Find your doorway. Find your light.








Is a communal Jewish educator in the Chicago area. She has taught in a variety of Jewish educational settings, including the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School for seven years, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicagoland Jewish High School, Chicago Jewish Day School and a variety of freelance workshops. Rebecca received a B.A. in Jewish Studies from Princeton University, a M.Ed. from DePaul University, and a M.A. from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago with a focus on Modern Jewish Thought and the philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig. Upon graduation from college, Rebecca spent a year doing community organizing on the west side of Chicago while also leading Jewish environmental backpacking trips, which combined her passion for social action and her love of Jewish teaching. She lives in Skokie with her husband and her three children.


Is the founder of Jane Shapiro Associates, a consulting practice working with Jewish organizations around vision, adult learning, curriculum and professional development. Formerly she was the Associate Director of the Florence Melton School,working with teachers across North America and Israel and assisting new communities in the development of Melton school sites. She has taught or consulted with organizations ranging from the American Jewish Committee, United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Her classes on Jewish Thought and Torah have been ongoing for about ten years. She received her doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in May 2016. She is a graduate of Princeton University and also studied Jewish History at Columbia University. She is a graduate of the Mandel Teachers Institute and Vision Projects. She is passionate about all aspects of Jewish teaching and learning. In 2004 she founded Kol Sasson, a partnership minyan in Skokie, Illinois and continues to serve as Gabbai.


Sam Feinsmith has been immersed in the world of Jewish contemplative living, learning, and teaching for over a decade. He seeks to transform the landscape of Jewish life in Chicago and beyond by teaching mindfulness in a Jewish framework to promote self-care and a deepening of wisdom and compassion. He has served as a consultant on a number of cutting-edge projects related to prayer, spirituality, and education and has conducted Jewish meditation workshops and retreats for young children, teens, and Jewish educators and community leaders. Sam currently directs the Center for Jewish Mindfulness at Orot, and the Educating for a Jewish Spiritual Life pilot at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. He lives in Skokie with his wife Sarah-Bess and his daughter Elanit Shefa.


Is Director of Regional Programing for the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (New York) and is a co-founder and director of the Center for Jewish Mindfulness in Chicago. Jordan was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2008, after which he served as rabbi at Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Glencoe, IL. Prior to pursuing his rabbinical studies, Jordan studied Conservation Biology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, spent several months at Zen centers in California and France, and studied Jewish text at the Conservative Yeshiva and Machon Pardes in Jerusalem. He lives in Deerfield, IL with his wife Yael and their three children.




Hear what Orot's students are saying.

  • Pearl Mattenson

  • Mona Fishbane

  • Michael Bloom

  • Peter Levavi

  • Aaron Voldman

  • Cindy Pogrund

  • Leah Rubin

Pearl Mattenson

I didn't know what to expect when I attended an Orot Yom Iyun. I had the opportunity to sit with a group of Jews from surrounding communities- we came from different backgrounds and had even more diverse views. The teachers of Orot somehow created an incredibly intimate and safe space to study complex texts, and help us, the learners, imbue the texts with deep personal meaning. Too often a spiritual experience comes at the expense of learning serious content. Not at Orot.  I am deeply grateful for what they are offering.

Mona Fishbane

I have been studying at Orot weekly since classes started this Fall, learning the wisdom of the Kedushat Levi with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith. I find the teaching intellectually stimulating, spiritually uplifting, and Jewishly enriching. Orot brings a much-needed opportunity to the Chicago area to study Jewish texts in depth, along with an opportunity to practice mindfulness in a Jewish context, and to reflect on our own spiritual development as we learn from wonderful teachers. I have been a student all my life, and my studies at Orot are among the best I have experienced. Orot is a gem in our community.

Michael Bloom

Orot has been truly inspiring. As someone who grew up unaffiliated, I traditionally haven't had much of a connection to or understanding of what it means to be Jewish. I wasn't someone who grew up going to a day school. I didn't go to Jewish summer camp. I didn't go to synagogue. I was Jewish by birth and that was about it. In retrospect, I think the two main reasons for my lack of "affiliation" were (1) a general lack of exposure and (2) an absolute lack of knowledge or understanding of the Jewish texts.

As I've grown up, i've gotten a lot more exposure, but still lacked the knowledge of the texts. Orot has been a God-send to me. It's really filled a void that I believe exists in the community: text-based study outside of the traditional confines of an affiliation (synagogue) or movement. The teachers are some of the brightest Jewish minds in the area and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to study with them.

Peter Levavi

Orot offers something unique and valuable to our community, adult Jewish learning in an egalitarian setting taught by top scholars who are star teachers, at convenient times and locations.  I have loved attending classes on Jewish Meditation, holidays, Jewish texts, and art. It is like being part of a salon, without having to wait for an invitation.

Aaron Voldman

Learning with Orot has inspired me time and again to keep returning to our shared Jewish mindfulness practice. The insights shared linger with me "off the cushion," and the Torah they teach helps me more meaningfully connect with our sacred texts. In times of difficulty, Orot teachers and the Orot community have helped me see challenges with greater clarity and to engage challenges--as well as myself--with a little more compassion.  Orot helps meet that interest by showing how mindfulness practice and Jewish tradition can beautifully go hand in hand. 

Cindy Pogrund

Coincidentally as I was beginning to look for a mindfulness and meditation class I was introduced to Orot. What an "aha moment” it was when I realized I could study and practice mindfulness meditation through a Jewish lens. Before Orot I had never considered melding my Judaism with meditation. They were separate aspects of my life.  I really like the ability to take something I am passionate about and use it to explore my Judaism and vice versa rather than keeping them separate.

Leah Rubin

As a mother of 3 young kids, it has been years since I committed to weekly Jewish learning. My parsha class with Rebecca at Orot has been instrumental in guiding me back to parsha of the week.  It has not only given me new insights into Torah learning, but has connected the weekly parsha in the most personal way...to my life and challenged me to think and grow in new ways. I look forward to this class each week!