Holy days
Article online

Planning ahead

I'm trying to decide which summer retreat to attend at Elat Chayyim. Yes, I realize it's only March, but schedules have a way of filling up. I've just been asked to do a Shabbat evening lecture/reading on Jewish poetry (my own as well as others') at my shul in July or August, and I can't schedule that until I pick my week away. And I need to schedule the poetry talk this week. So I'm planning ahead.

Two retreats are particularly tempting to me: Sharing Spiritual Wisdom: A Course in Deep Ecumenism taught by Rabbi Shaya Isenberg (July 18-24), and A Jewish Meditation Practice for Real Life: Be Still and Get Going taught by Rabbi Alan Lew (August 8-14). Both of these teachers are people I've long wanted to meet; both of these subjects hold my interest pretty strongly.

I'm slightly more tempted towards the Deep Ecumenism class, given how drawn I feel to interfaith work. It's a morning class only (the Lew class is all-day), so I'd have the option of also taking an afternoon workshop on Jewish Conflict Resolution, which doesn't excite me that much but I've heard great things about Rabbi Daniel Siegel, who's the rabbinic director for Aleph. "Take professors, not classes" was good advice in college, and it probably still holds; if I go in July, I'll get to work with two rabbis whose work I admire.

Then again, I'm also a big fan of Rabbi Lew's work; I wrote about his book One God Clapping back in 2003. (I'm also oddly intrigued by the fact that he pursued an MFA in writing twelve years before seeking rabbinic ordination.) On the proverbial other hand, my meditative focus isn't great, so I might get more out of the Ecumenism class than I would out of a meditation workshop. On the other other hand, maybe that's exactly why I should sign up for the meditation one! 

If you know any of these teachers and can offer insight, please do! I'm having trouble making up my mind, so if you've studied with any of these folks before, please tell me about it.