Be Still, Be Quiet, Be Happy:
A 7-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
With Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper, Eliezer Sobel,
Beth Resnick-Folk and Jay Michaelson
Sunday, December 22 – Sunday, December 29, 2013
Produced by Elat Chayyim Center for Jewish Spirituality in partnership with the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn
A special message from Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper:
"Due to aging and increasing health issues, this must be our last winter retreat. We are asking some of the generation of younger teachers to join us this year as a signal of that transition. This is very bittersweet for us as we've treasured the many retreats we've led with Elat Chayyim at Isabella Freedman over the years. It is our pleasure to have Beth Resnick-Folk and Jay Michaelson, along with Eliezer Sobel, leading the retreat with us this year. We hope that you can join us for this retreat to sit in the sacred presence of this always-transitioning moment. —With love, David and Shoshana."
Highlights of this retreat include:
- Sitting and Walking Meditation, with Instruction
- 5Rhythms® Movement practice
- Musical Chanting Prayer sessions, including for Shabbat
- Silent meals to cultivate the practice of mindful eating
- Evening Teachings drawing on Jewish and Buddhist sources
- Consultations with retreat leaders and small group work
- Daily Yoga classes with Dara Silverman to support and enhance meditation
- Fire-gazing in our contemplative lounge space
- Healthy and nourishing kosher meals from the AdamahFoods kitchen
- Enjoy the magnificent beauty of a Berkshires winter paradise
Whether you are a beginning or advanced student of meditation, deepen your moment-to-moment awareness in the "friendly" silence at this longtime popular retreat. Enjoy peace of mind and awaken to the boundless nature of "being present" through silent sitting, chanting, walking meditations, insight dialogue and inquiry, and wisdom teachings from Zoharic, Hasidic, Zen and Dzogchen sources.
Click here to download a past schedule for this retreat. Though times and activities will vary slightly, this will give you a general idea of what to expect. Click here to read more about Silent Retreating.
Please note that the fees for this retreat cover only room and board, with no tuition charged to pay the teachers, who rely solely on your voluntary contributions at the end of the week.
If you're new to Isabella Freedman, check out our Frequently Asked Questions for information about where we're located, arrival and departure times, what to bring, etc.
Register by November 24th and save $25
All-inclusive weeklong rates start at just $483 per person. Click the purple button to the right for information, rates, and to register online. Online registration is for full credit card payments only. If you would like to pay in installments, pay by check, or apply approved financial aid, please email email@example.com or call 800.398.2630 x4.
A seven-day silent retreat is a very powerful and intense commitment. It requires strong discipline and focus on the part of participants in respecting the retreat rules and guidelines. All registrants will be contacted by our program leaders for a brief intake interview to ensure your preparedness for full retreat participation.
You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered and made a payment online or by phone. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We strive to make our programs affordable to everyone.
Click here for information about Financial Aid.
Rabbi David Cooper is the author of many books, including The Handbook of Jewish Meditation Practices, God is a Verb and Ecstatic Kabbalah. He has also published a number of audio-sets with Sounds True, including Mystical Kabbalah and Seeing Through the Eyes of God. Rabbi Cooper has led workshops and retreats in the US, Israel, Holland, Poland, New Zealand and Australia. His teachings offer a Jewish perspective that is complemented by the wisdom of other schools including Sufism, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. www.rabbidavidcooper.com
Shoshana Cooper is an artist, Tea Ceremony teacher, meditation instructor, composer and former nursing instructor. Shoshana has become a leader in the growing popularity of Jewish Meditation. She and David taught at the Jewish Renewal Kallah for twelve years and they lived in the Old City of Jerusalem for the previous eight years. Together with Eliezer Sobel they produced the Songs of Prayer and Silence CD and songbook.
