Jewish Spiritual Education:
For principals, teachers, JCC, Hillel and camp staff, storytellers, librarians, guidance counselors, clergy & new paradigm Jewish program innovators
This Jewish Spiritual Education (JSE) training program reclaims the traditional role of maggid as a master educator who inspires and guides the Jewish journeys of students of all ages. Trainees become professional sacred storytellers and guides, developing a substantial repertoire of more than fifty Jewish spiritual practices (mitzvot) that are paired with sacred and contemporary stories, texts, tikkun olam approaches and awareness practices, including mussar, InterPlay, hashpa'ah (Jewish spiritual guidance and development), meditation, and the arts.
Designed as a two-year certificate program or three-year ordination training, this program is comprised of weekly video-conference classes, annual retreat intensives, and regular face-to-face videoconference field-work supervision, storytelling coaching and hashpa'ah (spiritual guidance and development) with our faculty of master teachers.
JSE interweaves these four specific topics because these inspire love, transmission and retention of Jewish learning and living. Our goal is for educators to learn how to support Jews to love life, respect life and choose life.
Our goal for MITZVAH is to deepen your capacity to connect students to at least fifty of these life-affirming spiritual practices that support healthy relationships while providing a meaningful Jewish lens for living throughout each day. This is an advanced approach to mitzvah studies geared to Jewish educators' professional and personal lives and learning.
Our goal for MUSSAR is to prepare you to nurture the development of your students by learning the primary mindfulness practices as developed by the gentle, empowering and deep Kelm School of mussar.
Our goal for MAGGID is to ensure that you attain a substantial repertoire of relevant traditional & contemporary mitzvah & mussar stories, along with advancing your storytelling skills into the guidance dimension associated with maggidut.
Our goal for HASHPA'AH is supporting your own spiritual development and that of your students, through classical methods, as well as those derived from the contemplative, healing, creative and expressive practices, activism and the arts. You will also receive support in reflecting upon and fine-tuning the applications of this program in your life & work.
EXAMPLE OF A MAGGID-EDUCATOR SM IN ACTION
The educator gives them InterPlay movements, sounds and gestures to express the feeling of a grudge, and then invites their personal "grudge" stories. Almost every hand goes up to share—from the youngest to the eldest. As the educator guides the soulful exploration of personal experience—burdens begin to lift. The light of Torah, mitzvah-centered lives, shines through the radiant faces and body language of all present.
Returning to the text for the mitzvah and middah, the students dive in—for now they understand from the inside! Soon a tikkun olam initiative emerges, as students are invited and guided to imagine, plan and implement ways to bring their learning experience into action.
What Our Trainees are Saying:
"When I heard Peninnah's first story, a new world opened. JSE is the new paradigm for training
Jewish educators. You will use everything you learn!"
—Danielle Kassin, Director of Education, Sinai Temple Religious School, LA
Fees: $1450/year plus the retreat which varies in cost annually based on location. Partial scholarships are available.
Note: Our first three-year class is full; the ordination retreat will be Aug 3-10, 2017. Applications are now available for the next class that begins Fall 2017. Contact Rabbi Goldie Milgram, Dean of Jewish Spiritual Education, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-500-5696 (Cell).
Peninnah Schram, Dean of Stories. Peninnah is a storyteller, teacher, author and recording artist, is also Professor of Speech and Drama at Stern College of Yeshiva University. She is author of twelve books of Jewish folktales, including The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish Folktales, and recorded a CD, The Minstrel and the Storyteller with singer/guitarist Gerard Edery. Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning (Reclaiming Judaism Press) was published in her honor. Peninnah is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Outstanding Jewish Educator (1995) awarded by The Covenant Foundation. She has been awarded the National Storytelling Network’s 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award “For sustained and exemplary contributions to storytelling in America.” Penninah Schram is retiring from our faculty September 2017. We are incredibly grateful for her creativity, guidance, and teaching and wish her well on her new directions and projects!
Cassandra Sagan has devoted her life to helping others access their creative brilliance through poetry, storytelling, movement, and Torah. For twenty years Cassandra taught as a Poet in the Classroom, pre-schoolers through high school, adults and seniors; in gifted, new immigrant, and special needs classrooms; editing and producing almost 100 volumes of student writing. An ukulele toting singer/songwriter, Cassandra performs a weave of original and traditional songs and stories, while encouraging audience participation and individual expression. She is an ordained Maggid, a mosaic artist, an InterPlay leader, and has developed InterPlay Torah study, a playful approach to personal midrash, insight, and embodied Torah. She is also a contributing author to New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family.
