"There will be no peace in the world until there is peace among the world's religions."

The Jewish Wisdom of Jesus and the Roots of Modern Spiritual Practice

This interfaith

study session 

places Jesus

in historical

context as a

1st Century

teacher of Jewish wisdom. We'll compare and contrast Kaddish and The Lord's Prayer as examples of early rabbinic liturgy, explore the intent of the Beatitudes as a means of teaching Torah to the masses and examine how many of his teachings laid the groundwork for both Jewish and Christian mysticism. Most Western spiritual practice is rooted in, and continues to reflect, deeply Jewish concepts. Whether as a Jewish religious reformer and martyr, or as the risen Christ come to redeem the world, Jesus is a bridge between two faith traditions -- one that has historically served to separate us, but whose teachings can unite us in spiritual exploration. Martin Buber noted that, "We Jews know Jesus from within, in the impulses of his Jewish being, in a way that remains inaccessible to the peoples submissive to him." We explore the life and work of the most famous Jewish teacher in history, in a profoundly spiritual way.

(1-2 hour study session)

Sacred Hospitality and the

Alchemy of Shalom

B’tzelem Elohim - in the image

of God. The flame that burns

within connects us in intimate

ways, sometimes allowing

recognition of the image of

God. More than simply making

us responsible for one another,

this shared inner light also

offers non-intellectual ways

of engaging with the sacred.

The phenomenon of Shalom --

healing, growth, wholeness,

harmony in all dimensions --

requires our paying close

attention to transitional doorways that link the worlds surrounding us, utilizing material, emotional, intellectual and spiritual energies to effect change. The medieval alchemists and kabbalists understood the power of transformation, through ritual moments, spiritual creativity, what we now recognize as the quantumly entangled nature of all our souls.

Join Br. Al, Hazzan Steve and Mary in an interactive, mystical journey to the other side of the doorway, where ignorance is transformed into wisdom, weakness into strength, spiritual desolation into hope. (Daylong retreat – includes a hands-on mystical art experience)

Nature Mysticism:

The Other Sacred Scripture

St. Francis & the Baal Shem Tov – Two Nature Mystics in a World Alive with Divine Light

Francis of Assisi,13th

century founder of the

Order of Friars Minor,

and Israel ben Eliezer,

(the Baal Shem Tov),

18th century founder

of Hasidism, were

nature mystics who

believed that divine

incarnational light

animated all of creation. Their message of love and hope brought comfort to the uneducated masses who had no expectation of achieving an academic understanding of religious mysteries, and yet both of these visionaries laid the foundation for a down-to-earth mysticism that blossomed beyond their lives. The movements they began are among the most potent and vibrant forces in their respective faith traditions to this day.

Let’s take a look at these two spiritual brothers, who believed that nothing really exists outside of the light of God and that, if we see with eyes of enchantment, whichever way we look, we see God smiling back at us.     (1-2 hour study session, or can be a daylong retreat)

Maggid and Troubadour: Everything You Know is a Story, Everything you Speak is a Song

Stories and melodies touch deep

centers of awareness within us and

draw us into intimate mysteries of

heart and soul. There always have

been two distinct classes of Jewish

religious leader: the scholar or rabbi;

and the preacher or maggid. The early

maggidim were spiritual storytellers

who based their presentation on

questions addressed to them by the

multitude. A classic example is the Passover Haggadah, which is introduced by four questions; the recitation of the answer is called maggid. More than just examining chasidic stories, we'll explore the development of aggadah and parable as Jewish wisdom, see how a story can take us to "the inside of the inside" of the deepest teachings, and how a melody can touch people's hearts in profound ways.   (1-2 hour study session, or can be a daylong retreat)

Classes & Workshops


With the close of the Jewish

Sabbath on Saturday evening,

the Lord's Day begins.

Sabbath2Sabbath uses the

Jewish teachings of Jesus to

look at ways to creatively

experience sacred time within our families and communities, giving Christians an opportunity to embrace the principles of the Jewish Sabbath by creating a meaningful acknowledgement and celebration of the Lord's Day in their own home. (60–90 minute hands-on workshop)

Yours, Mine and Ours:

Raising an Interfaithful Family

Interfaith families are everywhere

in America these days, especially

among Jews and Christians.

Even if both parents are of one

faith, chances are there’s a

grandparent or set of aunts,

uncles or cousins who identify

as something else. Navigating

these waters has always been a challenge,

but success is still defined by preparation and approach.

Hazzan Steve Klaper and Mary Gilhuly have been married for over 30 years, raising 2 children while Mary remained active in her Catholic parish and Steve went on to ordination as a Jewish maggid and cantor. Come sit with us as we discuss our spiritual backpacks, and what we owe our ourselves, our kids, our parents and our tradition(s). This presentation usually leads to a lively discussion. (60 or 90 minute presentation and discussion)

Everything in its Time: What Judaism has to teach us about Mourning

Jewish traditions of mourning treat the deceased with the utmost respect, while offering a grieving process which acknowledges a family's life has been upended, and that they suddenly find themselves in a "time out of time." In Judaism, there is no rush to "get on with your life" after the funeral; rather, there are discreet containers of time — 7 days, 30 days, 11 months — that allow family and friends time to process their loss. In this workshop, we will explore ways to adapt the Jewish way of death and mourning to other faith traditions, embracing this difficult moment in a way that allows us all to learn and grow. This is perfect for individuals and families who have been disappointed by past mourning experiences and want a different way going forward. It is also of great benefit to clergy and staff who wish to enhance the mourning experience for their congregants.  

(60-90 minute hands-on workshop)

To schedule an program, class, presentation or retreat, or to discuss bringing Song and Spirit in for a concert, contact Meredith  at meredithskowronski@gmail.com


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