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the well

Adult Education at Romemu Spring 2014/5774

The Rabbis taught: “Water stands for Torah, as it is said, ‘O, all who are thirsty, come for water.’” —Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kama 82a

To all our present and future lifelong learners, B’ruchim Ha-baim. Welcome to The Well, Romemu’s Lifelong Learning program. The Well offers dynamic pathways to Jewish wisdom and sacred text, connecting participants with their own spiritual legacy. Our doors are open to everyone — to Romemu members, and the wider community — who seek to drink from the nourishing waters of Jewish tradition. Our classes foster deep appreciation for the historical richness and contemporary value of Jewish thought, a tradition that integrates mind, body, spirit and serves as a guide for living deeply with holiness in community. Regardless of your Jewish education or religious background, we invite you to add your voice to this ancient sacred conversation. So join us and quench your thirst. Choose one or more of our study opportunities and deepen your encounter with Jewish tradition. We hope it is at once completely satisfying and yet leaves you wanting more. Find the offering that is right for you. Take a sip, a nice long drink, or take the plunge! With blessings ‫ בברכה‬biv’rachah,

Dianne Cohler-Esses Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses Director of Lifelong Learning Kehilat Romemu

Offerings are divided into three parts: 1. Test the Waters — opportunities for drop-in classes 2. Drink Up — semester-long courses requiring registration 3. Take the Plunge — programs requiring a commitment of a year or more

‫יָמים ָבּ ִאים‬ ִ ‫ִהנֵּ ה‬ ‫נְ ֻאם ֲאד ֹנָ י ַײ‬ ‫וְ ִה ְ שׁ ַל ְח ִתּי ָר ָעב ָבּ ָא ֶרץ‬ ‫ר ָעב ַל ֶלּ ֶחם‬-‫א‬ ָ ֹ‫ל‬ ‫צ ָמא ַל ַמּיִם‬-‫א‬ ָ ֹ ‫וְ ל‬ ‫ל ְ שׁמ ַֹע‬-‫ם‬ ִ ‫ִכּי ִא‬ ‫ֵאת ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַײ‬ ‫ברוכים הבאים‬

Behold, the days are coming, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land — not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water — but for hearing the words of God. —Amos 8:11

‫אוֹתהּ ֲאב‬ ָ ‫ײ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ַא ַחת ָשׁ ַא ְל ִתּי ֵמ ֵא‬ ‫יְמי ַחיַּ י‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ײ ָכּ‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ִשׁ ְב ִתּי ְבּ ֵב‬ ‫יכלוֹ‬ ָ ‫וּל ַב ֵקּר ְבּ ֵה‬ ְ ‫ײ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ַל ֲחזוֹת ְבּנ ַֹע‬ photo: Patrick Lewis

Test the Waters: the following ongoing classes are open to all. FIRST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH

Living Deeply with a Sacred Text with Nili Weissman 6-8pm Location information will be sent to you upon registration. Come be part of a year-long sacred journey exploring your own personal pasuk (verse of Torah). In this experiential class, we will develop skills to learn how our psukim speak to us in our day-to-day world. Once a month, we create a sacred circle to listen to the deep Torah teachings gleaned from our personal journey. Honoring the mystic in each of us, we will create the safety to travel deeply in our lives and to teach each other from our own discoveries. Members: Free Non-members: $15 suggested donation One-time materials fee of $5 for everyone, payable upon arrival.


Kabbalah Café with Rabbi David Ingber Through June 16, 2013, 7–8:30pm Location information will be sent to you upon registration. Join us as we explore the mysteries of the Kabbalah, focusing on the wisdom of the Jewish mystical tradition and its application to our daily lives. Sessions are topical, drawing from the tradition of the Sefer Yetzirah, the Zohar, and Lurianic Kabbalah. Offered in an intimate setting, the class begins with a meditation and commences with prayer. ALL levels are welcome. Members: Free Non-members: Suggested contribution $10 per session

Image: Montpellier Mikvah — a medieval ceremonial Jewish bath dating from the 13th C.


