Text Study 5778 (2017-18)

New York, NY
Friday, September 15, 2017
Text Study 5778 (2017-18)
Friday, September 15, 2017 - Saturday, September 15, 2018

Institute for Jewish Spirituality
121 West 27th Street #404
New York, NY 10001
United States

Join in the expanding circle of those who share in the profound and spiritually uplifting world of Torah study with the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Enrich yourself, deepen your experience of Torah study and expand the sources from which you teach by participating in the Institute’s text study program. Join us in mining these sources for useful and powerful teachings, informed by a contemplative, mindfulness-based approach.

We are excited to be offering two text study options; sign up for text study this year with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith, Rabbi Marc Margolius, or both!

Make a Window for the Word: $240
Mindful Torah: $240
Two-Subscription Package: $450

Young Learner Rate: $50 for either program, $75 for both.
If you are a student, or young professional, please email textstudy@jewishspirituality.org for information on how to register at this special reduced rate.

If you are an institution interested in a group rate, please email marab@jewishspirituality.org for more information on special pricing.

If price is a hindrance to your purchase of a subscription, please email financialaid@jewishspirituality.org to discuss a possible financial aid arrangement.

Make a Window for the Word: Sefer Ba'al Shem Tov
Hasidic Text Study with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

This year’s text study includes a weekly selection from Sefer Ba’al Shem Tov, a compendium of teachings delivered by the founder of Hasidism, Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Ba’al Shem Tov (c. 1700-1760). Our title for this year’s Hasidic text study is taken from the Ba’al Shem Tov’s re-reading of God’s commandment to Noah to make a window for the ark (in Hebrew, teivah can mean both “ark” and “word”). It is an invitation to actively engage (“make”) in the work of carving out an inner sanctuary that provides a refuge from the turbulent waters of life by saturating our inner life with awareness (“a window”), and shining that light into word (teivah) of Torah and prayer.

Each week Rabbi Sam Feinsmith will provide an annotated translation of one of the teachings on the weekly parasha (Torah portion), along with a commentary, reflection questions to connect the teaching with experience, and a practice to bring the lessons of the text into your everyday life. His commentary will support your capacity to deepen your mindfulness practice within native Jewish teachings and practices. This text study stream assumes some knowledge of Kabbalah and Hasidic text. Yet it is designed to be accessible for beginners as well. 

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith has been immersed in the world of Jewish contemplative living, learning, and teaching for over fifteen years. Serving as a consultant on a number of cutting-edge projects related to prayer, spirituality, and education, he has conducted Jewish meditation workshops and retreats for young children, teens, and Jewish educators and community leaders. After fourteen years of teaching Jewish mindfulness to teens and educators in NY and Illinois, Rabbi Feinsmith currently directs the Institute for Jewish Spirituality’s national Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life pilot for Jewish day schools and summer camps.

Mindful Torah: Engaging the Better Angels of our Nature
Torah Study with Rabbi Marc Margolius

Can Torah study help us actualize our innate potential for greater awareness, wisdom, and goodness? Explore the weekly Torah portion this year with Rabbi Marc Margolius, focusing on the integration of mindfulness practice and close attention to middot, core spiritual/ethical qualities within each of us. Rabbi Margolius will highlight and explore specific teachings arising from the text which can help us wake up, grow in discernment, and bring our best selves to the challenges of daily life.

Drawing from classic Rabbinic, Hasidic, and Mussar commentators as well contemporary sources, this study program will offer an overview of middot-related themes arising in each parasha, delving more deeply into at least one particular middah each week which can inform our spiritual practice and enhance our daily lives. Rabbi Margolius will include specific practices and reflections to help integrate the teaching into daily living each week through ongoing mindfulness practice and close attention to the week's middah. This text study aims to be fully accessible for less experienced students, while also rich and meaningful for those with more background.

Rabbi Marc Margolius is a Senior Program Director for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, directing the Institute's Hevraya (clergy alumni) and Kivvun (lay leader) programs, as well as the Tikkun Middot Project. He is rabbi emeritus at West End Synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where from 2010-2017 he developed a systemic congregational model integrating mindfulness practice with middot (spiritual/ethical values). At Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley PA from 1989-2002, Rabbi Margolius helped develop a national model of the synagogue as a Shabbat-centered community constructed around intergenerational learning.  He previously conceived and directed the Legacy Heritage Innovation Project, an initiative supporting systemic educational transformation in congregations. He was ordained in 1989 at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School.

We encourage participants to study with a partner, and will endeavor, to the extent possible, to help participants find partners for those who sign up by NOVEMBER 1. 
For questions about this registration or to inquire about student pricing, please email 


Contact Information

  • Institute for Jewish Spirituality
    (646) 461-6499

Payment Instructions

  • Payment for this program must be made by credit card at the time of subscription purchase.

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