The month of Av has come upon us in a manner true to historical form. Mishenikhnas Av, m’ma’atin b’simha… When the month of Av begins, we are told, we are instructed to diminish our joy. Sadly, a week of violence and tragedy all over the world has done it for us.
Yoga means “union” or “union with the divine.” It doesn’t mean “contortionism,” “hippie commune” or “Lululemon.”
In a way, Jewish prayer is like another pillar of observant Jewish life: Shabbat. Just as tefilah involves letting one's creativity conquer one's boredom, Shabbat is about finding creative enjoyment on a day when cell-phones, iPods and DVD players are treated as hardly more useful than paperweights.
Parshat Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1-15:41)
Why is there so much disillusionment, fear and unsettling behavior in this parsha? And what can we learn from the chaos?
The model for the day was dying for the sake of rebirth. Think meditation, think spiritual awakening, think psychoanalysis.
Steve Reich, composer, turns 70 and wonders what all the fuss is about.
Unlike my Pesach in Argentina, where we had to walk through metal detectors to enter the five-star hotel in Patagonia, this Rosh Hashanah service was open to anybody and everybody, bringing together quite an eclectic mix of travelers.
"I always say it is lingerie and meditation that have kept me young," says Michael Attie, a 62-year-old author, spiritual seeker and former owner of Playmates of Hollywood -- the world's largest lingerie store.
Once known as "The Lingerie Monk," Attie managed to combine his passion for spirituality with 13 years of selling sexy lingerie on Hollywood Boulevard.
I first met Attie when I recorded his mother's family history, and she told the story of her son inheriting Playmates of Hollywood. Her husband owned the store until 1982, when, faced with declining health, he called his son, who was meditating in the woods of Northern California, and asked him to come home to run the lingerie store.
Michael Attie made the most of it.
Who are they? A diverse group if ever there was one -- as multifaceted as the city itself.
Minutes from the Western Wall, brilliant bougainvillea grace the courtyard of an Old City apartment encased in Jerusalem's signature stone. This is where participants in Sarah Yehudit Schneider's women-only meditation retreats symbolically leave the rest of the week behind to embrace the healing, nurturing powers of Shabbat.
Too much driving and dreaming makes me practically a native here, I suppose. When I complained to my friend Stuart back East, he said: "Slow down. Pull over. Take a class."
Metivta, A Center for Contemplative Judaism, went into emergency survival mode late last month after the board discovered the organization was out of funds.
"The board is looking intensely at our budget and trying to pare down costs to the absolute minimum to give us a chance to survive for the next couple of months, while our board and community determine what is Metivta's future, where we will go and what is our restated mission," said Lyle Poncher, Metivta board chairman.
Metivta is an organization dedicated to seeking spirituality in the Jewish tradition through meditation, text study and spiritual practices.
"Finding Each Other in Judaism: Meditations on the Rites of Passage From Birth to Immortality" by Harold M. Schulweis. (UAHC Press, $12.95)
"Finding Each Other in Judaism" distills decades of those quiet, private moments when a curious, wounded or concerned congregant asks the rabbi: "What do I do now?"
As we enter the new millennium, fitness professionals are becoming more aware of the movement toward spiritual forms of exercise. Programs like Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, and body work are common in fitness clubs and community centers. To keep up with today's stressful lifestyles, we must do more than increase our heart rates and pump iron to maintain maximum health. Mind and body fitness can facilitate this by achieving inner balance and harmony in mind, body and spirit.
During the past few years, an effort has been made to retrieve women's devotional literature and present it to a contemporary Jewish world.
A few years ago, two of my colleagues took their families on vacation to Mammoth Lake. While there, the families spent Shabbat with one another, eating their meals together, singing zmirot (Shabbat songs) and enjoying each other's company.