A Stranger No More with Eleanor Harrison Bregman In recognition of the diversity of the Romemu community and as part of Romemu’s continuing commitment to “widening the tent,” this year we will offer a series of events for interfaith families, couples, and for those who do not identify as Jewish. These sessions, primarily led by Rev. Eleanor Harrison Bregman, will provide a non-judgmental space to explore and discuss the experiences, events, fears, frustrations, joys, and successes of interfaith family life and/or of being a “nonJew” who is part of this Jewish community. She can be contacted at for questions you may have and to hear what other topics you might want to explore this year. This program is underwritten by a generous grant from UJA-Federation of NY. Visit for details on dates and times. SHABBAT

The Open Book with Romemu’s clergy & guest teachers Downstairs, West End Presbyterian Church, 165 W. 105th St., 9-10am Prepare yourself for soulful prayer by dipping into sacred text study before services begin. Participants will study the parsha of the week, with commentary, poetry, Hasidic wisdom and more. Prepare for a deeper, more resonant Torah service. These classes are free and open to everyone. Shabbat and Holiday Lunch & Learns Please check your weekly emails, or the Romemu website, to learn about monthly Lunch-and-learn program after services. If you’d like to sponsor a kiddush or a speaker at Romemu in memory of a loved one, or in honor of a celebration or a person, please email

‫וְ ִה ְ שׁ ַל ְח ִתּי ָר ָעב ָבּ ָא ֶרץ‬ Shivti: Shabbat Meditation ‫ר ָעב ַל ֶלּ ֶחם‬-‫א‬ ָ ֹ‫ל‬ with Larry Schwartz and guest teachers ‫יִם‬for‫ ַמּ‬the ‫א ַל‬start ‫צ ָמ‬-‫א‬ ָ dateֹ ‫וְ ל‬ Ansche Chesed 251 W. 100th, check ‫ל ְ שׁמ ַֹע‬-‫ם‬ ִ ‫ִכּי ִא‬ 4:00 p.m. with yoga 2:30 p.m. without yoga (check the for details) ‫ֵאת ִדּ ְב ֵרי ַײ‬ Co-sponsored with Congregation Ansche Chesed

“One thing I ask from YHVH, this only do I seek: that I may sit in the house of the YHVH all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the YHVH and to meditate in his temple.” —Psalms 27:4

‫ברוכים הבאים‬

‫אוֹתהּ ֲא ַב ֵקּ שׁ‬ ָ ‫ײ‬-‫ת‬ ַ ‫ַא ַחת ָשׁ ַא ְל ִתּי ֵמ ֵא‬ ‫יְמי ַחיַּ י‬-‫ל‬ ֵ ‫ײ ָכּ‬-‫ית‬ ַ ‫ִשׁ ְב ִתּי ְבּ ֵב‬ ‫יכלוֹ‬ ָ ‫וּל ַב ֵקּר ְבּ ֵה‬ ְ ‫ײ‬-‫ם‬ ַ ‫ַל ֲחזוֹת ְבּנ ַֹע‬ Shabbat, the day of rest, is an ideal time to bask in the stillness of meditation with Shivti, Romemu’s Shabbat afternoon meditation program. Shivti — the Hebrew word means to sit (in God’s temple) — returns in January with a new partner, Congregation Ansche Chesed. Come learn how to practice different types of meditation — focusing on the breath, loving-kindness, open awareness — in a Jewish context. Class consists of two, 20-minute “sits” which are framed through the Torah portion of the week or lifecycle event on the Jewish calendar. Free and open to all

Shivti: Shabbat Yoga with Shelley Levine and guest teachers Bi-monthly at Ansche Chesed, 251 West 100th, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Shabbat afternoon is the perfect time to restore your body and soul through guided movement, chanting and pranayama (breathing practices). This gentle yoga also serves as a preparation for the meditation that follows at 4 p.m. Geared to beginners and advanced students wanting an embodied Shabbat experience. Free and open to all.

