What is Jewish Meditation?
Jewish meditation is not something new and trendy, it has been practiced throughout Jewish history. The Talmud describes the Rabbis meditating for an hour before and after services. In the Torah we are told how Jacob went out into the field to meditate. The Jewish Mystics on the middle ages also practiced meditation daily.
According to Rabbi Goldie Milgram, recent bio-medical studies in the field of psycho-neuro-immunology indicate that group meditation enhances the benefits of solitary meditation. When a minyan of Jews meditates together, there is a reciprocity of caring, support and spiritual energy.
“Meditation is thinking in a controlled manner,” writes Rabbi Jonathan Slater in his book Mindful Jewish Living. “It is deciding exactly how to direct one’s mind for a period of time.”
“In theory this may sound easy, but in practice it is not. The human mind seems to have a mind of its own beyond the will of the thinker. Thoughts are so much a part of our being that we take them for granted. One of the first steps in mediation is learning how not to take our thoughts for granted. It is like exercising. If you do it three times a week, you’ll begin to see a difference in a few weeks.”
The Beth Yeshurun Meditation group has the opportunity to explore several different types of meditation each month, as each teacher offers a different pathway to spiritual practice.
Our teachers include:
Ann Friedman, a nine-year student of Rabbi David Cooper, practices mindfulness meditation. The Ba'al Shem Tov teaches us to see each day as new and as a gift from Hashem. When we practice mindfulness, we pay attention to the present moment with curiosity and openness. Through this practice, we learn acceptance of life's challenges and grow in compassion, joy and gratitude.
Janice Rubin is committed to using music as a tool for creating a personal connection with the Divine, and for finding a pathway to transformative prayer. She uses music and chant as a tool for meditation. For those interested in music as a tool for enhancing meditation and prayer, chanting with intention can open a doorway to a deep inner dimension where we find opportunities for spiritual growth and healing.
Martin Lindenberg has been meditating with a variety of techniques for decades and teaching Jewish mediation for several years. His approaches include progressive relaxation, guided meditation/self hypnosis, Kundalini yoga (breathing focused meditation & postures), mindfulness and spiritual/religious meditation. Martin is acknowledged for his warm, empathic and helpful style.
Ray Sher and Gary Edmondson have been practicing mediation for over 30 years. They have facilitated meditation and chant groups for the past 17 years and offer a meditation practice that brings together meditation, Jewish chant and Torah study to enrich daily lives, relationships and to build community. Their teacher and inspiration has come from Rabbi Shefa Gold.
The group meets in Zubowski A on Wednesday evenings from 7-8pm. All levels of meditators are welcome. For more information contact Karen Hurwitz