Thursday, July 26, 2007


The World Union's Anita Saltz International Education Center recently held a 10-day Summer Institute on Prayer and Spirituality in conjunction with Kol HaNeshama, a congregation in Jerusalem affiliated with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. The congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, a recognized authority on Jewish spirituality, led many of the sessions.
The participants explored prayer, its origin, melodies and tradition through experiential and traditional learning. The focus of the seminar was on prayer and individual renewal; text, music, silence and meditation; and Shabbat as a community experience. Participants also went on study tours throughout Jerusalem, visited the Western Wall, hiked and prayed in the desert and visited mosques and churches.
The Saltz Education Center offers a wide choice of seminars and programs in Israel as well as abroad. It has now added two activities geared primarily to tourists already in Israel: the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar and Sunday night Jewish studies.
"We have found that Shabbat is the perfect niche for Reform groups here on an organized tour," the Saltz Center director, Rabbi Rich Kirschen, said of the Jerusalem Shabbat Seminar. Recent participants have come from Solel Congregation of Mississauga, Ontario (Rabbi Larry Englander); Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills (Rabbi Laura Geller); Temple Gates of Prayerin Metairie, Louisiana (Rabbi Bob Lowey); and Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, New York (Rabbi Matt Cuttler). The Sunday night study sessions, Kirschen says, are designed for tourists already in Jerusalem seeking to study Jewish texts “from a Progressive perspective with local rabbis, educators and personalities.”