Interested in engaging me to come to your community for a Shabbaton / scholar-in-residence weekend? Below are some of the subjects on which I am happy to teach. I’m also happy to explore leading or co-leading services, offering divrei Torah, and more.
If you’re interested in bringing two scholars-in-residence together, I frequently collaborate with Rabbi David Evan Markus, who also offers a variety of workshops, and with whom I am glad to co-lead Shabbat services, se’udah shlishit, havdalah, and more.
2020 note: in these covid-19 pandemic days, all of my teaching and davenen leadership happens over Zoom / FB Live / digital modalities. I’m happy to discuss options if you want to know more.
- Holy at Home: The covid-19 pandemic has scattered us from our shuls to our homes — another kind of diaspora. What does it mean to aspire to create holy space in our homes? How can we be “real” with the liturgy and with each other over the internet? What tools does our spiritual tradition offer for that work, and how can we translate the learnings of previous churban / disaster experiences to who and where we are now?
- Gratitude, Morning and Night: Jewish tradition offers us powerful tools for cultivating gratitude. We’ll explore morning and evening practices for spiritual transformation.
- A Deep Dive into the Psalms. Study and daven different kinds of psalms (praise, thanksgiving, lament, yearning) and then write your own. (The writing component is only for communities where writing on Shabbat is comfortable. If your community does not write on Shabbat, this can be adapted.)
- “My Cup Overflows:” Opening to Replenishment. This offering interweaves niggunim, simple gratitude practices, and poems aimed at opening heart and spirit to the flow of abundance.
- Eit Ratzon / A Time of Yearning. Certain times of day, week, and year are considered propitious times to connect with God. We’ll explore the idea of eit ratzon, a time of yearning or will; dive into texts about what God yearns to give to us; and enter into a contemplative practice aimed at unearthing what we yearn for. This offering works particularly well at se’udah shlishit time, as Shabbat wanes, as a prelude to havdalah — especially when paired with niggunim and poems from Texts to the Holy (Ben Yehuda 2018.)
- Midrashic Explorations. After we explore the meaning of midrash, and encounter some classical midrashim, choose a favorite (or least favorite) story from Tanakh and be guided through the process of writing midrash exploring that story. (Only for places where writing on Shabbat is appropriate.)
- Midrash and Media. Our textual ancestors responded to Torah through midrash (exegetical story), often in response to something that troubled them intellectually or spiritually. Today many of us immerse in pop culture texts, from episodic television to novels to the collected works of YouTube vloggers. What happens when we bring the tools of midrash to the pop culture canon, and how can we harness that practice to strengthen community and to fuel spiritual development?
- Journey through Torah in Poetry. We’ll re-experience significant moments from throughout the Torah through poetry from 70 faces (Phoenicia, 2011). Along the way we’ll talk about Torah, sacred text, authorship, holiness, and finding oneself in the text year after year.
- Death, Mourning and Transformation. Explore texts and practices both ancient and modern relating to death and mourning, and how the mourner’s journey can bring transformation.
- Jewish Time: Where We Are, Where We’re Going. Every moment in the year is part of the tapestry of Jewish time. Festivals like Passover and Sukkot don’t arise from nowhere; there’s a rhythm that links one to the next. We’ll look at where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re headed.
- Omer: Text and practice. We’ll discuss different ways of understanding the spiritual practice of Counting the Omer. We’ll enter deep into the Omer journey through engaging in a lectio divina practice with contemporary Omer poetry, and reflect on the journeys and lessons of each week of the count.
- The Poetry of Prayer. Explore the poetry of Jewish liturgy in different variations and translations. Which speaks most to / from your heart and soul? How does your experience of these prayers shift when you inhabit different kinds of words?
- Spirituality on the go. We’re all busy. Sometimes modern life asks us to make meaning, connection, and holiness in the time it takes to tweet. We’ll explore spiritual practices that we can take with us into our multitasking lives.