About this Retreat
We’re delighted and excited to be returning to in-person residential retreats.
Being on retreat during Chanukah, where we remember the resistance of the Maccabees to the idols of Antiochus, invites us to reflect: what are our own idols? What are we worshipping through our habits of thought and speech and action? How aligned are these patterns with whatever it is that we truly wish to dedicate ourselves to? How can we inquire here, and perhaps rededicate, without collapsing into self-judgment and self-criticism? This Chanukah, we will invite the light of awareness to expand as we support each other in a container of collective compassion, care and sacred aspiration.
Join us for a unique weekend dedicated to the practice of Jewish mindfulness meditation, and an experience of the Jewish path to wellbeing, wisdom & awakening. The retreat will be led by HaMakom faculty members Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, one of the founders and pioneers of the Jewish Mindfulness Movement, and Dr Mira Niculescu. For details of the faculty see: https://hamakom.community/our-team/.
Update: Rabbi Sheila will now be joining us virtually from the United States, teaching twice on motzei Shabbat/Saturday afternoon & evening, and once more on Sunday. Dr Mira Niculescu will lead the retreat in person.
Together, we will explore how the practice of mindfulness meditation gives us insight into the nature of our experience and our minds, and helps us to cultivate what is beautiful for ourselves and for others. Daily instruction in meditation will help guide all participants, from beginners to advanced practitioners, into the sacred space of the retreat process. There will be daily talks and teachings, Q&A sessions, chanting and small group meetings.
Throughout the retreat we will maintain social silence (see the “Social Silence” tab above for an explanation of this). The retreat will also offer the option of daily periods of Subtle Yoga led by Mika Hadar (see https://www.subtleyoga.co.uk/). There will be space and time for davening, for those that wish to. We welcome people of all ages, of all faiths or none, beginners or experienced practitioners or anything in between.
Our venue is: St. Cassian’s Centre, Wallingtons Road, Kintbury, Berkshire RG17 9SR
If you have any questions, or you would like to discuss something, please contact Zac, at: email@example.com. He is here to help, and will welcome hearing from you.
The retreat will begin at 3.00pm on Friday 3 December and will end at 4.00pm on Sunday 5 December 2021.
Registration will be from 1.00pm to 2.30pm on Friday 3 December.
Please ensure that you arrive at St. Cassian’s Retreat Centre before 3.00pm.
We are committed to supporting everyone to be and to feel safe on retreat. We are limiting the number of attendees to 35, half the venue’s capacity, to allow for social distancing. Unless you are coming with a partner, you will have a bedroom of your own.
If in the 10 days before the retreat you test positive for Covid-19, or if anyone in your household tests positive for Covid-19, please contact us immediately.
Everyone is required to take a lateral flow test on the Thursday (2 December) prior to the start of the retreat. If it is positive, we ask that you take two further lateral flow tests and that you only attend the retreat if both of these are negative. If one or more of the subsequent tests is positive too, please inform us immediately. Unfortunately, in order to keep everyone safe, you will not be able to attend. In this case please telephone Zac, Retreat Manager, on 07552660260. You will be offered a full refund.
People are very welcome to wear a mask. This is an individual choice.
One of our priorities on this retreat will be to keep the spaces we are in well ventilated. We will find an appropriate balance between this safety measure and maintaining a reasonable room temperature. Please bring with you whatever will help to keep you warm when windows are open: clothes, hats, blankets, etc.
As far as possible we will aim to allow everyone to practise the degree of social distancing with which they are comfortable.
If you are clinically vulnerable, please make your own decision about whether this retreat will be safe for you.
Update: this is what the team at the retreat centre have told us they will be doing to promote the safety of everyone present:
– All staff are taking Covid tests twice a week
– They all wear masks and gloves
– Food is no longer self-service, but buffet style, served by the staff of the retreat centre
– There are no cloth towels in the toilets, only paper tissue
– Hand sanitiser is distributed throughout the venue
– A fogging machine is used to disinfect each bedroom prior to our stay
If you would like to discuss anything, please feel free to contact Zac on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you and will support as best we can.
Costs, Food & Accommodation
HaMakom endeavours to keep costs as low as possible, and to be accessible to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances. The price of our retreats is set to reflect just the basic costs of arranging the retreat at the beautiful St. Cassian’s Retreat Centre (https://www.thekintburyexperience.com/), outside the village of Kintbury in Berkshire. This includes all meals and accommodation.
The meals provided by the retreat centre will all be vegetarian. We are also able to offer vegan, dairy free and gluten free options. If this does not suit your kashrut practice please contact our Retreat Manager, Zac (email@example.com) so that we can explore what arrangements will support you. We aim to accommodate everyone’s dietary and kashrut requirements, as best we can.
We also offer the option for you to be an offsite participant and to arrange your own accommodation. If you prefer this option you will pay a reduced rate and will need to make your own accommodation arrangements. Please see details below of hotels that participants have previously stayed in. Alternatively, some participants have had success finding accommodation through www.airbnb.com.
