Looking upon leads to awareness. Awareness leads to action. Talmud, Menachot 43b

Orot supports the contemporary and timeless practice of Jewish mindfulness in Chicago. Through our direct experience of Jewish wisdom, we strengthen our capacity to live with awareness, generosity and compassion.


The Orot Compassion Project, which we will launch in the fall of 2017, will benefit social service providers at the Ark Chicago, Jewish Child and Family Services and its subsidiaries, Shalva, Ezra Multi-service Center, the Selfhelp Home, and other organizations that provide services to Chicago’s Jewish poor, mentally ill, and marginalized. The Orot Compassion Project is a new pilot project at Orot. It provides Jewish mindfulness instruction to social service providers to promote self-care and greater attunement and empathy in clinical interventions.


Me and You: Interpersonal Mindfulness

Sun,May 6 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Heartwood Center - 1818 Dempster, Evanston, IL
Me and You: Practicing Interpersonal Mindfulness, Cultivating Loving Connection
a half-day mindfulness retreat with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

Sunday, May 6th - 9:30am - 12:30 pm

Those who meditate are sometimes accused of navel gazing.  In fact, meditation practice can be used as an escape, a way to retreat into ourselves and avoid friction when our relationships feel challenging and unpleasant.  Yet the mindfulness practices we teach at Orot are specifically designed to help us develop the skills to be more present and responsive in the face of difficulty so that we might strengthen our capacity to connect with others more lovingly.  Join us on May 6th for a half-day mindfulness meditation and mindful communication retreat with Rabbi Sam Feinsmith to deepen your capacity for loving connection.  We will use the intention of the 36th day of the omer count, chesed sh'b'yesod (love within connection) as the lens for our practice.  The retreat includes text study and silent meditation, followed by paired mindful communication and listening exercises.  No prior experience with Jewish text study or meditation required.  Invite a friend, a spouse, a child (high school and up), a parent, or anyone else with whom you'd like to connect more lovingly.  Or come alone and connect with new people.  Remember, mindfulness is never forced.  Bring people who express genuine interest to explore and grow. 

advance registration - $25/person    
at the door - $30/person

Orot Compassion Project: Jewish mindfulness training cohort for social service providers

various agency locations
The Orot Compassion Project
generously supported by the JUF Breakthrough Fund

Through this immersive yearlong course of study and practice designed to develop mindfulness-based skills in a Jewish framework, participants will acquire:

  • A concrete toolkit for self-care at home and at work
  • Confidence at administering mindfulness-based clinical interventions in a Jewish framework
  • A supportive and safe community of compassionate colleague-practitioners 
  • A deeper connection to Judaism as a source of wisdom and support during difficult times
Participants will benefit from the following outcomes, which will in turn support more effective clinical interventions:

  • A deepening of present-moment non-judgmental awareness of self and others 
  • Increase in compassion and empathic curiosity for self and others
  • Improvement in overall sense of wellbeing
  • Greater resiliency in the face of challenging circumstances
  • The ability to assert loving, firm boundaries grounded in discernment and compassion
  • Reduction in job-related stress and anxiety; increase in job satisfaction and motivation
  • Decrease in reactivity; increase in self-regulation, responsiveness, and discernment
  • A deeper sense of interconnection with colleagues and clients
This training includes:

  • An 8-week opening study and practice course on mindfulness and self-care in a Jewish context
  • An 8-week course of study and practice on integrating mindfulness in a Jewish framework into clinical interventions
  • A workbook of essential texts, tools, practices, and skills to support your personal practice and deliver mindfulness to clients
Interim practice support through:

  • Monthly chevruta (partner) study and practice check-ins with a member of the cohort
  • Monthly spiritual direction with Compassion Project staff
  • Recorded guided meditations
  • Tools for tracking your personal progress
  • Availability of faculty by email for consultation
  • A community of practice to support your personal growth and learning
  • An immersive residential weekend practice retreat
  • Evaluation by a third-party evaluator
Important dates:

Fall 2017 8-week course on mindfulness and self-care in a Jewish framework: 8:30 - 10:00 am - Oct. 16, 23, 20, Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4
Winter 2018 residential retreat: Feb. 22- 25
Spring 2018 8-week course on integrating mindfulness in a Jewish framework into interventions: 8:30 - 10:00 am - April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

24 CEU’s available

Registration open to case workers, clinicians, social workers, and adminstrators working at a Jewish social service agency

Register here by September 20, 2017

Cost to clinicians working at Jewish social service agency: $100 
Cost to the social-service agency: $250
Cost for independent practitioners: $350 per participant

**The agency must submit the institutional agreement and fee before the individual clinician can register

The course is brought you by Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning

Orot: Center for New Jewish Learning offers classes, programs, and retreats that provides opportunities for cultivating transformative habits of body, heart, and mind that lead to greater life wisdom, meaning, and compassion. Orot designs learning experiences that integrate ancient Jewish wisdom with meditation, yoga, music, art, and creative writing in an attempt to empower and support individuals as they open up new pathways into Jewish meaning and look to use Judaism as a source for personal, relational, and communal transformation.

The Orot Compassion Project is designed and delivered by expert teachers in the field of teaching evidence-based mindfulness practices to clinicians in a Jewish framework, including:

Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Ellen Rosen-Kaplan, LCSW
Laurie Garber-Amram