Drink Up semester-long courses requiring registration SUNDAYS

Aleph: An Introduction to Reading and Understanding Hebrew with Jeremy Rosenshine Starting January 12th, ten sessions, every other Sunday, 11am–12pm Keeping up with services in transliteration/translation can feel like there’s a veil between you and the words of the prayer book. For those of you who never before had the opportunity to learn to recognize and read Hebrew letters, now’s your chance. Come and study Hebrew with a native Israeli, Romemu member Jeremy Rosenshine. Lift the veil. Let knowledge of the Hebrew letters help you enter more deeply into the sacred garden of Jewish prayer. Members: Free Non-members: Suggested contribution of $10 a session

Keys to the Palace: Learning Siddur Hebrew with Jory Stillman Starting January 12th, Eight sessions every other Sunday, 12:30-2pm For those who have basic decoding skills, but lack fluency, and want to deepen their understanding of prayer — this course is for you. Did you learn reading rudiments in Hebrew school, but missed out on the meaning of the words? Come, practice your reading and more fully enter the sacred world of Hebrew prayer. Members: $180 Non-Members: $225

Both Aleph and Keys To the Palace take place at Romemu HQ: 43 Central Park North, Suite 1a, New York, NY 10026


Faces of Shekhinah: Meeting the Divine Feminine in Jewish Texts with Rabbi Jill Hammer Starting January 27th, eight Mondays, 7-8:30pm Devotion to the archetypal Divine Mother (“Wise Woman,” “Bride,” “Queen”) has always been a part of Jewish practice. This course, open to all genders, offers an in-depth exploration of the enormous variety of Divine female imagery in the Torah, rabbinic literature, Jewish mystical text, and contemporary liturgy. Participants are invited to discuss and meditate on the meaning of these images, discovering their inherent potential for healing and transformation. Members: $144 Non-Members: $180


Parsha Jam: Spread a Little Torah on your Week with Rabbi David Ingber New semester begins January 6, 2014, 7:30–9pm Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Lainer, also known as the Ishbitzer Rebbe, was known for his radical approach to Torah and to the human-Divine relationship. His doctrines about the nature of reality were deemed heretical and slightly dangerous by some who read his works. Using his teaching as a lens, this course mines the weekly Torah portion for timeless gems of wisdom that can enrich our daily lives. All texts will be translated and explained. Bring an open heart and an open mind. Spring Semester only: Members: $90 Non-Members: $180

Location information for these classes is sent upon registration.


Siddur Skills: Opening the Worlds of Hebrew Prayer A Three-Part Series with Shir Yaakov Feit January 23rd, January 30th and February 6th, 7-9pm Jewish tradition asks us to engage — more than any other practice — in the mysterious, challenging and bewildering depths of prayer. But what does it even mean to pray? What are we really saying? To whom are we praying and why? Explore the texts, tropes and tangles of the prayer book in a deeply engaged conversation with fellow travellers. This course includes lecture, chevruta (partnered text study), creative exercises, meditation, song and surprise. Members: $48 Non-members: $60

Soul Awakening: A Wisdom Workshop with Shelly Fredman April 24–May 29, 2014, 7:30-9pm Join us as we explore spiritual truths as expressed in Biblical and other sources, including the writings of Rebbe Nachman, Rilke, Rumi, Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich and Virginia Woolf. We will practice an innovative technique of “writing into text,” revealing the wisdom of the masters, as well as the submerged treasure of our inner worlds. Suggested contribution: $15 per session

Photo © Francesca Scala,

Call (212) 580-4294 or register online at

Consider taking the plunge.... Think ahead. Might one of these programs be in your future? Both In the Beginning and Passing the Bar are currently fully subscribed. To add your name to the waiting list for our next cohort, visit or contact Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses at

In the Beginning: An Introduction to Judaism with Samuel Klein Everyone is welcome at Romemu. But in order for each one of us to participate “with all one’s heart, all one’s soul and all one’s might” it helps to understand the ins and outs of Jewish life—such as why do Jews believe in one God, eat unleavened bread on Passover and sit in flimsy huts during Sukkot? We invite you to a year-long course of study that provides a map to Jewish life, practice, theology and wisdom. At the same time it will offer participants an opportunity for deep personal spiritual exploration and understanding—mapping one’s own psyche onto collective Jewish history and life. This course is part of Romemu’s conversion process.

