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We are a community of Hebrew Seminary faculty, staff, rabbinical students, lifelong learners, Kabbalists, scholars, spiritual seekers and kind supporters.

The mission of Hebrew Seminary is to train rabbis and Jewish educators to serve all Jewish communities, including the deaf community. Hebrew Seminary has been an inclusive and egalitarian community for the study and practice of Judaism since our founding in 1992.

We hope that within this blog you will discover moments of insight and inspiration, practical and spiritual guidance, as well as a path to further study.

Along the way, let us know your thoughts!

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Congregation Bene Shalom and Hebrew Seminary

invite you to join us in an affirmation

of life and unity and gratitude.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Beginning at 2:30pm

Different clergy leaders from the community will come together to guide us in prayer, song and meditation. We will gain inspiration and strength from one another, and also celebrate all that we are grateful for at this time of year.

Congregation Bene Shalom  & Hebrew Seminary
4435 Oakton Street, Skokie,IL
847 / 679-4113
 

BECOME A CHANNEL OF GOD’S HEALING ENERGY USING THE NAME OF GOD YAH

By Hebrew Seminary President Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer

1. Go to your mi’at meekdash (small holy place) and sit on a comfortable chair with your back in the upright position, and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Wear comfortable clothing and loosen up your tie or belt.

2. Breathe in deeply and gently through your nostrils and as you breath in count silently 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. (This is the numerical equivalent of Yod) Without holding your breath between inhaling and exhaling, exhale through your nostrils silently, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. (The exhaling should take half as long as the inhaling.)

3. When you inhale, or exhale, you must maintain the internal dynamic that you are breathing in the Life Force of God, and that your breath and His breath are becoming One. You must recognize within the depths of your soul that you are becoming one with the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh.

4. As you breath in through your nostrils, your vision should not be God‘s breath coming in through your nostrils, but you should visualize with your koach dimyon (imagination) that God‘s Breath or Energy is filling your head area. And, as you breathe out, through your nostrils, your vision should not be God‘s Breath leaving your nostrils, but God‘s Breath or Energy flowing from your head into your heart and through your heart into the world.

5. Repeat this cycle five times.

When we breathe in God‘s Ruach, with kavvanah, we create Ruach HaKodesh; that is, we become One with the Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2015 by Douglas Goldhamer and Peggy Bagley

Fall Semester 2019

September 8, 2019 – January 23, 2020

Classes below are open to the public with permission of the teacher.

Tuesday

12:45 – 2:15 Rabbi Cantor Michael Davis
Midrash Rabbah & Homiletics* 

Wednesday 

10:00 – 11:30 Rabbi Pinchas Eisenbach / Linda Clark
Talmud – Pastoral Counseling                                               

Thursday

10:00   – 10:45
Minyan with Tefillin * 

11:00 – 1:00 Rabbi Daniel Vaisrub
Talmud — Avot

Sunday

12:00 – 1:30 (Begins Oct. 27) Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer
Practical Application of Kabbalah*

1:30 – 3:00 Rahmiel Hayyim Drizin
Zohar—Beginning of the Zohar: “The Thirteen-Petalled Rose”*

*Class descriptions:

Midrash Rabbah & Homiletics 

From the earliest times of the synagogue, rabbis have interpreted the Torah to their congregations. In ancient times, this tradition was called Midrash. Later, the techniques of storytelling, intertextual reading, commentary and down-to-earth inspiration became known as homiletics. Whether you are a rabbinic student or a leader in a havurah, these are necessary skills that you can bring to your community. If you are curious about rabbinic school, this is a good course to check it out. THIRD YEAR STUDENTS enrolled in this class will have the opportunity to deliver a sermon at Congregation Bene Shalom.

Practical Application of Kabbalah


Do you want love? Do you want more money? Do you want to have more time for yourself? Do you want more time to help others (which also brings God into the world.) Do you want to feel God in your life just as you do with your best friend? This class is for you!

Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer will share his translations of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro’s (1889-1943) works and other works written by Kabbalists such as Isaac Luria and Chaim Vital and others on the practical application of the Kabbalah. Rabbi Goldhamer says, “I was amazed during my study this summer to learn how the Kabalah should be used and could be used very practically in your life.”

