Like the Radiance of the Sky: Enlightened Living

A HaMakom Mindfulness Retreat

Sunday 1 August, 10am-4pm, Arkley Village Hall

The book of Daniel says that at the end of days “many that ‘sleep in the dust’ will awaken and the enlightened will shine like the radiance of the sky”. On this day retreat we will explore how this verse presages our times, and how mindful awareness, as the ground of Jewish ethics, paves the way for an enlightened society. We will also introduce the Kabbalistic approach to meditation and its expedient means to quiet the mind and access the stillness within.

We are delighted to welcome Rabbi Dan Gigi as our teacher for this retreat. Rabbi Gigi is the founder of Maayan Hatum: Centre for Contemplative Judaism. He has a background in zazen, yoga and mindfulness, is an author on the Ecstatic Kabbalah and an exponent of the Hasidic School of Izhbitsa-Radzyn.

The day will include periods of meditation, chanting and teaching, as well as opportunities to share and connect with each other. Members of the HaMakom faculty will facilitate alongside Rabbi Gigi. No particular meditation experience will be assumed or required.

Our venue is:

Arkley Village Hall, Brickfield Lane, Arkley, EN5 3LD

Click here for more information about Arkley Village Hall.

If you have any questions, or you would like to discuss something, please contact our Retreat Manager, Zac, at: He is here to help, and will welcome hearing from you.
We are sensitive to two things in particular in relation to Covid-19: 
1) There will no longer be any legal Covid-19 restrictions at the time of this retreat.
2) There remain risks nonetheless, and we wish to do everything we can to keep everyone safe.
With these in mind:
– We have limited numbers for this retreat to one-third of the venue’s stated capacity, so there will be plenty of 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.
If you would like to discuss anything further, please feel free to contact our Retreat Manager, Zac, on We are here for you and will support as best we can. 

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 the teachers 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 the teachers and to offer additional financial support to HaMakom.

If you cannot afford the Scholarship rate please contact our Retreat Manager, Zac at: 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.


Meditation retreats can be beautiful and powerful journeys of healing and transformation. However, due to the intensity of the experience, they are not necessarily safe and appropriate for everyone at all times. We therefore ask potential participants to be aware of the following: If you have suffered an episode of mania in the last six months this retreat is not safe and appropriate for you. Please do join us on retreat when there has been more than six months since your last episode of mania. If you have ever received a diagnosis of psychosis, intensive meditation retreat is not safe and appropriate for you.

If you have a history of trauma or serious mental health challenges, retreat may be appropriate and beneficial for you. It is important that you are in touch with us in advance so that we can ensure this retreat will be supportive for you. We want to make retreat as welcoming as possible, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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