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All classed meet for four days, Tuesday through Friday


MORNING CLASSES      |     Jump down to Afternoon Classes

Wisdom of the Heart: From Age-ing to Sage-ing®
Rabbi Shaya Isenberg and Bahira Sugarman

Old Sins, New Blessings; Old Blessings, New Sins
Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Jewish Meditation as a Path to Realizing the Truth of Divine Immanence
Rabbi Jeff Roth

Connecting Heaven and Earth: Spirit and Soil, Farm and Fork
Oran Hesterman, Ph.D. and Lucinda Kurtz, M.A.

Awakening to the Earth’s Call
Rabbi Diane Elliot

Wisdom of the Heart: From Age-ing to Sage-ing®
—Rabbi Shaya Isenberg and Bahira Sugarman

This inspiring program for spiritual growth as Sages, offers initiation into the inner and outer transformations of consciousness that help us harvest the fruits of our spiritual eldering and to live joyfully on our holy, enlightening journey on this sacred planet. As sages we can transform the world as we transform ourselves.

Building on the groundbreaking conscious aging work of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z'l, this deeply ecumenical process offers transformative Sage-ing® Tools that are rooted in Jewish practices as well as the wisdom of other traditions and contemplative mind sciences. We human beings are the heart of the planet. And we can turn it all into blessings for truth and wholeness and peace. Integrating the wisdom of our life experience on this ever-changing planet, we learn from facing our mortality, we mature in our relationships, we develop a regenerative spirit and find ourselves with more embodied spiritual practice and drawn to take active leadership roles in our communities and society.

We invite you to join us in this intergenerational workshop as we offer presentations intertwined with journal writing exercises, study texts, share stories, chant, and experience interactive and individual meditations. And we'll learn how to integrate what appear as obstacles to our being clear channels for shefa, holy creative energy. That can be the biggest blessing of all!

This course may serve as a pre-requisite for the Sage-ing® Legacy Mentorship Training.

Bahira Sugarman and Rabbi Shaya IsenbergBahira Sugarman and Rabbi Shaya Isenberg are co-founders and co-directors of the The Sage-ing® Legacy Program and senior faculty emeriti of the Spiritual Eldering Institute where, at Reb Zalman’s z”l request, they designed and implemented its leadership training program. They have been leading life transforming Sage-ing® Workshops for three decades while teaching and living the couple relationship as a spiritual path for even more years.

Reb Shaya is past Chair of the Department of Religion, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida, where he taught courses in Jewish Mysticism, comparative spirituality and religion and science. Co-founder and past Co-director of UF’s Center for Spirituality and Health, Rabbi Emeritus and Co-leader with Bahira for Gainesville, Florida’s P’nai Or, he serves on the faculty of the ALEPH Ordinations and Spiritual Direction Programs. He has been initiated as a Traditional Reiki Master.

Bahira, in her 25th year as a Traditional Reiki Master, is ordained as a spiritual guide by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z'l and has been celebrated as an Eyshet Hazon (Woman of Vision) v’Rofet Neshamot (healer of souls) by the ALEPH International Community. She is retired as Co-leader of Gainesville P’nai Or and as a licensed clinical social worker and marriage and family therapist. Licensed as a Massage Therapist, she teaches Reiki and T’ai Chi Chuan and is renowned for her transpersonal and healing work. Both Rabbi Shaya and Reb Bahira have been celebrated as Pioneers by Sage-ing International and are members of Sage-ing International Council of Honored Sages.

Old Sins, New Blessings; Old Blessings, New Sins
—Rabbi Arthur Waskow

In shaping a Judaism for our own and future generations, we are turning some of what were biblical blessings or mitzvot, like the subordination of women, into sins; and turning old sins, like male-male sex, into blessings like same-sex marriage.

At the same time, one major aspect of Tanakh which was minimized in Rabbinic Judaism -- its wisdom as the spiritual experience of an indigenous people of shepherds and farmers close to the Earth -- has become newly crucial in our generation.

The course will address these two crucial issues – sexuality/ gender issues and Earth/human-earthling relationships -- and will pay special attention to biblical passages that themselves point toward a future version of Torah quite different from the over-all tenor of Tanakh. (For example, Song of Songs as a vision of a future of gender relationships utterly different from the Biblical norm.)

