Your Jewish Neighborhood is a weekly podcast from Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California. Each week, your host, Michele Holtz, will introduce you to clergy, educators, and other leaders from Temple Isaiah who will explore issues and topics of general interest to affiliated and unaffiliated Jews and anyone interested in the Reform Jewish movement. We hope you'll feel welcome here!
By Michele Holtz
With his mystical teachings, love for all Jews and deep passion for G-d, the 18th century mystical rabbi known as Reb Yisroel, the Baal Shem Tov unraveled the deep and mystical secrets of the Torah and sparked the souls of the masses at a time when many were at the verge of losing their ferver.<br> <br> Through principals derived from his teachings, Maayon Yisroel, which translates as "The Wellsprings of Yisroel," aims to follow in the noble tradition of rejuvenating Yiddishkeit by showing how mystical ideas can be applied to modern life. These concepts which until now, have been largely inaccessible to the English-speaking public, have the power to provide the spirituality that Jews today complain is so often lacking in their experience of Judaism, as a mechanical and technical series of laws.<br> Classes in Kabbalah and Chassidic Philosophy<br> <br> The Baal Shem Tov would frequently quote the saying of The Sages "Rachmana Liba Ba'ei" - "G-D seeks the heart." His mission was to reveal the Soul and ignite the heart in every Jew. Through teaching the mysticism of the Torah, often called by the Zohar "Nishmasa D'Oraisa"-"the soul of the Torah", he uncovered the inner strata of the soul. Furthering the mission of the Baal Shem Tov, Maayon Yisroel hosts many classes for men and women, for beginners and advanced students of Jewish Mysticism. In addition, lectures are widely distributed on CD's and through the Internet. In the near future, live streaming video will be available. Construction of a comprehensive library of relevant English and Hebrew texts is underway.<br> Nature and the Soul<br> <br> The early years of the Baal Shem Tov were spent outdoors in the forests, hills, meadows, streams and lakes of the Carpathian Mountains, where he served and connected to G-D enveloped by nature. Time away from the distractions and noise of city life, among the chirping birds and fluttering leaves provides a natural setting that is conducive for meditation in a unique way. Maayon Yisroel works to refresh the spirit and tap into the Soul through learning hikes, camping Shabbatons, backpacking trips and other nature excursions.<br> Music is the Pen of the Soul<br> <br> Chassidic Philosophy teaches that music has the power to connect to places that are beyond words. The Baal Shem Tov utilized song and music as an integral part of serving G-D. Many beautiful melodies were composed by the Rebbes and Chassidim. Maayon Yisroel seeks to bring back this tradition by teaching niggunim, and hosting musical events, including concerts, Melave Malkas and kumzitzs' lead by talented singers and musicians.<br> The Next Generation<br> <br> The Baal Shem Tov appreciated the innocence and sincere qualities of children and took a special interest in their care and education. Through singing and stories he nurtured and cultivated their love for G-D and his Torah. We too have the opportunity to provide for our children in a meaningful and profound manner. Maayon Yisroel creates adventurous, soul stimulating programs fusing stories, music, singing and dancing with hiking, camping and fishing, which are designed to facilitate joy and a deep passion for Judaism.<br> Heartfelt Prayer<br> <br> Fervent and passionate prayer were the hallmark of the Baal Shem Tov's Chassidic movement. He taught that prayer is the medium for the soul to bond and cleave to its Maker. Maayon Yisroel's classes, environment and community strive to develop a mystical and heartfelt dimension to prayer. Opening with learning, incorporating song and a respectful pace are staples of Maayon Yisroel's approach to prayer, to ignite the heart and reveal the Soul.
By Rabbi Reuven Wolf / Maayon Yisroel
Armageddon, Oil and Terror authors discuss this fascinating new book, including the 12 events leading up to Armageddon. You will be surprised to hear how today’s headlines are straight out of Biblical Prophecy
By Dr. Mark Hitchcock and Dr. John E. Walvoord
Draw everyday inspiration from the depths of the Parsha as Rabbi Reuven Wolf weaves mystical interpretation with chassidic teachings into a strong and powerful message that enriches and inspires.
By Rabbi Reuven Wolf