About this Retreat
Beyond the fun of costumes, feasting and partying, there is a deep paradoxical teaching in the Jewish festival of Purim. On the one hand, we are to remember Esther and Mordechai, who stood up for who they were. On the other hand, we are to drink “ad de lo yadah“, “until we don’t know”, until we can’t differentiate between evil Haman and good Mordechai.
In this one day retreat, HaMakom invites you into the spiritual practice of Purim, as we take our seats and explore the relativity of the roles and categories we inherit and replay. Through meditating, praying, chanting and learning, we will practice how being ourselves, while freeing ourselves and others from (self-) imposed images, can bring more happiness in everyday life.
The retreat will combine mindfulness meditation, traditional Jewish meditation techniques such as Chesed, cheshbon nefesh and kavvanah, food meditation, walking meditation, chanting, learning and sharing.
Everyone, no matter your level of experience in meditation or Jewish spirituality, is welcome.
Our in-person venue is: Jewish Vegetarian Society, 855 Finchley Rd, London NW11 8LX. Click here for more information about the Jewish Vegetarian Society.
Dr Mira Neshama Niculescu is a Paris-born scholar and teacher of Jewish spirituality and meditation. She earned a Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion at Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris (EHESS) and is a Post-Doctoral Golda Meir Fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Oxford Centre for Judaism and Hebrew Studies, researching the phenomenon of Judaism and Buddhism and the current revival of Jewish Meditation. A certified Jewish Mindfulness Teacher with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) and a certified vinyasa ashtanga Yoga teacher, Mira is an Orthodox Smicha Fellow at the Yeshiva Har’El in Jerusalem.
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.
We are sensitive to two things in particular in relation to Covid-19, and the in-person aspect of this hybrid retreat:
1) There will no longer be any legal Covid-19 restrictions at the time of this retreat.
2) We wish to do everything we can to keep everyone safe.
With these in mind:
– We have limited the numbers joining in-person, so there will be space to maintain social distancing for those that wish to.
– We will keep windows open for ventilation whatever the weather, so please bring clothes/blankets to keep yourself warm.
– Wearing a mask will be optional for each individual.
– We ask everyone to bring their own lunch.
– If, between booking a place on the retreat and the retreat itself, you experience Covid symptoms or are asked to self-isolate and therefore are unable to attend, a full refund will be issued.
– If you are clinically vulnerable, please make your own decision about whether this retreat will be safe for you.
We ask everyone coming in person to take a lateral flow test in the 24 hours prior to the retreat, and if the test is positive to refrain from attending. A full refund will be issued in this case.
If you would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact Zac, on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you and will support as best we can.
The registration fees are the same whether you join in-person or online.
Standard Rate: £35
Scholarship Rate: £15 – available to all who cannot afford the Standard rate
Supporter Rate: £65
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 rate. We are deeply grateful to all those who allow us to offer scholarship rates to those who need them, and make available practices for grounding and healing rooted in the Jewish tradition.
Retreat fees go solely towards HaMakom’s operating expenses, and do not include payment to Dr Mira Niculescu for leading our retreat. In the Jewish tradition of generosity/Chesed, the teachings are offered freely. At the end of the retreat, there will be an invitation to make a donation to Mira in support of her livelihood and ongoing teaching.
If you cannot afford the Scholarship rate please contact our Retreat Manager, Zac at: email@example.com. No one will be turned away because of their financial circumstances.
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.
Please Register Here