Rabbi Arthur WaskowRabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center, a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life for peace, eco-social justice, and healing of the Earth. Since 1995, The Shalom Center has focused most of its work on the climate crisis. It is the only national Jewish organization that treats the climate crisis as its highest priority. Beginning in 1969 with writing the original Freedom Seder and continuing with his seminal work as editor of New Menorah magazine and author of Godwrestling (1978) and Seasons of Our Joy (1982), he has been a leader of the movement for Jewish political and spiritual renewal. In 2014 Rabbi Waskow was honored by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights with their first Lifetime Achievement Award as a “Human Rights Hero.” In 2015 he was named by The Forward one of the “most inspiring” American rabbis. In addition to writing 24 books on US public policy, Jewish history, thought, and practice, and broader religious issues, Rabbi Waskow has been arrested about 26 times in protests against US racism, Soviet oppression of Jews, the US Wars against Vietnam and Iraq, US budgetary attacks on the poor , violence by the US government against refugees and their children, and inaction by the US government on the climate crisis.

Jewish Meditation as a Path to Realizing the Truth of Divine Immanence
—Rabbi Jeff Roth

The approach to the practice of Jewish meditation to be shared in this course can be seen as a practice of Devekut (the direct experience of non-separation from Divinity) where the truth of the way things are in the present moment of experience is met with loving attention. These moments of meaning can be revelatory as well as heart opening. This practice can help us align to the Divine nature of the universe (which I now call the Blossoming of Being). In this alignment a glimpse of the non-dual can be realized bringing with it less sense of separation between me and other. This has a powerful impact on the world because when we are aligned with the truth of interbeing we act accordingly i.e. with lovingkindness towards all Beings including the Earth Herself.

In this class we will combine didactic presentations with meditation instructions and silent practice. We will learn a variety of meditative techniques that foster a sense of connectedness. Individual session with Rabbi Roth outside of class will allow you to discuss how to personalize the practice to your particular life needs.

Rabbi Jeff RothRabbi Jeff Roth, D.Min., M.S.W. is the founder and Director of The Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism. He has led over 200 meditation retreats over the last 20 years. He was the co-founder of Elat Chayyim, the Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center, where he served as Executive Director and Spiritual Director for 13 years. He is the author of Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life and Me, Myself and God. He is currently on the faculty of the Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training program.He was ordained by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as well as by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Roth served for eight tears as the Executive Director of B’nai Or which became P’nai Or before its transformation into Aleph. He lives with his partner Rabbi Joanna Katz in the Hudson River Valley.

Connecting Heaven and Earth: Spirit and Soil, Farm and Fork 
—Oran Hesterman, Ph.D. and Lucinda Kurtz, M.A.

We're sorry, this class has been cancelled

In this dynamic, multi-day session, we will have opportunities to explore what food justice and sustainability means in the context of Jewish faith and practice. You will walk away with a deeper knowledge of and connection to solutions that are growing a more fair, equitable food system across the country.

We will explore our sacred connection to land and food and gain insights into how our spiritual paths can fuel efforts to transform our food system. Woven throughout will be connections between sacred and secular – how Jewish thought can inform our approach to these issues such as eco-kashrut and shmita.

Integrated into each session will be embodied practices that will help us both ground more deeply into Earth energy and connect us with our highest aspirations for a renewed relationship with food and land. Our learning will include area field trips to see work in action, and in our final session on Friday, we will have an opportunity for deep reflection and embodiment of our learning through baking challot for our Shabbat blessings.

Lucinda KurtzLucinda Kurtz, M.A. is a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner and Sage-ing® Mentor - Vatika - who focuses her practice and teachings on helping people achieve full manifestation of their potential. Her powerful energetic practices help embed our relationship with Spirit in our bodies, lifting us up to our highest connection to the One. As an Energy Healer, Lucinda combines hands-on energy healing and shamanic practices with kabbalistic spiritual understanding to create a unique healing modality to help each individual create a healthy and joyful life. In classes, Lucinda passes on the feminine transmission of Kabbalah she receives from Reb Nadya Gross through study at her Wisdom School. Lucinda uses this mystical path of deep relationship between self and the Divine as a powerful avenue to help students gain greater self- awareness and personal transformation. In her Pardes Hannah Renewal community in Ann Arbor, MI, she leads monthly Rosh Chodesh groups and yearly Omer journeys to help seekers open to revelation. Throughout her career as professor of Women’s Studies, advocate for Planned Parenthood, Vice- President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and Founding President of the international Global Hopemakers, her energy and passion for transformation has been unwavering.