Zohar–Beginning of the Zohar:  “The Thirteen-Petalled Rose”

The first class on September 8th will be an introduction to the High Holidays, and is open to all.

Minyan with Tefillin

All are invited!

Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer will begin the semester teaching the mitzvah of wearing Tefillin and demonstrate how to don them. Faculty is invited to share their Shacharit minhagim by leading services from time to time. Students will take turns leading prayers with the goal of leading services. This minyan will serve as Hebrew Seminary’s Hebrew Practicum (as well as a mitzvah and chavarah building!) There is no tuition charge or creditfor this practicum.

This class will start after the High Holidays.

Call Alison Brown for more information 847/ 679-4113.

I Knew You Once

By Stacey Zisook Robinson

I remember your kindness
In the desert.
We wandered there
In the dry air
that carried the scent of almonds.

Oh! my Beloved,
You spread salvation before me,
Cast in iron
and tasting of copper,
pockmarked,
eroded with the weight of centuries
and rain.
My bridal veil is trampled
before those walls
And the bread of
Blessing
is dust in my mouth.

But I remember your kindness.

I knew you once,
Before ever the land was sown –
This land that lays heavy with dew
And sacred grains
and the blood of princes
and priests
and children,
Who fought for
the glory of your Name,
Or no Name at all,
But for Glory alone.
They prostrate themselves before altars
That once were Yours,
Now reeking of incense and
Want.

But I remember your kindness,
My Beloved;
I knew you once,
and I felt the salvation
You offered
Like a cooling balm.
And I will weep for the land;
I will weep for the dying;
I will weep for the lost.
And I will sing praises to your name.



Based upon Jeremiah 1:1 – 2:3
Haftarah – Pinchas

Shiviti Adonai L’negdi Tamid Meditation

שִׁוִּ֬יתִי יְהוָ֣ה לְנֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִ֑יד

Shiviti Yod Hey Vav Hey L’negdi Tamid

“I place  יהוה  Y H V H before me always.”   (Psalms 16:8)

שִׁוִּ֬יתִי אֲדֹנָי לְנֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִ֑יד

Shiviti Adonai L’negdi Tamid

“I place Adonai before me always.”

1. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing, concentrating as you breathe in and out for a minute or two.

2. Recite the verse¸ “Shiviti Adonai L’negdi Tamid, I place Aleph, Dalet, Nun, Yud before me always.”

Feel, say and know, “I activate the Shekhinah (the feminine presence of God) within me always.”

3.  First, you focus on the crown of your head. Try to feel a slight vibration and light pressure.  Then you say, “Shiviti Adonai….(“I activate Adonai (Feminine Presence) within me always.”) Then see the light increase greatly on your crown and feel increased vibration on the crown of your head.  Visualize Adonai in green on the crown of your head.

4.  Feel your right forehead vibrating slightly and visualize a pale light over the right forehead.  Repeat “Shiviti Adonai….”(“I activate Adonai…)” and see your forehead and the right side of your face now covered with a strong light .  Feel the whole right side of the face and forehead vibrating strongly.  See Adonai written in green characters on your right forehead.

5.  Repeat the same for the left forehead….

6.  Now look at your right shoulder. Feel it vibrating slowly; see it covered in pale light. Put your arms straight out. Recite “Shiviti Adonai…” Feel your right arm vibrating noticeably. See your whole right arm covered in light.  See Adonai written in green characters on your right shoulder.

7. Repeat the same for the left shoulder/arm.

8.  Now feel your solar plexus vibrating slowly, see it covered in pale light.  Recite “Shiviti Adonai….”  Feel your whole chest area now filled with a strong light, and vibrating strongly.  See Adonai written in green characters on your solar plexus.

9.  Now feel your right hip vibrating slowly and visualize a pale light over the right hip. Repeat “Shiviti Adonai….” See your right hip and right leg now covered with a strong light and vibrating strongly. See Adonai written in green characters on your right hip.

