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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
November 4 & 18, December 2 & 16, etc.
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.

A Taste of Kivvun Retreat
November 8-12
Rensselaerville, NY
This opportunity from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality is for anyone interested in the Kivvun program to get a taste of the beauty, spirit, and joyful, engaged practice to be found on Kivvun retreats. Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg will be sharing teachings from her new book, God Loves the Stranger. More info