Lucinda is married to Oran Hesterman, President of Fair Food Network; they are the delighted grandparents of 5 rambunctious grandchildren. As certified Sage-ing® Mentors, they lead classes nationally and internationally that help people discover their life’s wisdom and explore their soul’s journey.

Oran B. HestermanWith more than 35 years of experience as a scientist, farmer, philanthropist, businessman, educator, and passionate advocate, Oran B. Hesterman is a national leader in sustainable agriculture and food systems and a respected partner for policymakers, philanthropic leaders, and advocates nationwide. He currently serves as president and CEO of Fair Food Network, a national nonprofit working to grow health and wealth in our communities through food. Fair Food Network’s signature program, Double Up Food Bucks, has become a national model for healthy food incentives, and is now a featured program in the U.S. Farm Bill, signed by the President in December 2018. Before launching Fair Food Network, Hesterman led the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Food and Farming programs, during which time he seeded the local food movement with more than $200 million in grants and investments. Oran is committed to weaving together his professional work in sustainable food systems and his dedication to caring for others and the earth in keeping with the traditions and ethics of justice rooted in his Jewish heritage. He is author of the book - Fair Food: Growing a Healthy Sustainable Food System for All. He is also a certified Sage-ing Mentor and leads workshops with his wife Lucinda Kurtz, that help people discover their inner elder while gaining new perspectives on what it means to grow older in today’s culture. Hesterman is a native of Berkeley, California. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California – Davis. He completed his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in agronomy, plant genetics, and businesses administration. He lives with his wife Lucinda Kurtz in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he still gets his hands dirty in his garden and at the potter’s wheel.

Awakening to the Earth’s Call
—Rabbi Diane Elliot

Our ancient sacred texts attest to our ancestors’ exquisite attunement to the beauty and awesomeness—the Divinity—of the natural world. Can we moderns re-member ourselves, not simply as witnesses or observers of the world, but as participants, fully engaged in this grand, unfolding dance of Creation? How can we reawaken our senses to receive the messages of Love and Truth inherent in earth and sky, sun and water, plants, animals, and our own embodied selves? In this experiential class, we’ll prepare ourselves through song, text, and guided movement to venture forth each day into the outdoors, to commune with the elements and to receive their sacred wisdom. We’ll then return to indoor space to harvest our insights through dance, song, writing, and drawing. Please wear loose comfortable layers for moving indoors and out. Also bring flexible shoes, socks, a water bottle and, if you wish, personal journaling or art materials. Supplies will be provided, no prior experience is necessary, and all are welcome!

Rabbi Diane ElliotRabbi Diane Elliot, is a spiritual teacher, ritual leader, dancer, writer, somatic therapist, and spiritual director based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She inspires her students to become clearer channels for Presence through awareness and movement practices, chant, and nuanced interpretations of Jewish sacred text. Diane directs ALEPH’s Embodying Spirit, En-spiriting Body Jewish leadership trainings and is a steward of the Taproot Gathering, a multi-generational community of Jewish artists, activists, and changemakers. She has been a delighted member of the Ruach Ha’Aretz faculty since 2000. To learn more about her work, visit


AFTERNOON CLASSES      |     Jump up to Morning Classes

An Exploration of Joy
—Rabbi Shefa Gold

Sacred Elder Activism
—Lynne Iser, MPH

‘Growing Down’: Re-rooting Our Stories in the World
—Marvin Lee Anderson, Ph.D.

Organizing for Justice and Community
—Maggid Amitai Gross

Exploring Our Relationship(s) with the Earth through the Lens of Various Spiritual Traditions
—Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Fagan and Rev. Stacy Grove

An Exploration of Joy
—Rabbi Shefa Gold

In the meeting of Love and Truth, a spark of Joy is kindled.

Rabbi Shefa Gold

“Whatever life gives to you,” Brother Steindl-Rast explains, “you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment.”

At this moment, Life is offering an opportunity for us all to step up to the challenges of suffering. The spark of Joy can guide us.

