from Deuteronomy Press
Prayer photo (Shemoneh Esrei) by Mazhar Zandsalimi
Tree of Life image by David Friedman from Kosmic Kabbalah
Calendar image by Federico Parolo from Deuteronomy Press