A Virtual Retreat: Awakening in Challenging Times

Program Description

Awakening in Challenging Times: A Pardes & Or HaLev Jewish Spirituality Virtual Retreat

This program has moved online and reopened registration. If you would like to learn more about joining fill out the application or contact spirituality@pardes.org.

The retreat will now begin at 11 AM (EST) on Tuesday, December 28th and conclude before Shabbat, Friday afternoon (EST) December 31st.

We live in challenging times full of uncertainty. How do we continue to be our best selves in the midst of this challenge? How do we find a center of calm stability even in the midst of instability and confusion? How do we reconnect with our divine nature and essential joy and love so that we can most effectively be agents of transformation for ourselves, our communities, our societies and the world?

Our tradition is alas no stranger to instability, upheaval and threat and so can provide us with deep resources for clarity, openness and vitality at times of challenge. Combining prayer, mindfulness meditation, silence, text study, and other modes of Jewish spiritual practice, this retreat will introduce participants to the profound depths of Jewish spirituality and offer the possibility of finding clarity and presence in an ever-changing world and life-transforming meaning in the Jewish tradition.

Most of the retreat will be spent in silence, meditation, and yoga, including meditation instruction and questions and answers. There will also be daily teachings as well as text study and discussion, and additional spiritual practices that complement and support our meditation practice. Beginners and more advanced practitioners are welcome.

Participating in a virtual retreat is a different experience but one which we have found to be deeply supportive and powerful for participants. This retreat is an immersive experience. Having said that, we know participating from home carries a whole host of new and different challenges. We therefore understand that participants may need some flexibility in managing their home responsibilities and retreat participation, but ask you to commit to serious participation in the retreat as you are able. Ultimately, you will receive from the retreat what you are able to put in. After you register, we’ll be in touch with more particulars about how to prepare for a retreat at home in the most effective way possible.

Because this is a virtual retreat, participants may register from all over the world. The core time zones for this retreat will be North American time zones. The full schedule will be accessible live to anyone in any of the North American time zones. For those who wish to participate from other time zones, and will not be able to be present for all the live teachings, all instructions and teachings will be recorded and may be listened to at a time that makes sense for you. All participants will be placed in meditation meetings with the teachers at times that are accessible from their time zone.

Rabbi James Jacobson Maisels Ph.D. (Faculty) is the founder and executive director of Or HaLev: Center for Jewish Spirituality and Meditation (OrHaLev.net). He has been studying and teaching meditation and Jewish spirituality for almost twenty-five years. He received his Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago and rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes, a past Rosh Yeshiva of Pardes. He was the founding Rosh Yeshiva of Romemu Yeshiva and has taught and innovated programs in Jewish thought, mysticism, spiritual practices and meditation at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Haifa University, Yeshivat Hadar and in a variety of settings around the world. He strives to integrate his study and practice and to help teach and live Judaism as a spiritual discipline.

Rabbi Lisa GoldsteinRabbi Lisa Goldstein (Faculty) is a teacher, coach and consultant with almost 25 years of executive experience. She teaches a wide variety of online courses with an emphasis on spiritual resilience, cultivating the capacity for love and awe, meditation and the teachings on R. Nahman of Breslov. She also works one-on-one to support people in their spiritual journeys.

Educated at Brown University and Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Goldstein has worked as an assistant rabbi, the director of Hillel of San Diego, and the executive director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She has helped create and implement online learning programs, including self-paced highly produced courses. She is a faculty member for Jewish Pedagogies for Well Being at M2, a research program for master educators, and is currently working for certification in NARM, a therapeutic approach to healing developmental trauma.

She lives in New York City with her husband and foster son.

Shira Abramowitz (Faculty) is a mindfulness teacher, group learning specialist, and the executive director of Summit Impact, a nonprofit platform for collaboration for social good. She spends much of her time designing social learning environments where compassionate practice invites deeper learning and collective action. Shira completed the Institute of Jewish Spirituality teacher training program, and teaches mindfulness and meditation on retreats, through virtual learning programs, and in organizational settings. https://www.shiraabramowitz.com

Ami Weintraub (Retreat Manager) (he/they) is the founder of Ratzon: Center for Healing and Resistance, a queer, Jewish, and anarchist community center in Pittsburgh.  Ami is a writer, a community organizer and an educator at local  Hebrew schools. They are a Rabbinic student in the Aleph Ordination Program and a two-time graduate of the Romemu Yeshiva.


