Online Learning

Avodah is creating various programs for our community in this time to foster learning, community building, and discussion. Check out the list below, which will be updated weekly. Email Rachel ([email protected]) with any questions.

Upcoming Events

Revolutionary Resilience: A Three-Part Series on Personal Ecology

As we reckon with systemic racism, public health crises, and continue the fight to transform our nation, Avodah is planning a  series of programs by and for Jews of Color on how to sustain ourselves and our communities as we strengthen our work for justice. Session details below. *In order to support and center the experiences of Jews of Color two of the sessions will be open to JOCs and one will be open to all.

Zoom information will be shared at least 3 days prior with all who register. All sessions will feature live closed captioning.

Wednesday, July 15, 8-9pm ET – Dancing with Keva (form) and Kavannah (intention)

  • In these uncertain times when a new world is being born, how can we remain grounded and spiritually connected? What is the interplay between our spiritual connection and or relationship to community? In this session, we’ll explore grounding rituals, take a deep dive into what spirituality in times of uncertainty can look like and how to tap into spirit as a tool for resilience in social justice work. Part of the session will include a break out session to create space for racial and spiritual connection for community building. Click here to RSVP. 

  • *This session is for those who identify as Jews of Color only. 

About the Facilitator: Kohenet Keshira haLev Fife sprinkles sparkles, disrupts expectations, and offers blessings wherever she goes. As Executive Director of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, she delights in supporting organizational growth and serving as part of the faculty. She also pours love and intention into her work as founder and leader of Kesher Pittsburgh, Program Director of the ALEPH Kesher Fellowship, and more broadly as a shlichat tzibbur, life spiral ceremony/ritual creatrix, liturgist, songstress, teacher and public speaker. Her work in these realms is informed by her lived experience as a queer Jewish Woman of Colour and the quandries she encounters as a scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School. Keshira received Kohenet smicha in 2017 and earned her BS 2000 and MS 2001 at Carnegie Mellon University. Dual-citizens of the USA and Australia and avid travelers, these days, she and her beloved are leaning into stillness and sheltering-in-peace at home in Pittsburgh, PA.

Yoshi Silverstein headshot

Wednesday, July 22, 8-9pm ET – Stacking Your Life – How to Reorganzie Your Life for Productivity with Yoshi Silverstein*

With even more demands on our time than usual, we need new tools to support ourselves. Yoshi Silverstein, the founder and executive director of Mitsui Collective, and Cleveland community organizer for Edot HaMidwest: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative will bring a permaculture-inspired “function-stacking” approach to integrating personal, social, ecological, and professional needs in ways that reinforce rather than compete with each other. RSVP here.

*Session open to all

About the Facilitator: Yoshi Silverstein is the founder and executive director of Mitsui Collective, Cleveland community organizer for Edot HaMidwest: The Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative, a cohort six Schusterman Fellow, and director emeritus of the JOFEE Fellowship at Hazon.

As a Chinese-Ashkenazi-American Jew, Yoshi is an active leader, advocate, and educator in the Jews of Color community and speaks regularly on diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a member of the Grants Advisory Group for the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, is an alumnus of Selah (Cohort 14, Jewish Leaders of Color) and current member of the Selah Advisory Council, was a founding member of the Repair the World NYC Advisory Board, and has been a cast member of Kaleidoscope Project’s “What Does Jewish Look Like to You” monologue series and an ELI Talks speaker. Yoshi holds certificates in Spiritual Entrepreneurship (Columbia Business School through GLEAN Network), social entrepreneurship (PresenTense NYC), permaculture design, ecovillage design, and environmental education. Also a CrossFit coach and movement teacher, 2nd degree blackbelt, and aficionado of Chinese Roast Duck, Yoshi has lived in the Cleveland area since Summer 2019 with his wife (a Cleveland native), daughter, and pup. 

Melissa Carter headshot.

Wednesday, August 12, 8-9pm ET – Mindfulness and the Movement with Melissa Carter*

Some would say for the current Spiritual Leader is the DEMAND that Black Lives Matter. Within that demand is an invitation for truth, service and radical rest for JOCs. The marriage of contemplative practices with outward activism is a catalyst to that rest.  Healing and rest is the foundation from which our personal liberation must rise from as we demand for social liberation. This radicalized anchor of love and spirit will ensure the fight for justice, sustainability and unwavering impact. Join Melissa Carter, Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming and Associate Director of Global Spiritual Life for New York University for a 60 minute interactive gathering as a space to practice that rest in community and gain new Mindfulness resources. RSVP here.

Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhYxWMLGE8c

Talk with Practice: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBbugfzJcx2/

*Session for those who identify as Jews of Color only.

