Five years of Elat Chayyim

Awakening the heart

Okay, I can't help thinking that the Grossly Biased Guide to the Berkshires is the coolest new website I've seen this week, but that's probably because we made it ourselves here in my house of geekery. Besides that, though, the coolest website I've found this week is The Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism.

As their about page explains,

The mission of Awakened Heart Project is to promote the use of Jewish contemplative techniques that foster the development of a heart of wisdom and compassion. Cultivating an awakened heart leads to acting in the world with loving-kindness towards all beings recognizing them as manifestations of the Holy One of Being.

The site includes an introduction to Jewish meditation, practice instructions (a podcast introduction to contemplative Jewish prayer), Jewish chants (including a podcast of a complete contemplative morning service featuring guitar, chanting, and space for prayer), and a library of articles and meditation talks.

The list of teachers is a veritable who's who of the contemplative Jewish world: R' Alan Lew (I reviewed his book about the Days of Awe here), R' Jeff Roth (my first teacher of Jewish meditation -- I've blogged many of his teachings) and R' Joanna Katz, Abbot Norman Fischer (whose Zen-inspired psalms I reviewed here), R' Sheila Peltz Weinberg (who led the workshop on Jewish contemplative practice before the Panim trans-denominational rabbinic student retreat), and Sylvia Boorstein (author of That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist.) If you're interested in Jewish contemplative practice, there is no finer group of teachers.

This is an awesome resource, and it's entirely free. (My teacher Reb Marcia counsels that one should give tzedakah each week before Shabbat begins; this week my pre-Shabbat donation is going to be a small gift to the Awakened Heart Project, because I'm so moved by what they're doing and how they're doing it.) A hearty yasher koach to everyone involved!

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