We are so glad that you are going to join us on this powerful virtual retreat experience. We believe in the spirit of generosity as an essential part of the practice. We also acknowledge that financial abilities differ for everyone and so we strive to make this retreat accessible to those who wish to participate, by offering different payment levels.

Given this year’s sudden transition and the costs we have already taken on to facilitate what was originally a physical retreat, we hope you will pay at the highest rate that you are able to. Your generosity will help in supporting others to attend this retreat and make it possible to keep offering it in the future.

Covers the actual cost of the retreat. $399

Enables a scholarship for those who cannot afford the retreat. $599

Partial Scholarship

A partially subsidized rate of the retreat. $235


A subsidized rate of the course. $135

*limited scholarship rates available

I don’t think it is premature to say this: thanks for changing my life.

–Rose Mardi

Awakening the Divine was a deeply special opportunity to bridge two worlds I have straddled for years which I have known in my heart of hearts are beautifully connected – my contemplative/meditative practice within my Jewish spirituality. I have never felt so at home in both practices as I did in this space.

–Einat, 23
New York

I never knew that Judaism could be so much fun! This experience fed my soul and when I returned from the retreat, I found myself feeling deeply nourished. I felt my heart open up throughout the week of meditation and Hebrew chanting and the silence helped me fall in love with my Self. I am truly grateful for all of the beautiful souls that accompanied me on this journey into our own unique expression of the divine. I am especially grateful to our incredible teachers who seem to have endless compassion and kindness for everyone. I look forward to facing future challenges with some of the skills I have learned through this program.

–Elizabeth Koosed, 22
Brooklyn, NY.

the retreat dramatically expanded the range of mediums for which to connect spiritually. I have learned beautiful Jewish chants, a very effective meditation technique, and a lot about how to deal with difficult emotions. I have taken a lot of what I learned on the retreat and implemented it into my life, and I have definitely seen an improvement in term of interacting in the world more peacefully. The Jewish Meditation retreat was really fun, life-changing, and a truly invaluable experience.

–Ryan Snyder

This virtual retreat schedule will be accessible for anyone in North America. Those in other time zones, such as Europe, are welcome to register and participate live during the hours which are possible for them and listen to recorded content the next morning (all talks and teachings will be recorded and made available, during the retreat, to retreat participants). We will take into your account your time zone in assigning you to meditation group meetings with teachers so that you will be assigned to meetings that are possible at your time zone.

The retreat will begin at 11am (East Coast time) Tuesday and conclude in the afternoon on Friday.

Sample Schedule of a Typical Day

Pacific Eastern UK Israel Public Schedule
4:30 AM 7:30 AM 12:30 PM 2:30 PM Wake up
5:00 AM 8:00 AM 1:00 PM 3:00 PM Sit
5:45 AM 8:45 AM 1:45 PM 3:45 PM Walk & Individual Prayer Time & Breakfast
6:30 AM 9:30 AM 2:30 PM 4:30 PM Chanting
7:15 AM 10:15 AM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM Walk & Individual Prayer Time & Breakfast
8:00 AM 11:00 AM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM Sit with Instructions
8:45 AM 11:45 AM 4:45 PM 6:45 PM Walk
9:30 AM 12:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM Sit + Q&A
10:15 AM 1:15 PM 6:15 PM 8:15 PM Walk & Lunch
11:00 AM 2:00 PM 7:00 PM 9:00 PM Teaching & Practice 1
12:00 PM 3:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM Walk
12:45 PM 3:45 PM 8:45 PM 10:45 PM Blessing Practice
1:30 PM 4:30 PM 9:30 PM 11:30 PM Walk
2:30 PM 5:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:30 AM Sit
3:15 PM 6:15 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM Yoga
4:15 PM 7:15 PM 12:15 AM 2:15 AM Dinner & Walk
5:00 PM 8:00 PM 1:00 AM 3:00 AM Teaching 2
6:00 PM 9:00 PM 2:00 AM 4:00 AM Walk
6:45 PM 9:45 PM 2:45 AM 4:45 AM Sit
7:30 PM 10:30 PM 3:30 AM 5:30 AM Walk
8:15 PM 11:15 PM 4:15 AM 6:15 AM Sit and final niggun, brief teaching
9:00 PM 12:00 AM 5:00 AM 7:00 AM Bed


Contact spirituality@pardes.org with any questions or for more information.