About the Facilitator: Melissa Carter is the Associate Director for Global Spiritual Life at New York University and is the Head of Mindfulness Education and Programming for MindfulNYU. In 2019, Melissa launched MindfulNYU internationally, expanding its reach to become the largest campus-wide global mindfulness initiative. Melissa’s career began in the hip-hop music business at Violator management. From there she became a digital sales and marketing executive at both Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. After a decade in the industry, Melissa embarked on a spiritual journey that inspired transformations in both her career and daily life. Melissa serves as a meditation teacher, reiki master, intuitive coach and wellness consultant. Over the last ten years, Melissa has traveled to 15 different countries to present and lead workshops on the intersection of spirituality, social justice and mindfulness, and their interconnectedness with belonging, self-care, and intuitive and emotional intelligence. As a spiritual thought leader, Melissa takes a holistic approach to problem solving. She has a drive to understand how systems work and how they can function more efficiently using mindfulness and grassroots practices. Melissa holds an MBA in Media Management from the Metropolitan College of New York and has an undergraduate degree in Communication and Interpersonal Skills from the University of South Florida. She is an Adjunct Professor for the Silver School of Social Work and is the New York Trauma-Informed facilitator for Connection Coalition. She is a Mama Glow-trained doula. Melissa has been featured in Good Housekeeping magazine and Billboard magazine’s “Top 30 Under 30 Executives” as well as various mindfulness blogs and podcasts, including The Naked Podcast and The Trailblazer Podcast. Connect with Melissa on Instagram: @ignitewithmelissa

Speak Torah to Power

Join Avodah for a three-part series that explores the root causes of our current crises, helps participants understand and gain tools for finding their role in movements for justice, and deepens their sense of how individual and communal relationships can play a role in this work. Throughout the sessions we’ll draw on Jewish wisdom, from both ancient texts and Avodah’s “Speak Torah to Power” series, to deepen our understanding of these critical issues. All sessions will be taught by Avodah Alumni Justice Ambassadors, seasoned educators with experience in social change work. Though the sessions will connect to one another, each session can be standalone, so feel free to attend one or all! Speak Torah to Power is proudly co-sponsored by Challah for Hunger, JFREJ, Jewish Women’s Foundation of NY, and Habonim Dror.

Please RSVP here and we will send you the Zoom info at least 3 days in advance. All events will feature live closed captioning.

Monday, July 27, 5-6:15 pm ET – From Tzedakah to Tzedek

From public health to unemployment to fights to dismantle systemic racism, a range of justice issues flood our news feeds and newspapers. In this session we’ll explore and break down some of the larger issues that are part of our current crises and gain an understanding of how these issues impact people’s lives on a variety of levels. RSVP here.

Monday, August 3, 12-1:15 pm ET – To Be of Use: Finding your place in the fight for justice

Figuring out how to connect your passions and vision for the world with what needs to happen is a challenge. It has only become more difficult during this time of unprecedented need and social distancing. In this interactive webinar, participants will explore four different methods of social change (direct service, advocacy, philanthropy, and community organizing) by hearing from experts in the field, discussing how they connect to Jewish values, and learning about how they can engage with each of them in our current context. RSVP here.

Monday, August 10, 7-8:15 pm ET – From the Personal to the Political

How can we work to cultivate relationships that help complicate our thinking, to consider perspectives outside of our comfort zones, to resist complacency, and to live our values as fully as possible? In this session, we’ll explore the various ways in which strong personal and communal relationships can help advance your work for collective justice. RSVP here.

Past Events

Friday, July 17, 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll Into Shabbos – Somatic Embodiment Practices for Release and Balance with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. Sign up here.

Tuesday, July 7, 12pm ET – The Torah of Police Accountability with Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

Decades- and even centuries-old public distrust of police and outrage over police brutality and misconduct have amplified nationwide in recent years with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and so many others, drawing public protest and awareness of the deep, structural causes for it. In this session, co-hosted with Jewish Family Service of San Diego, we will study what the Torah teaches us about the role of accountability in sustaining a well-functioning justice system, and consider how these Torah ideas should translate to public policy in American cities.

Friday, June 26, 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll Into Shabbos – Somatic Embodiment Practices for Release and Balance with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. 

Monday, June 22 at 1pm ET –  Part III: Introduction to Mussar with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

In this four-session series, Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, DC Ruach Avodah and a trained facilitator through the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project (IOWA) will offer a Jewishly-rooted, spiritually vibrant and contemplative introduction to practices and texts that can ground us in these deeply uncertain times. Rooted in Mussar or Jewish ethical development and Chasidut, these sessions will include some Talmud Torah–text learning and guided meditations. All sessions are standalone, so feel free to come to one or all of them!

Monday, June 15, 12pm ET – There’s a Riot Goin’ On”: Political Violence in Rabbinic Thought

What happens when the justice system does not function — when state power is diminished, undermined, or corrupted? What happens when the law acts violently toward civilians and treats it as lawful? In this session, we will explore two Biblical stories of political violence and their dark reverberations in halakhic (Jewish legal) literature and along the way consider violence and non-violence, when each is a scandal and when each is a necessity.