In this class of experience, learning and celebration we will explore and embody the many flavors of Joy- gila, rina, sason, simcha, aliz, oneg, noam, ditza,chedva, asher that are expressed in our sacred texts. We will learn the practices of rejoicing and enjoyment that can lift us into the widest perspective.

Rabbi Shefa Gold is a leader in Aleph: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal and received her ordination both from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. She is the director of C-DEEP  The Center for Devotional, Energy and Ecstatic Practice in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Shefa composes and performs spiritual music, has produced ten albums, and her liturgies have been published in several new prayer-books. She teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community Building, Meditation, and trains Chant Leaders in Kol Zimra, a two year program for rabbis, cantors and lay leaders. She is a resource faculty for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and a fellow for CLAL’s Rabbis without Borders. She was recently named “One of the 33 most Inspiring Rabbis in America,” by the Jewish Forward. Her new project is called SOULIFT, a one week immersion in spiritual practice designed to lift us into the Soul perspective. Shefa combines her grounding in Judaism with a background in Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, and Native American spiritual traditions to make her uniquely qualified as a spiritual bridge celebrating the shared path of devotion. She is the author of Torah Journeys: The Inner Path to the Promised Land, and In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songsand Are We There Yet? Travel as a Spiritual Practice, published by Ben Yehuda Press, and The Magic of Hebrew Chant: Healing the Spirit, Transforming the Mind, Deepening Love published by Jewish Lights.

For information about how to order CD’s and about Shefa’s teaching schedule, visit her website:

Sacred Elder Activism Sadly this class is cancelled
—Lynne Iser, MPH will join us on Shabbat and lead our Saturday evening program

As we enter the last third of our lives we might experience what Reb Zalman identified as the "completing instinct" or Thanatos – our inner urge to create our legacies and serve as wisdom-keepers for future generations. Given the complexity of our contemporary world this is not an easy task. It is even more challenging because we lack an understanding of the role that elders fulfill in a well functioning society; and the gifts of reciprocity that are waiting to blossom in the interactions between elders and "youngers."

In traditional cultures it was the responsibility of an elder to speak for the "welfare of all" and the seventh generations – but those traditional roles have been mostly lost. So, in this workshop we will use the synergetic teachings of Reb Zalman and of Joanna Macy to explore how we can use our sacred gifts -- our generativity, our inner urging to transmit our life experience, our wisdom and balance -- to create a thriving future as our legacy for all life, all children.

Lynne Iser, MPHLynne Iser, MPH, became an “elder activist” motivated by her love for her children and the beauty of our world. She was the founding Director of the Spiritual Eldering Institute, where she learned about conscious aging or “sage-ing” in her work with Reb Zalman. She now teaches in the Sage-ing® Legacy Program, and offers her own workshop series “Becoming Vibrant Elders in Our Evolving World” – using the teachings of Joanna Macy. She founded her website,, to inspire, educate and support others -- primarily on issues concerning climate change and social justice. In addition to teaching she works with the Elders Action Network, where she is building a movement of elders addressing the social and environmental challenges we all face. She lives in Philadelphia, with her partner Mordechai Liebling. Together they have five children and a brand new granddaughter.

‘Growing Down’: Re-rooting Our Stories in the World
—Marvin Lee Anderson, Ph.D.

In this dark moment shadowed by daily news of escalating violence and hate crimes as well as the catastrophic effects of climate change and species extinction, what are we to do? How do we ‘pray the news’?

… By ‘growing down.’

This class title, borrowed from the late Jungian analyst James Hillman (The Soul’s Code), draws on a Kabbalistic teaching that our souls are divinely sent from heaven to deal with the messiness of human affairs on Earth. Instead of ‘growing up,’ all of us as spiritual beings are being called by Earth to love and truth by ‘growing down’ and tending to (Tikkun) the formidable challenges we face here and now.

Drawing from the treasure trove of mystical wisdom in all three Abrahamic faiths, we will use a range of modalities, i.e., dramatic readings and recitations of poetry and holy texts, group exercises and rituals, for engaging the whole person. Our goal … to reclaim the magical and moral capacity for reveling in the beauty and grandeur of Creation—which motivates us in repairing and healing the more-than-human world on which we all depend. It is this capacity for wonder, joy and awe that re-stories our personal and ancestral roots in the world and re-stores our ‘sense of place.’

