EXPERIENCING JEWISH MEDITATION:
What is this course?
This is the second installment in a course that empowers us to engage experientially with foundational contemplative practices from the Jewish tradition, from text to practice.
The introductory course focused on introducing Jewish Meditation and giving an overview of various techniques, and this course will take the participants through an exploration of more advanced Jewish meditation practices.
The meditations studied and practiced in this course focus on a dimension that runs across various traditions of Jewish Spirituality, from medieval Jewish thinkers to Kabbalists and Chassidim: the body, and more specifically how the body is considered as a vessel (a keli) not only for a life of holiness (kedusha) but also for spiritual experiences.
The aim of learning various Jewish Meditation practices involving the body is threefold: first, to invite us to expand our understanding of what Jewish spirituality and meditation is; second, to relate to our bodies not as separate but as an integral part of our spiritual lives; and third, to be able to integrate these practices into our daily lives.
In the process of this live, interactive course, we will approach some Kabbalistic meditation techniques. Learning Kabbalistic meditation traditionally requires a prior grounding in life, in study and in practice. Students are invited to approach this learning with the care and the kavod (respect) it deserves, and with the sincere commitment to use these techniques to purify their hearts and work on their midot (character traits), so as to contribute to the Tikkun Olam, the repairing of the world.
Each class will move from text study (all texts provided in Hebrew and English) to guided meditation practice, with a time for questions and sharing at the end. This course will involve embodied practices such as singing, eating, dancing, or body postures. Get ready for some experimentation!
Students will be invited, if they wish, to match with a spiritual chavruta (partner) with whom they will share their practice throughout the course, and there will be a forum for group processing and ongoing support.
This course is especially relevant for students who have already completed the first course of Experiencing Jewish Meditation, which provides a preliminary understanding of the concepts and practices of Jewish Meditation, or who have attained equivalent experience elsewhere. The materials and recordings for this course are still available, and registration entitles you to a one on one session with the course instructor.
How does it work?
The course consists of 8 classes, of 75 minutes each, organized in 4 thematic sections, which participants can participate in live, or watch later at their own convenience.
Sessions consist of close study of texts and by guided practice.
Each session includes:
1) A live, interactive class, in which Dr. Mira Neshama leads a 75 minutes study and meditation session. Sessions include a close reading of Jewish texts in their original, clearly translated and explained, together with relevant background information and discussion.
These sessions can be watched live for a direct interaction with the teacher, or watched at your convenience.
2) A printable handout of relevant texts from Biblical, Rabbinic, Kabbalistic and Chassidic sources, provided in full translation with introductory comments and guiding questions.
3) A guided practice, informed by the study session and offered with clear instructions by Mira, provided in both audio and video format.
4) An open channel to the teacher and other AJS course participants, to process the journey through the teachings and practices of each class.
The course begins on Wednesday, March 10, and ends on Wednesday, May 12.
The live Zoom sessions will take place every Wednesday except March 31 (Passover) and April 14 (Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha'atzmaut).
The live zoom sessions begin at 10am Pacific / 1pm Eastern / 6pm UK / 8pm Israel.
Video recordings of each class will be shared for participants to watch at their own convenience.
The Eight Sessions
Part I - Spiritual Nourishment
Breathing the Divine Name
Part II - Meditative Postures
Placing our head between the knees
Part III - Holy Visualization
Kidush Hashem (sanctification of the Name)
Part IV - Contemplative Singing and Movement
Nigunim: the song of the soul (niggunim means melodies)
"Mira has a gentle, graceful and calming presence, which immediately sets the tone for meditation.
She is extremely knowledgeable and wise with regard to the traditional teachings of Chassidut and Jewish texts in general, from Torah to the rabbis, to the commentators, to contemporary teachers. She also presents the traditional texts in a relatable and relevant way that makes sense to current meditation practices. Mira always comes prepared with rich, meaningful and varied resources, which she accompanies with beautiful music - current Israeli to traditional songs and niggunim. All of her sessions are uplifting, inspiring and profound. I'm grateful to have found such a sincere and serious teacher and practitioner in Jewish Meditation. Todah Rabbah, Mira and AJS, for all your excellent offerings."
- Michelle Katz
"From the first sit, I knew that Mira's teaching style was unique and just what I'd been looking for (though I didn't know it yet). I have enjoyed each and every sit that she has led, from the IJS daily meditations to the Experiencing Jewish Meditation course with AJS course last fall, and - WOW - her self-love mini-retreat was something truly special. Mira has such a gift for teaching, embracing the community (even on Zoom!), and seeing life for what it is, even in dense, ancient texts."
- Becca Stolz
"Mira is a gem of a teacher and scholar as well as a sweet human being! She skilfully weaves deep scholarship and understanding of Torah and the Jewish mystical tradition with a personal depth of experience in meditation practice and theory. Mira is a true shining light in the field of Jewish mindfulness."
- Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, Director of Camp Ramah in Canada and former Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training