Passing the Bar: A Rite of Passage Program for Adults with Samuel Klein and Jessica Kate Meyer Typically becoming a bar/bat mitzvah is celebrated when a girl turns twelve or a boy turns thirteen. But committing to a Jewish life can be affirmed and celebrated at any point after that, often with the deepened understanding and appreciation that comes with time. Our first cohort of adults has entered an intensive two-year program of study and reflection culminating in special celebrations at Romemu in the spring of 2015. The program includes two courses each semester (on Monday nights), special workshops before each holiday, spiritual check-ins, writing one’s spiritual autobiography, reading guides, urban retreats and more.

FACULTY @ The Well

Rabbi David Ingber (Parsha Jam, Kabbalah Café, The Open Book) Rabbi David Ingber is the founder and spiritual director of Romemu. Twice named by Newsweek as one of America’s 50 most influential rabbis and recently by The Forward as one of the 50 most newsworthy and notable Jews in America, Rabbi Ingber promotes a renewed Jewish mysticism that integrates meditative mindfulness and physical awareness into mainstream, post-modern Judaism. A major 21st Century Jewish thinker and educator, his rich perspective, open heart and mind, and full-bodied approach to Jewish learning has brought him to speak throughout the United States and worldwide throughout Canada, Europe and Israel. Rabbi David’s distinct approach to Torah, rabbinical teaching, and ritualistic practice is informed by his own personal seeking and learning from a wide cross-section of sacred traditions and faiths. Rabbi Ingber has taught at such eminent institutions as the Academy for Jewish Religion, Columbia University, CUNY, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York University, the 92nd Street Y, Pardes, and Yeshivat Hadar. Raised Modern Orthodox in New York, Rabbi David studied at several distinguished yeshivot. He also studied philosophy, psychology and religion at New York University. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of Renewal Judaism, ordained Rabbi Ingber in 2004.

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses (The Open Book) Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses is the director of Lifelong Learning at Romemu. She grew up in a tightly-knit traditional community of Syrian Jews in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where women typically marry at the age of 18 or 19. Instead of following that path, she left her community and went to study philosophy and religion at NYU. In 1995, Rabbi Dianne graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary, becoming the first woman from her community to be ordained as a rabbi. Since then, she has been an educator and administrator for multiple pluralist institutions including CLAL, the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, The Curriculum Initiative The Steinhardt Foundation and UJA Federation. She is the author of numerous articles on a wide variety of Jewish topics. In 2007, she was named one of the top 50 rabbis by the Washington Post online.

Jessica Kate Meyer

(Passing the Bar, The Open Book)

Jessica Kate Meyer, Romemu’s rabbinic fellow and co-music director, is a fifth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College and an interpreter of sacred music. She has performed as vocalist/storyteller/fiddler in a klezmer band with Hankus Netsky, developed intergenerational education programs and services for Temple Beth Zion (TBZ) in Brookline, and served as Jewish music specialist for Boston area synagogues. She recently returned to the United States from two years in Jerusalem, where she directed leadership programs for the non-profit organization Encounter, and studied and performed sacred Jewish music. After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies, Jessica pursued graduate theater training in London, and appeared in many film, theater, and television projects in Europe and the United States: most notably, in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist.

Shir Yaakov Feit (Siddur Skills) Shir Yaakov is a teacher, singer, composer, designer, producer, and Aba (Dad). He serves both Romemu and ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal as Creative Director and is well known as a stage artist and liturgist performing with The Epichorus and Darshan. Working in both Jewish and multi-faith contexts, Shir Yaakov weaves a tapestry of Kabbalistic wisdom, contemporary songwriting and deep personal spirituality to offer a spiritual cultural Judaism that is contemporary, alive, and innovative. He has recorded and released four albums of original music.

Shelly Fredman (Soul Awakening) Shelly teaches writing at Barnard College and a creative approach to encountering text, The Writer’s Beit Midrash, at the Skirball Center. Her writing has appeared in Best Jewish Writing, The Huffington Post, The Forward, and others. She has been a student/teacher of spiritual traditions for 30 years, and is particularly interested in the truths that are revealed when texts engage with our lives.

