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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 Afternoon Mini-Retreat
Saturday, February 16
This Winter's meditation mini-retreat at Beth Israel Center will be led jointly by Matt Banks and Rabbi Betsy Forester.  Come and join us for an afternoon of meditation, chanting and teachings on the theme of "listening to our lives.” We will focus on learning to use contemplative practice and the traditions of Judaism to find our way in a world that often seems chaotic and random, discovering clarity and authenticity in the moment that derives from our divine nature and our connection to the eternal unfolding of Being.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.