Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT
Explore multiple dimensions of innovative Jewish spiritual practices for sustainable futures. Together, these Labs are a crucible for cooking up a renewed Jewish spirituality dedicated to creating the future that we all know in our hearts is possible.
The Labs run simultaneously during the Living Laboratory, with ample opportunity for cross-pollinization amongst them. More information about other labs and teachers coming soon. When you register for Elat Chayyim Living Laboratory, please indicate in the special notes section which Lab you choose.
Rebuilding the Temple of the Body as a Jewish Spiritual Practice
Following the destruction commemorated at Tisha B’Av, Rebuilding the Temple invites participants to inhabit internal sacred space (White Fire) from the inside out, beginning by silently exploring the innermost places of our bodies. Weaving somatic practice, text study, classical yoga postures and ritual arts, we will explore a body system each day along with the fire that fuels the body, so at the end of the workshop, participants may be able to authentically say, “From my flesh I shall see Divinity.” (Job 19:26) Occurring on the heels of the ashes of Tisha B ‘Av, we are given the perfect opportuinty to purify and generate holiness from the inside out.
Healing the Earth as a Jewish Spiritual Practice
Explore how Jewish eco-activists could work in the “Four Worlds” of reality, drawing on Jewish thought and practice to help move the world away from climate catastrophe and toward a world of just, shared, and sustainable abundance.
- Spiritually, by creating new forms of prayer, meditation, and celebration that draw us into fuller awareness of the interweaving of all life.
- Intellectually, by integrating both direct experience of Nature and ecological science – the science that integrates the two Trees of Eden (the Tree of Flowing Life and the Tree of Distinction-making) – into what we teach and learn as sacred Torah.
- Emotionally and ethically, by developing a “sacred political activism” (Heschel’s “my legs were praying”) by which to move and engage people in changing public and corporate policy and action.
- Physically, through hands-on action and daily eco-kosher practice to green synagogues and other Jewish homes, buildings, transportation, etc. and to point toward caring consumption of food and other earth-products (energy, etc) in an eco-kosher way.
Exploring Texts, Tribe, and Trees as a Jewish Spiritual Practice
At the great hearth of our Jewish culture live sacred stories. These stories hold within them the seeds of our inheritance and connect us to the roots of our beginnings. Within Torah is a dynamic eco-system: a vast network of organic connections that is fertile, alive, and strong. When we bring a living systems approach to text study with experiential learning in nature, the result is an embodied, new and ancient, deeply moving understanding of our tradition.
Join us for a week of discovering our wild roots through sacred text study, nature connection and wilderness skills, music, and an exploration of Jewish sacred story and lore, discovering once again our own stories within our tribal narratives, and our own lives in the great web of all life.
We will delve into:
- Jewish text study as a living eco-system
- Wilderness awareness skills
- Music, creative energy, and the wisdom of our bodies
- Plants as food and medicine, animal tracking, and bird language