10.  Do the same for the left hip/leg.

11.  Focus on your lower abdomen.  Feel your lower abdomen vibrating slowly and visualize a pale light over the lower abdomen.  Repeat “Shiviti Adonai…” See your lower abdomen now covered with a strong light and vibrating strongly. See Adonai written in green characters on your lower abdomen.

12.  Now feel your feet vibrating slowly, and covered in a pale light.  Repeat “Shiviti Adonai…” See your feet now covered with a strong light and vibrating strongly.  See Adonai written in green characters across your feet.

13. Feel and know that the purpose of this meditation is to liberate Adonai/Shekhinah from Her exile and one way in which we do this is to visualize Her on our different energy centers, the Sefirot. When we do this each sefirah vibrates communicating to the sefirot above, below and next to it.

14. Recite and visualize the verse in the two permutations below¸

Shiviti אדני L’negdi Tamid, I place Adonai, אדני [in green letters] before me always.”

&  “Shiviti Yod Hey Vav Hey, יהוה,  L’negdi Tamid”, שִׁוִּ֬יתִי יְהוָ֣ה לְנֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִ֑יד,  

“I place  יהוה  Y H V H [in purple letters] before me always.”

15. Recognize that Adonai, the feminine presence of God and Y-H-V-H, the masculine presence of God, are identical. Adonai, the Shekhinah resides within us. We visualized אדני Adonai written externally on our energy centers. She is waiting to be joined by יהוה  Y H V H.

When they are joined, the feminine presence of God is completely liberated. When Adonai (in green) and Y H V H (in purple) are joined together we help complete God, Hashem shleimut. This complete God, made up of feminine and masculine qualities, vibrates powerfully inspiring each of us to be more healthy, more strong, more happy and like God, more complete.

16. Move through the sefirotic energy centers as above (#3) and visualize יאהדונהי YAHDVNHY in Hebrew, alternating purple and green as appropriate, knowing that you are becoming more healthy, strong, happy and complete.

Seminary Class Open to the Hebrew Reading Public

An 8-week class, beginning June 25th – August 13, 2019

Tuesdays 1:15 – 2:45                                
Midrash Tanhuma & Homiletics 
Rabbi Michael Davis

From the earliest times of the synagogue, rabbis have interpreted the Torah to their congregations. In ancient times, this tradition was called Midrash. Later, the techniques of storytelling, intertextual reading, commentary and down-to-earth inspiration became known as homiletics. Whether you are a rabbinic student or a leader in a havurah, these are necessary skills that you can bring to your community. Hebrew Seminary is offering a special, introductory rate this summer. If you are curious about rabbinic school, this is a good course to check it out.

Special auditing tuition rate $200

Rabbi Michael DavisProfessor of Midrash

Cantor Davis received a traditional yeshiva education and is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in musicology. He trained as a cantor in Israel, where he also served as a chaplain in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Cantor Davis received his investiture (cantorial ordination) in the United States, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Sacred Music. Cantor Davis is a member of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) where he has served on the Certification Committee for ordaining cantors at the School of Sacred Music-Hebrew Union College. Cantor Michael Davis joined Lakeside Congregation as its first cantor in 2003.  In 2015 he was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Seminary.  Rabbi Cantor Michael Davis currently serves as rabbi at Makom Shalom in Chicago.  He has served on the faculty of the Hebrew Seminary training future rabbis in classic Hebrew and Aramaic text since 2009.

Mindfulness, Kavvanah, and Meditative Focus: Three Roads to Prayer and Daily Living

Sunday, June 30, 2019
2:00 – 3:30 pm
at Hebrew Seminary

How do mindfulness, kavvanah (intention), and meditative focus work together to enhance and strengthen prayer? As we pray, how do these three techniques work together to bring us closer to God?

Living and serving God with kavvanah was routinely emphasized by the ancient rabbis. It continues to be embraced by contemporary rabbis as a way to become closer to God. Moreover, God embraces kavvanah to become closer to each of us as we pray and meditate.

These three powerful instruments are unique, yet at the same time are very similar. We will examine how these techniques can bring us closer to God in prayer and in our everyday lives.

Live life in the Divine present.  Join Hebrew Seminary President Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer, Rabbi Dr. Roberta Glick and rabbinical candidate Alison Brown on June 30th to inspire your practice and your life.

