Pardes Spirituality Retreat: Awakening the Divine

Program Description

In partnership with Or HaLev and the NYU Center for Global Spiritual Life

The Psalms teach that the human soul is the light of God, illuminating our hearts and minds, our actions and relationships, for the Divine to enter. This retreat, held in North America, offers the opportunity for a sacred pause, enabling us to open ourselves to the joy and presence which is our divine nature and take that awakening back with us into our everyday lives. It provides the skills necessary to transform the sometimes muffled, tense or distracted experience of our lives into an open-hearted engagement with every moment. It offers the opportunity to touch that still, small voice within each of us and the soul-wisdom which is our birthright. It transforms our Jewish practice and lives into a deep mode of spiritual awakening.

Combining prayer, mindfulness meditation, silence, text study, group work and other modes of spiritual practice, this retreat will introduce participants to the profound depths of Jewish spirituality and offer the possibility of finding life-transforming meaning in the Jewish tradition. Mornings of the retreat will be spent in silence, meditation and yoga, including meditation instruction and questions and answers. Afternoons and evenings include additional meditation, mindful text study and discussion, a question and answer session, and exploration of additional spiritual practices that compliment and support our meditation practice. The retreat will conclude with a deep celebration of Shabbat, helping participants experience one of Judaism’s most important spiritual practices. At the conclusion of the retreat, the teachers will provide participants with resources and techniques to continue practicing and growing in their universities and home communities.

The registration deadline has passed. All applicants will be placed on a waiting list, as registration is completely full. We encourage you still apply to get a spot on that list.

Rabbi Dr. James Jacobson Maisels has been studying and teaching Jewish Meditation for over 20 years. He currently directs the vision of Or HaLev and is a devotee of mindfulness practice. Ordained by Rav Daniel Landes, with a doctorate in Jewish Studies from the University of Chicago, Rav James lectures internationally on Jewish Spiritual practices. He also teaches at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Haifa University and Yeshivat Hadar. He strives to integrate his study with his practice, and to help teach and live Judaism as a spiritual discipline.

Rabbi Benjamin Barnett serves as rabbi of Havurah Shalom in Portland, Oregon. He is a devoted practitioner and teacher of Jewish contemplative prayer and meditation, and works to build relationships across religious and cultural lines in the name of creating a more compassionate and just world. Benjamin is an alum of the rabbinic cohort of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality as well as the Kol Zimra chant leader’s training. Prior to the rabbinate, he worked with mentally ill adults and led wilderness expeditions for teenagers.

Rabbi Shuli Passow has over 15 years experience as a Jewish educator and communal professional. She has taught Torah, yoga, community organizing, and Judaism and social change throughout the Jewish community, including Jewish Funds for Justice, Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at New York University, and Yeshivat Hadar. Shuli currently serves as Director of Community Engagement at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City.

Beth Sandweiss is a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) instructor, somatically oriented psychotherapist and co-founder of the Jewish Mediation Center of Montclair ,NJ. Beth trained at the Center for Mindfulness at U. Mass Medical Center and has been teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Meditation since 2008. She currently teaches MBSR to Veterans at the NJ VA, to college students at the Krame Center for Contemplative Studies at Ramapo College, and to patients and health care professionals at Valley Hospital in NJ. A graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training Program and Rabbi Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra Hebrew Chant Training, Beth teaches an online course for clergy through the CCAR (Conference for American Rabbis) and leads meditation and mindfulness trainings in educational settings, synagogues, Jewish retreats, communal and social justice organizations and at the Jewish Meditation Center of Montclair, which she co-founded.

A psychotherapist for over 20 years, Beth maintains a private practice in Montclair, NJ where she integrates mindfulness based interventions and somatic experiencing in her work with adults, teens and families. Through her personal mindfulness practice and clinical work, Beth regularly witnesses the power of mindfulness to develop greater awareness, wisdom, compassion and resilience in the face of inevitable challenges we all encounter. Beth serves on the Steering Committee of the NY/NJ MBSR Collaborative

Former Faculty

Yael Shy is the Senior Director of Global Spiritual Life at New York University. She founded and directs MindfulNYU, the largest campus-wide mindfulness initiative in the country.

Emily Herzlin is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instructor, a Mind-Body Therapist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a teacher at The Interdependence Project, and founder of Mindful Astoria.

6:30 AM Prayer and Meditation
8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Meditation, Yoga, Processing Groups
12:30 PM Lunch (silent)
1:30 PM Talmud Torah
3:00 PM Free Time
4:15 PM Blessing Practice
5:00 PM Meditation + Q&A
6:00 PM Dinner (talking or silent)
7:00 PM Meditation Talk
7:45 PM Evening Program
9:15 PM Bedtime

The retreat requires no experience or knowledge of meditation, spirituality or Judaism and is open to those of every denomination and type of observance. The retreat is kosher and supportive of halakhic observance. Shabbat will be observed in public spaces.

Rates below are per person, and include all program fees, accommodations, and meals for the 6-day retreat.

$795 – double room
$1,595 – single room

SUBSIDIZED STUDENT RATE (limited slots available for full-time undergraduate and graduate students; first-come, first-served)
$399 – double room

To reserve your place, we require a $75 non-refundable deposit at the time of registration, which will be applied toward the full cost of the program.

The registration deadline has passed. All applicants will be placed on a waiting list, as registration is completely full. We encourage you still apply to get a spot on that list.

There are a limited number of needs-based scholarships available for those not receiving the highly subsidized student price.
Financial aid is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Note: The student price is already highly subsidized, and students may not apply for additional financial aid.

The retreat is housed at Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

For more information, see the Capital Retreat Center website.

Click here to apply. 

Contact with any questions or for more information. 

The registration deadline has passed. All applicants will be placed on a waiting list, as registration is completely full. We encourage you still apply to get a spot on that list.