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‎מרחב הלב

Merchav Ha'Lev, The Madison Center for Jewish Meditation

Founded in 2017, the Madison Center for Jewish Meditation offers practice sessions, mini-retreats and classes focused on exploring contemplative practice through a traditional Jewish lens. All are welcome, from folks new to meditation to experienced practitioners, Jews and non-Jews alike. You need only bring your mind.

MCJM draws its inspiration from two shabbatons organized at BIC in 2015 by Rabbi Joshua Ben-Gideon and led by Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell, program director for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS). Rabbi Bendat-Appell brought teachings that inspired many in our community to explore meditation and Jewish observance in an entirely new way. The teachings offered by MCJM are drawn from sacred Jewish texts, classical Hasidic and neo-Hasidic interpretations of those texts, as well from the Buddhist teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and Tergar, the meditation community of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.

The Center's Director is Matthew I. Banks, Ph.D., a member of Beth Israel Center since 1999. Dr. Banks is a neuroscientist who is trained as a Jewish mindfulness meditation teacher by the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Dr. Banks has been leading meditation in the Madison Jewish community since 2015.

Questions? Please write to us at

Upcoming Programs:

Shabbat Morning Meditation
1st & 3rd Saturdays
On hiatus, resuming February 3
Come to Beth Israel Center for meditation, chanting, and discussion. You may enter or leave quietly at any time. These sessions serve as preparation for Birchot HaShachar (which begin at 9:30 in the main sanctuary), Shacharit (which typically starts around 9:50 in the main sanctuary), or Torah Service (which typically begins around 10:10). When Talmud Torah is in session, we will meet in Classroom 3, which is on the far side of the library on the lower level. When Talmud Torah is not in session, we will meet in the Small Sanctuary.

Shabbat Afternoon Mini-Retreat
Saturday, February 10
The theme of the retreat will be "Seeing and Doing". We will focus on connecting with ("seeing") our Divine nature through meditation, and using that practice to change our relationship to our experience, to the people in our lives, and to all creatures everywhere ("doing").  The program is free and accessible to all, from beginners to experienced practitioners. Come join us for an afternoon of meditation, chanting, text study and discussion. Click here to help spread the word on Facebook.