Monday, June 8 at 1pm ET –  Part II: Introduction to Mussar with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

In this four-session series, Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, DC Ruach Avodah and a trained facilitator through the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project (IOWA) will offer a Jewishly-rooted, spiritually vibrant and contemplative introduction to practices and texts that can ground us in these deeply uncertain times. Rooted in Mussar or Jewish ethical development and Chasidut, these sessions will include some Talmud Torah–text learning and guided meditations. All sessions are standalone, so feel free to come to one or all of them!

Friday, June 5 at 12pm ET – “The Other: Part II” with Rabbi Lexi Erdheim

Rabbi Lexi will be teaching four sessions based upon her rabbinical school capstone project entitled A Love/Hate Relationship: Diving into Jewish Texts on ‘The Other.'” In the first session, we explored the sociological nuances of the “ger” or resident alien. In this session, we will explore the topic of interfaith marriage within the context of the Hebrew Bible. What does our biblical text have to say about marrying someone who is “differen.”

Monday, June 1, 12pm ET – “Theology in a Time of Fear and Ecological Destruction” with Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

The Amazon is burning, species are going extinct at stunning rates, and forecasts for planetary sustenance are ever more dire — and that’s all before a global pandemic that has shut us indoors. The instinct to freeze in fear or numbness or to curl into a ball in avoidance can be overwhelming. But we know that that’s not what is demanded of us at this critical moment. In this session, we will study passages of key Biblical and Rabbinic scenes of unusual divine inspiration and courage, to take cues for how Torah might be pushing us to be our best, most courageous selves at an hour we are most called to be so. 

Friday, June 12, 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll Into Shabbos – Somatic Embodiment Practices for Release and Balance with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. 

Wednesday, May 27 at 1:30pm ET –  Part I: Introduction to Mussar with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

In this four-session series, Rabbi Lauren Tuchman, DC Ruach Avodah and a trained facilitator through the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project (IOWA) will offer a Jewishly-rooted, spiritually vibrant and contemplative introduction to practices and texts that can ground us in these deeply uncertain times. Rooted in Mussar or Jewish ethical development and Chasidut, these sessions will include some Talmud Torah–text learning and guided meditations. All sessions are standalone, so feel free to come to one or all of them!

Tuesday, May 19, 12pm ET – The Torah Case for Reparations (Part II) with Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

Throughout the narration of the liberation from slavery in the book of Sh’mot/Exodus, the Torah always highlights the importance of taking Egyptian property on the way out. The Rabbinic tradition understands this property to be slavery reparations.  In this session, we’ll study sources about the responsibility of living people for the sins of our ancestors, and discuss the relevance of these ideas regarding the necessity of reparations today. 

Friday, May 15, 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll Into Shabbos – Somatic Embodiment Practices for Release and Balance with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. 

Friday, May 8 at 1pm ET – Stranger Danger: A Textual Analysis of the Ger (Stranger) with Rabbi Lexi Erdheim

For you were strangers (gerim) in the land of Egypt” is one of the most oft-repeated phrases in the Hebrew Bible. But what exactly is a ger? Who counts as a ger?  What can we glean from this concept that can offer us guidance as we navigate the boundary between identity and inclusiveness in contemporary Jewish America? 

Tuesday, May 5 at 12pm ET – The Torah Case for Reparations (Part 1) with Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein

Throughout the narration of the liberation from slavery in the book of Sh’mot/Exodus, the Torah always highlights the importance of taking Egyptian property on the way out. The Rabbinic tradition understands this property to be slavery reparations. In this session, we will discuss what the idea of reparations as a necessary element of liberation might mean for our world today.

Friday, May 1, 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll Into Shabbos with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. 

Tuesday, April 28 at 12pm ET –  Learning and Meditation on Sefirat HaOmer 

We’ll study how the ritual of counting the Omer can impact our spiritual practices. This learning will be followed by a meditation and reflection. 

Friday, April 17 at 12pm ET – Slow Your Roll into Shabbos with Miriam Eisenberger

They say you receive a second soul on Shabbat… but sometimes it can help to make some space inside to really receive such a blessing. Join Miriam Eisenberger, LCSW, NYC Ruach Advisor and Somatic Therapist, for an hour of somatic and mindfulness based practices to help release tensions and stress held in the body-heart-mind so that we can slow down and find some nourishing space amidst the frenetic charges happening around and inside us. 

Tuesday, April 14 at 12pm ET – Singing Toward Redemption: The Role of the Prophetess Miriam with Rabbi Lauren Tuchman

The 7th day of Pesach has been traditionally understood to be the day on which the sea of reeds split. In response, the Jewish people sing. In the Torah, we are presented with two songs–a longer song which is traditionally read in synagogue on this day and a much shorter song, the song of Miriam. We will explore in greater depth the role of Miriam in the Passover narrative. How has she been reclaimed by Jewish feminists? What significance lies in the fact that her song, albeit partially was preserved?

Have a suggestion?

This is part of a new series of learning opportunities that we will launch in the coming weeks, so feel free to send any suggestions on days/times that work best for you or content you’re seeking. Email Rachel Glicksman at [email protected] with your suggestions.