Rabbi Jill Hammer, PhD (Faces of the Shekhina) Rabbi Jill is the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion ( and the co-founder of the Kohenet Institute, a program in Jewish women’s spiritual leadership ( Rabbi Hammer is a midrashist, a ritualist, and the author of five books: Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women (Jewish Publication Society, 2001), The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons (Jewish Publication Society, 2006), The Omer Calendar of Biblical Women (Kohenet Institute, 2012), The Hebrew Priestess: Ancient and New Visions of Jewish Women’s Spiritual Leadership (Ben Yehuda Press, forthcoming 2014), and a children’s book called The Garden of Time (Skinner House, forthcoming 2014).

Eleanor Harrison Bregman (A Stranger No More) Eleanor Harrison Bregman is an ordained minister serving as a Protestant chaplain at Jewish Home Lifecare, a nursing facility in New York City. She has led women’s retreats and multi-faith retreats in Georgia, North Carolina and New York as well as an on-going discussion series for Christian parents raising Jewish children. Since 1997 she has participated in a bi-weekly study group focusing on the Talmud and Torah. She has been published in the Journal of Reform Rabbis: “New York Chutzpah meets Southern Hospitality: Navigating Interfaith Marriage.”

Samuel Klein (In the Beginning, Passing The Bar, The Open Book) Sam is currently pursuing a passion for learning as a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Prior to his move to New York, he served as secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Muslim-Jewish Relations at the British House of Lords and as executive director of the Coexistence Trust, a think-tank and NGO providing consultation and training in the areas of campus leadership, inter-communal dialogue and organizational change. A relation of Reb Shlomo Carlebach z’l, Samuel was the founder of the independent grassroots minyan Lev Simchah in the UK and past community director of the Saatchi Shul in London. Samuel holds MA degrees in Theology and Religious Studies (Cambridge University) and History of Art (University College, London) and graduate certificates in Psychotherapy & Counseling Psychology and Conflict Resolution & Mediation.

Shelley Levine (Shivti Yoga) A yoga practitioner for 15 years, Shelley is a graduate of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training, and has completed over 700 hours of teacher training in vinyasa flow and Viniyoga. Shelly infuses her teachings with Jewish wisdom through the ages, resulting in an embodied Jewish experience. Shelley teaches therapeutic yoga to those with chronic pain, sexual assault and other trauma, in the tri-state region and in Israel.

Jeremy Rosenshine (Aleph) Jeremy grew up in Israel, where he lived most of his life. His experience teaching goes back to his days training soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, and later, teaching Hebrew school. Jeremy is an Israeli-trained attorney and has extensive experience as a Hebrew-English translator.

Larry Schwartz (Shivti Meditation) Larry has been meditating for over 20 years. He has completed the Jewish Mindful Teacher Training Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, where he is now serving as president, and the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Larry co-founded the Jewish Meditation Center of Montclair, NJ, and teaches mindfulness at the Beit Rabban elementary school on the Upper West Side.

Jory Stillman (Keys to the Palace) Jory has an MA in Jewish Education from Hebrew University. Since completing the Pardes Educator’s Program in Jerusalem, she has taught Judaic studies and Hebrew immersion at Jewish days schools in Baltimore and New Jersey, most recently at the Moriah School of Englewood. Currently, Jory is the webinar facilitator for Hidden Sparks Without Walls, a nonprofit organization that supports diverse learners in Jewish day schools. In addition, Jory is the founder and Director of Shalom Kids Yoga and Room to Breathe Yoga, providing services to children and families and professional development workshops, including Smartboard utilization, for teachers.

Nili Weissman (Living Deeply with Sacred Text) “Living Deeply” describes the passion and lens Nili brings to every aspect of her life. Her love for the mystical, ecstatic experience was planted as a child and she soon came to love and honor the divine healing energies in the natural world. Having studied with shamans, rabbis, and healers in all walks of life, Nili has a gift for creating openhearted, sacred space where people feel comfortable sharing the vulnerable journey of healing the heart. She is a painter, a member of the Artists’ Beit Midrash at the Skirlball Center, a weaver who spins her own wool, and a healing arts practitioner.

Call (212) 580-4294 or register online at

Adult Education Committee Kim Schneiderman, Chair Ronnie Scharfman Arthur Fried Hali Weiss Front and back cover: “At The Well� Martiros Saryan, Completion Date: 1908 Layout and design Shir Yaakov Feit

Romemu Adult Education Brochure 2013  

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