Hebrew Seminary
A RABBINICAL SCHOOL FOR DEAF & HEARING
4435 W. Oakton, Skokie, IL 60076

For more information 847-679-4113
info@hebrewseminary.org

The Healing Power of Psalms


Reciting Psalms to aid in healing is an ancient Jewish tradition and echoes today in shuls, churches, hospitals and homes around the world.

The Psalms lyrically vibrate in communication with our soul.

Learn about the healing power of Psalms from Professor of Kabbalah Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer and Professor of Pastoral Counseling Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Eisenbach. Take home techniques to augment the medical care and love of family and friends as they move along the rough roads of illness, accident and disease.

LEARN WITH US

Sunday, March 31, 2019 @ 2:00 – 3:30pm

Hebrew Seminary

A RABBINICAL SCHOOL FOR DEAF & HEARING
4435 W. Oakton, Skokie, IL 60076

For more information 847-679-4113
info@hebrewseminary.org

ASL interpreted

Refreshments served

Perhaps I am Free: for Shirat HaYam

by Student Rabbi Stacey Zisook Robinson

I have never seen such forever water.
I hear its incessant burbling,
a chant, perhaps to God,
Who has come to us as Fire,
Who has come to us as Smoke.
Who has come to us
at last,
bringing wonder and magic
and freedom,
perhaps.

I hear chatter of freedom,
but my back is striped still
and there is this forever Sea,
murmuring its prayers to
the ragged shore.

Perhaps there will be
freedom.

I wish they’d get this
over with, this mad dash
to this forever Sea
that never stops chattering.
The fire of God rages,
and His smoke smells of
charred wood and honey.
I can taste wind there.
I wonder what freedom
tastes of, and I think
the of the sting
of brine on my
wounds.

Still, I like this sea
this forever Sea,
that has captured the sky
in its mirrored waves.
They tell us
the only way to freedom
is through its
crashing, crushing
beauty.

But I have learned
to sing its song, to walk
between its silvered edges.
I stand at the rim of earth
and air and fire
and water.
It parts for me,
this forever Sea.
a slow and liquid splitting.
and the sea,
forever and endless
and never quiet
is hushed,
waiting, perhaps
for me to begin.
And so I offer a hymn
with timbrel and lyre
and ribbons of fire
and smoke,
and I dance.

And perhaps –
perhaps I am free.

Stacey Zisook Robinson is author of
Dancing in the Palm of God’s Hand and
A Remembrance of Blue

Spring Into Study: Spirituality and Spiritual Direction

We’ve added an exciting new class to our

Spring 2019 semester
February 3 – May 30, 2019

Tuesdays

11:30 – 1:00                                                                    

Rabbi Menachem Cohen               

Spirituality and Spiritual Direction: A Jewish Perspective

This class will give an introduction to Spiritual Direction, alternatively known as Spiritual Guidance or Accompaniment, and introduce students to Jewish contributions and approaches to the field. Anyone who wishes to offer such spiritual guidance must also be doing their own spiritual work, so this class will introduce students to and encourage them to engage in spiritual practices from our tradition. The class will include Jewish liturgy, text (incl. Torah, Talmud, Mussar, Hasidut), and how our calendar is a spiritual guide. Some texts will be read in Hebrew and students taking the class for credit will be asked to do some translation. Multiple modes of learning will be used, for many styles of learners (lecture, story-telling, student presentations, case studies, role plays, and mostly discussion).

Menachem Cohen received smicha from Hebrew Seminary in 2003. He is the Founder of the Mitziut Jewish Community, and since 2006 has worked at The Night Ministry on the streets of Chicago with LGBTQ and/or homeless youth. He is currently finishing his certificate in Spiritual Direction at Loyola University, where he is currently doing his internship running personal growth/spiritual direction groups using role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, with the youth in The Night Ministry programs. He is also a game designer, and partner at AlleyCat Comics. Most important, he is a dad.

 HEBREW SEMINARY

A RABBINICAL SCHOOL FOR DEAF & HEARING

4435 W. Oakton, Skokie, IL 60076

847-679-4113

e-mail: info@hebrewseminary.org • hebrewseminary.org