These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Or Halev Meditation Retreat with James Jacobson-Maisels – Incredible experience!

Posted on March 28, 2013 by Stuart Matan Lithwick

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I spent the entirety of last week doing very little but learning so much!

Annie and I went on the week-long Jewish meditation retreat, taught by Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels (think Self, Soul, and Text), and Rabbi Jeff Roth, at Kibbutz Hannaton. Over the entire week, we could not talk to anyone except for participating in prayer, and could not make eye contact with anyone. Our entire week was spent sitting, walking, eating, praying, and sleeping. But believe it or not, it was honestly one of the most rejuvenating weeks that I have had in my entire life.

By limiting my outer stimulation, it gave me the space to be really aware of every moment, and to gain an awareness of my stream of thought that I never imagined could be possible! I remember waking up one morning, and while walking to the Hadar Ochel, listening to my stream of consciousness. It was incredible to find out how much was going on completely behind the scenes!

Now that we have returned to Jerusalem, all of my experiences seem more vibrant, and I feel so much more in touch with own daily experience and emotions.

If anyone is interested in trying sitting meditation, let me know! There will likely be a group of people who will be continuing a sitting practice at Pardes, and there are many sitting groups already active in Jerusalem.

Also, if anyone is interested in attending a meditation retreat by Rabbi Jacobson-Maisels or Rabbi Roth, check out the Or Halev website at

Chag Sameach!