At the end of the retreat, following the Jewish tradition of Generosity/Chesed, you will have the opportunity to give a donation to support the livelihood of the teacher. We are especially privileged to be on a retreat with a smaller number of people than we would usually be. This was the only way that we felt we could come back to being in person at this time. However, this may mean that the total value of the donations will be lower than it is usually. We respectfully ask that you consider this when making donations, while knowing that you are wholeheartedly welcome regardless of your financial means.
Retreat Rates (for onsite and offsite accommodation)
The rates for this retreat are at three levels: Standard, Scholarship and Supporter.
Standard Rate: the Standard Rate is £185 and covers the basic running costs of the retreat. If you choose accommodation that is offsite, the Standard Rate is £141.
Scholarship Rate: the Scholarship Rate is £109, and is available to all who cannot afford the Standard rate.
Supporter Rate: the Supporter Rate is £265. If you choose accommodation that is offsite, the Supporter Rate is £221.
The Supporter rate is an invitation to help keep HaMakom accessible to all by paying a higher rate, and thereby enabling those who would not otherwise be able to, to come on the retreat at a subsidised ‘scholarship’ rate. We are deeply grateful to all those who allow us to offer scholarship rates to those who need them. In so doing these supporters make more widely accessible the practices for grounding and healing, rooted in the Jewish tradition, which we are privileged to share.
If you cannot afford the Scholarship rate please contact our Retreat Manager, Zac at: firstname.lastname@example.org. No one will be turned away because of their financial circumstances.
Cancellations up to 2 weeks in advance are fully refundable. Cancellations less than 2 weeks in advance are not refundable. However, if you have to cancel less than 2 weeks in advance on Covid-19-related grounds, please contact us and we can discuss this individually.
Details of offsite accommodation:
The two hotels below are approx. a 10 minute drive from the retreat centre.
Three Swans Hotel
117 High Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0LZ
Tel: 01488 682721
Charnham Street, Hungerford, Berkshire, RG17 0EL
Tel: 0845 6086040
There is also a more expensive hotel in the village of Kintbury itself, a few minutes’ drive from the retreat centre:
The Dundas Arms
Tel: +44 (0) 1488 658 263
53 Station Road, Kintbury Hungerford RG17 9UT
IMPORTANT: Please make your own arrangements with the hotel if you choose to stay offsite and let us know where you will be staying.
The Benefits of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation
(from: The Institute for Jewish Spirituality)
We are dedicated to introducing this practice into the Jewish world for several reasons:
- to enliven and enhance Jewish prayer, celebration, ritual and community;
- to be part of working for the betterment of our fragile and vulnerable planet; and
- to recognize the true and deep sources of happiness in a world filled with seductive, competing and ultimately unsatisfying short-term fixes.
How can Mindfulness Meditation Help?
Mindfulness meditation is training the mind. Just as we go to the gym to make our bodies stronger and more flexible, so mind training helps make our minds more spacious, perceptive and most of all free.
We train our capacity to pay attention by turning our attention, like a flashlight, on our own minds. This helps us see more clearly the nature of our own minds. We become aware of the patterns and habits that run our lives but have not been previously visible.
We begin to realize that these patterns and habits may serve our goals, desires, and purposes – but often they do not. We start to realize that there actually is a “pause button” built into our system. This pause button can be activated when we become triggered by an event outside ourselves and are tempted to act in reactive, patterned and unskilful ways.
The “pause button” wakes us up, creates a space in our mind where we can ask the question: ”What is the skilful, wholesome, wise, goal oriented action I need to take in this moment?” “What are my choices here?” The development of this capacity for inner freedom is why we train in mindfulness. This can be profoundly useful in our lives, especially in our relationships, and in any task we undertake to realize our dreams or express our creativity.
By cultivating attention, we are also able to feel more satisfied with each moment of our experience.
We learn to rest in this moment as it unfolds.
We learn to bring our awareness to the flow of energy in the body which is the very miracle of our aliveness. We learn to be more receptive to the fullness of each moment, rather than resisting what has already occurred or projecting what is not yet here. We learn to notice the arising and passing of all experience, recognizing how short and precious this life is.
We learn to treasure each day for the miracle it is. This is itself a source of happiness. According to modern neuroscience, the mind is a dynamic flow of experiences rather than a fixed state. When we experience this for ourselves, we feel less isolated, less caught in judgment and adversity, and more open to the mystery and majesty of this very life.
Being in Peace & Quiet / Social Silence
You are invited to experience the Retreat in peace & quiet/social silence. This means that after Friday night dinner until we break the silence on Sunday afternoon, we invite you to observe silence at all times.
Spending time in silence can be a powerful way to support the deepening of meditative calm and insight. Being together in this way is an opportunity for us to explore a degree of solitude, while having the support of the group.
Being in silence can foster a sense of safety and refuge. Through letting go of the familiar world of words we can give ourselves the opportunity to find space from the complexity of personal interaction, and to see our mind and its activity more clearly.
Experiencing life directly, rather than through language and concepts, allows us to develop insight into the way things are. This direct seeing is the foundation for inner peace, wisdom and compassion.
There will be periods each day for asking questions. Each person will also have the opportunity for small group time with one of the teachers over the weekend, where you can describe your practice and discuss anything that is arising for you.
We will explain how the silence will work, what to do if you need to speak to someone and answer any questions at the start of the retreat.
Please Register Here