Eliezer Sobel is the author of five books, including Minyan: Ten Jewish Men in a World That is Heartbroken, which won the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel; The 99th Monkey, a spiritual memoir; and the recent Blue Sky, White Clouds: A Book for Memory-Challenged Adults, one of the very few books available that is designed specifically for dementia patients. He is also a musician and accompanies daily chanting services at the retreat, as well as afternoon classes in the 5Rhythms™ movement practice as developed by Gabrielle Roth. Eliezer has been co-teaching with the Coopers for 18 years, and together they produced Songs of Prayer and Silence, a CD of original chants. See eliezersobel.com for more information.
Beth Resnick-Folk began searching for truth and peace of mind in her early teenage years. She probed the depths of western philosophy, romantic relationship, art and creativity, and world religion, to finally discover, at age 21, that everything is profoundly okay and that nothing is separate. Over the past 14 years, she has practiced extensively with world-class spiritual teachers, including Rabbi David and Shoshana Cooper, Adyashanti, and various teachers at Insight Meditation Society. In 2005, she was asked to teach by her long-time mentor, Shoshana Cooper. Beth works primarily with students 1-on-1 over Skype and leads in-person and virtual programs with her husband, meditation teacher, Kenneth Folk. She sincerely believes in the radical power of these practices to help people suffer less and find peace in their lives.
Dr. Jay Michaelson is a writer and activist. He is the author of five books, most recently Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism and the Next Generation of Enlightenment. Other writings include God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and amazon.com bestseller, and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala), as well as two hundred articles in various publications. His contemplative journey includes twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term vipassana retreats in the United States and Nepal, and he is currently an adviser to the Varieties of Meditative Experience project at Brown University. His first meditation retreat was with the Coopers in 2002, and he subsequently completed the Jewish Meditation Advanced Training program with them.
Dara Silverman is a yoga teacher, consultant and Somatic coach to social justice leaders, organizations and funders. Dara's classes aim to create a space for people of size, queer people, people with chronic illness and pain and others who might not feel comfortable in most yoga studios or spaces. Dara was certified to teach yoga at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2008. She has a fifteen year personal yoga practice. She feels lucky to have studied with many great teachers in the Ashtanga, Iyengar, Forrest and Kripalu lineages. Dara co-created The Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah in 2003. She was the Executive Director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) in New York City from 2003-2009.
About Silent Retreating
A weeklong silent retreat is one of the essential and most important practices for any spiritual aspirant. Each spiritual discipline and many teachers have unique practices, schedules, relationships between the teachers and students along with other nuances of the training. The retreats offered by the Coopers and Eliezer have their own flavor.
On our retreats, the silence we emphasize has two important qualities: 1) it is "friendly," that is to say we do not have to cut ourselves off from other retreatants (for example, a smile or small gesture may be used as long as there is no demand for reciprocation) and 2) the focus of our silence is on the "inner" rather than the outer plane.
So in our "silence," we actually chant and sing together every morning. In some instruction periods, questions or comments are invited from the participants. Retreatants have opportunities to engage teachers, either one-on-one or in small groups. All this is considered part of the silence of social conversation.
Therefore, in our silence we are committed to not engage one another on a social level. We do not have mundane conversations. We do not greet one another verbally. And we refrain from using our cellphones and other technological devices. Why is all this so important? The answer is that something happens deep within each of us when we maintain an outer silence as described. An inner silence for practitioners on our retreats arises after a few days. It is a spaciousness that makes itself known on a very deep level. We experience an ease that is uniquely satisfying and deeply fulfilling on some kind of soul level that is inexplicable. We begin to feel profoundly connected with others around us, even though we are not speaking. And we begin to experience a fascinating integration with our surroundings, nature, and life.
It is true that initially, for the first few days, the experience may feel a bit strange. We are social beings. But we are also very adaptable and soon we begin to realize the extraordinary wonder of the possibility of a moment-to-moment connection with what is happening right nowÑthe magic and mystery of the unfolding NOW. When this happens, the silence becomes a precious gift. Indeed, on our retreats, after the third or fourth day, retreatants love the silence so much they want it to last as long as possible.
The fees for retreats are for room and board only. There is no tuition for teachers, however, free will donations will be invited at the end of the retreat.