Marvin Lee Anderson

Marvin Lee Andersonis a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies in Toronto,researching the influence of late medieval German mysticism on the (Protestant) Radical Reformation. He holds his Ph.D. in Theology from University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology. In addition to teaching and scholarly research on the history of Christian mysticism, Dr. Anderson also works as an international consultant on rural and small town congregational ministry in tandem with spiritual formation and leadership development for lay and ordained ministers. His web site is:

He lives with his family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Organizing for Justice and Community Sadly this class is cancelled - Yerusha will offer the class online later this year
—Maggid Amitai Gross

In the beginning the mission of the synagogue was to be a place of communal gathering, thoughtful discourse and collective action – indeed the center of Jewish life. Today, both anecdotal and statistical evidence points to dwindling participation, especially among those under 40. What is missing? This course asserts that the synagogue and other religious organizations, have become institutions of habit; a status-quo of agreeability. Having stayed the hunger for justice and fervor of our prophetic ancestors, they lack a unifying mission.

As societies have in the past, we must adapt and completely reinvent our gathering models, or risk losing any unifying sense of community. We must rediscover why we as human beings seek community in the first place, and how that is both born of and leads to collective organizing.

This course will explore the powerfully unifying force of a shared mission, a common struggle for justice and equity, and the necessity of equal discourse (especially disagreement!) for communal survival. We will learn from young community organizers, spiritual leaders, and scholars from varying traditions and explore how we can create and recreate the communities we wish to be a part of. The class will be practically focused, making it ideal for current or aspiring community leaders seeking a set of tools to take home with them to begin organizing immediately.

Maggid Amitai GrossMaggid Amitai Gross is a strategic development consultant, organizational efficiency nerd, creative solutions expert, and passionate advocate for justice-oriented business models. He was ordained by Rebbe Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (?????) as Maggid u’Baal Sippurim (Preacher and Master of Stories), received his BA in Music Composition and Conflict Resolution from Bennington College, his MA in Conflict Resolution from Brandeis University, conducted additional graduate work in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis and International Negotiation with Harvard University's Project on Negotiation, and is professionally trained as a Mediator, Dialogue Facilitator, and Public Narratives Coach. Amitai is also a writer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, storyteller, and will read every comic book he can get his hands on.

Exploring Our Relationship(s) with the Earth through the Lens of Various Spiritual Traditions
—Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit Fagan and Rev. Stacy Grove

We will examine how major spiritual traditions understand our relationship with the earth through text, art, ritual, chant and movement. Small group and larger group discussions will help us discern our personal relationship to each other, the ground of our being, and the earth.

Sharing the ethical imperative of loving our neighbors as ourselves will deepen our understanding of how we relate to Mother Earth. Join us for a joyful, experiential and informative exploration.

Rabbinic Pastor Shulamit FaganRabbinic Pastor/Chaplain Kate Shulamit Fagan is a dynamic teacher, vibrant storyteller, a mother, and a grandmother. She teaches nationally and locally on pastoral counseling, decisions at the end of life, ethical wills, the art of compassionate listening, and sacred story telling. She is well known for her creative Jewish life cycle celebrations. Shulamit received smicha (ordination) from ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2001. She is the founding and current director of the ALEPH Rabbinic Pastor program, serves on the governing body of the ALEPH Ordination Programs, as well as the faculty of the ALEPH Hashpa’ah program. She is also a founder of The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute.
You can find more about Shulamit at

Rev. Stacy GroveRev. Stacy L Grove, M. Div. is a Jewish Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Director with experience in chaplaincy, hospice, palliative and disaster spiritual care. She serves as Pastoral Care Minister for Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, NC. Stacy’s ordination was updated in Jan. 2019 when ALEPH recognized her as Ba’alat Chochmah, Wisdom Keeper. She is committed to serving persons seeking wholeness through deep inter-spiritual experience. She weaves together her passion for vibrational healing, earth-based indigenous wisdom practices, and experiential education in the natural world to offer workshops, ceremonies, and retreats that support life transitions and interfaith stewardship of the planet. She facilitates Sage-ing® wisdom circles, sound healing programs, and life cycle events. As caretaker of a 200-year-old Czech Torah, Stacy offers educational programs about its history with others rescued during WW2. More information at

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