Danny Siegel is best known for bringing the discussion of Tzedakah and doing Tikkun Olam back into Jewish communities. A well-known author, lecturer, and poet, Danny has spoken in more than 500 North American Jewish communities on personalized Tzedakah, Mitzvah heroes, and Jewish values. He is the author of numerous books, including Danny Siegel’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah Mitzvah Book: A Practical Guide For Changing the World Through Your Simcha; Heroes and Miracle Workers, a collection of essays about everyday people who are Mitzvah Heroes; Who, Me? Yes, You! — Danny Siegel’s Workbook To Help You Decide Where, When, Why, and How You Can Do Your Best Tikkun Olam; and Giving Your Money Away — How Much, How to, Why, When, and to Whom: Danny Siegel’s Practical Guide to Personalized Tzedakah. He has also published several collections of poetry and children’s stories. Danny served as the Tzedakah Resource Person on the United Synagogue Youth Israel Pilgrimage for 37 years, and is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators.
JSE Program Dean of Jewish Spiritual Education
Rabbi Goldie Milgram, DMin., MHL., MSW. Goldie founded and directs the non-profit Reclaiming Judaism & also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Reclaiming Judaism Press, providing innovative new programs and resources for meaningful Jewish living. Rabbi Milgram has worked at every level of Jewish education–religious school teacher, & principal, day school high school-co-founder, youth group director, geriatric social worker & educator, BJE director, camp, pulpit, center & campus rabbi and consultant, Federation executive, university faculty and seminary dean.
A Covenant Award finalist honored for her excellence in experiential Jewish education, she is also a widely published author, and professional Jewish storyteller. A founding NBC Health Watch program innovator & for a long-time, anchor person, for this she became the recipient of the American Cancer Society’s “Most Distinguished Citizen Award.”
Rabbinic graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, "Reb Goldie" has also received smicha (ordination) from her teacher Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z"l as rabbi, maggidah, mashpi'ah and shlicha. Her new book Reclaiming Bar/Bat Mitzvah as a Spiritual Rite of Passage is part of a body of work honored by the Covenant Foundation and co-edited with Ellen Frankel, her previous book, Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning has recently been honored by the National Jewish Book Awards. Her newest release is Seeking and Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Guidance and Development.
Batya Podos is an ordained maggid, teacher and storyteller in the Jewish tradition. She also teaches pre-b’nai mitzvah students at her congregation and is the director of “Abraham’s Tent”—an interfaith summer camp for Christian, Jewish and Muslim children. One of her goals is to have children connect with the Divine through their personal experience of the stories within their tradition. She brings to JSE and NewCaje over thirty years of experience as an artist-in-residence, educational consultant and curriculum specialist, and as a middle school drama/language arts teacher. Her new publications for young people and families include Rebecca and the Talisman of Time (Portal Center Press) and she is also a contributor to New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family (Reclaiming Judaism Press) and The Language of Life, by Milt Markewitz, which explores the meaning of the energetic patterns of the Hebrew letters. Batya also leads services, teaches from the bima, facilitates holiday celebrations, offers shabbatonim.
Mindy Shapiro, M.A, is a Jewish communal professional with 30 years of experience. She was the founding director of Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!, a program of Moving Traditions. She has also worked for other Jewish organizations including Hillel of Greater Philadelphia, International Hillel and the Gershman Y. Mindy has been studying Mussar with Rabbi Stone since 2003 and teaching since 2009. Mussar provides her with a framework for leading a more mindful life, something she helps others to do. She is also a papercut artist and teacher. Mindy serves on the editorial team for the next release from Reclaiming Judaism Press, in honor of Danny Siegel: New Mitzvah Stories for the Whole Family.
The JSE Program and Curriculum was founded, developed and first taught by: Rabbi Goldie Milgram with Batya Podos, Cassandra Sagan, Cherie Karo Schwartz, Peninnah Schram, Mindy Shapiro, and Danny Siegel.
Note: Our first three-year class is full; the ordination retreat will be Aug 3-10, 2017. Applications are now available on a rolling admissions basis for the next class that begins Fall 2017. Contact Rabbi Goldie Milgram, Dean of Jewish Spiritual Education, email@example.com, or call 914-500-5696 (cell).