Taking the Jew out of “Bu:” Is Meditation Jewish?
Monday, April 28 at 7PM Tickets $10 in advance.
Hosted by: Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Contemplative practices are experiencing a resurgence in the Jewish community, largely owing to contact with the East. It seems this was meant to happen. But why? And, why now? This panel, the first of its kind in Los Angeles, brings together two national experts and three, local rabbis for a frank and open discussion. Topics include: Is there such a thing as an indigenous ‘Jewish’ meditation? How might this differ from other practices? Why did it take spiritual technology from the East to (re-)awaken us? And, finally: How can we cultivate Jewish meditation in our community?
Moderated by: Rabbi Andrew Hahn, Ph.D. with: Dr. Jay Michaelson, Alison Laichter, Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi, Rabbi Jill Zimmerman, Rabbi Mike Comins
Moderator, Rabbi Andrew Hahn (Reb Drew) combines a variety of tools to introduce Jewish Wisdom to an increasingly global, religious village.
He holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) and received rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform). He has also studied at the feet of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement. Dubbed “a Shlomo Carlebach for the twenty-first century,” he weaves traditional Jewish liturgy and musical modes into the increasingly popular call-and-response chant technology from India, known as Kirtan.
Dr. Jay Michaelson is the author of five books, including Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment (North Atlantic, 2013) and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala, 2009). He has been included on the Forward 50 list of influential American Jews and The Advocate’s list of leading LGBT religious leaders. Dr. Michaelson holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a B.A. from Columbia, as well as nondenominational rabbinic ordination. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at Brown University. Jay’s contemplative journey includes twenty years as a student and teacher of Kabbalah and twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term retreats in the United States and Nepal.
Rabbi Laura Geller is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills and the first woman to be selected to lead a major metropolitan synagogue. Prior to coming to Temple Emanuel, she was the Hillel director at the University of Southern California. She was the founding Chair of the Beverly Hills Human Relations Commission and is a Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. She serves on the Board of Brown University, her alma mater. Rabbi Geller has received many honors, including the ACLU of Southern California Award for Fostering Racial and Cultural Harmony, and the Woman of the Year Award from the California State Legislature. She was featured on the PBS documentary The Jewish Americans, and was recently named one of “America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis” by the Newsweek. Rabbi Geller was ordained by the Hebrew Union College in 1976. She was the third woman in the Reform Movement to become a rabbi.
Alison Laichter is an urban planner, community organizer, meditation teacher, and former Brooklynite. She now works for JDC, the largest Jewish humanitarian assistance organization in the world, and manages and develops JDC Entwine's Learning Networks on the west coast.
Before joining JDC Entwine, she founded and directed the Jewish Meditation Center (JMC) in NYC. She is a recipient of the Joshua Venture Group Dual Investment Program, a two-year, $100k fellowship for Jewish social entrepreneurs and was named one of the 2010 Jewish Week’s “36 Under 36: Visionaries for a New Era.” Alison studied civil engineering at The Cooper Union and urban planning at Columbia University. Alison has been meditating since she was 15, including extensively in the Himalayan, Santa Cruz, and San Miguel mountains. As the founding director of the JMC, Alison created the first ever grassroots and community-led Jewish Meditation Center. She is an international leader of Jewish spiritual practice who teaches that Jewish meditation can be "more hip than hippie" and believes that truly sustainable tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of repairing the world, happens from the inside out.
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman is a community rabbi living and teaching Jewish spirituality, meditation and mindfulness. She is the founder and executive director of the Jewish Mindfulness Network (JMN.) She was ordained in 2009 from Hebrew Union College and is a graduate of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s Rabbi’s Cohort mindfulness program as well as a certified Jewish Mindfulness instructor.
Rabbi Mike Comins teaches The Making Prayer Real Course and directs the TorahTrek Center for Jewish Wilderness Spirituality. He is author of Making Prayer Real: Leading Jewish Spiritual Voices on Why Prayer is Difficult and What to Do about It and A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism (Jewish Lights Publishing). A yeshiva-trained, Israeli-ordained Reform Rabbi and a licensed Israeli desert guide, he holds an M.A. in Jewish Education (Hebrew University) with an emphasis in contemporary philosophy. He brings the fruits of a spiritual journey that include extensive training in meditation, Hebrew chant, qigong and spiritual practice in the natural world.