Center for Jewish Spirituality

“The Center for Jewish Spirituality at Congregation Kol Shofar seeks to deepen Jewish spiritual growth and learning. It is a place of experimentation and creativity with the common thread of shared practice: meditation, music, the study of Jewish mysticism, artistic expression and others that connect mind, body, and spirit. The CJS aims to help us cultivate our inner lives and our connection to the Divine, while building a community of fellow travelers on the spiritual path.” -CJS Mission Statement

Click here to download our CJS brochure

Contact for more information. Click here to join our CJS group on Facebook!

CJS: Women’s Rosh Hodesh Group Meetings with Ilene Serlin

(Usually the first or second Sunday of the month)

Rosh Hodesh means the “head of the new (moon)” and is celebrated monthly. Rosh Hodesh is considered a special holiday for women and is a time of rediscovering new and ancient ceremonies. In this group, we will explore text, chanting and movement rituals to explore the intention of each month.

2019 Sunday Rosh Hodesh Dates:

August 4
September 1
Oct 27
Dec 1

Upcoming Events:

Opprtunities to Lead 
Hello CJS members! Many of you have participated in our programs and enhanced your spiritual lives. Now is the time to help offer that to others. For several years a small committee has provided leadership and direction to CJS. It is time now to grow that committee because we have new tasks to perform, including promotion and outreach.  We are asking for you to make a small commitment of time that can make a big difference in our community. Please let us know of your willingness to get involved with CJS by emailing the Center for Jewish Spirituality
Ongoing Opportunities
Women’s Rosh Hodesh Group with Ilene Serlin
Sunday, August 4,  5:00-7:00 p.m. 
Rosh Hodesh means head of the new moon & is celebrated monthly as a special holiday for women. There are gatherings on Sundays & shabbat dinners.  Usually the first Sundays of the Month 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Shabbat Sit with Larry & Diane Yermack
A Shabbat meditation alternative
Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(No Shabbat Sit on Kol Neshama Minyan days)

Kol Neshama Minyan 
Date TBA
Join our rabbis, lay leaders, and special guests for a musical, meditative, and participatory prayer experience, during which we’ll find quiet space to sink into the peace of Shabbat, and we’ll give joyous voice to our neshamas (souls) as we open our hearts to Shabbat and to each other. The words “kol neshama” means “voice of the soul/breath.”  Please note there is no Shabbat Sit on mornings where there is a Kol Neshama Minyan. 

Mindfulness Meditation as High Holiday Preparation
with Larry & Diane Yermack
4 session course: Mondays, September 9, 16, 23 & October 7
1:00-2:30 p.m. in the Osher-marin JCC Gallery
“To you silence is praise” Psalm 65:1

The High Holidays are a time of reflection on the past year and an anticipation of what is yet to be. Entering into the Holidays with some meditation experience or even an established practice may change your experience profoundly. This four-week course interweaves Jewish meditation and thousands of years of Jewish wisdom for depth and context. Over the course of 4 weeks we will explore different forms of meditation that will be contextualized with relevant Jewish wisdom. No prior meditation training required.

Judaism teaches us that the universe is reborn with the first sounds of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Begin your meditation practice anew this season, and build an important tool to allow you to slow down and experience life in the present moment, as it actually unfolds

The course will be offered by Larry and Diane Yermack who lead a weekly meditation group at Congregation Kol Shofar and have years of experience as meditation teachers. Wear comfortable clothing and come with an open mind.

Please RSVP for this free event by emailing:

The Well: Practice for Deeper Jewish Living

The Well is an intensive, year-long, retreat-based program of sustained learning and practice for Jews seeking to live guided by Jewish spiritual teachings. The program will help participants cultivate greater wisdom, clarity, and compassion, supported by Jewish text, tradition, practice, and community.

The Well is unique in adult Jewish education: deep and continuous Jewish study and spiritual engagement in community with teacher-practitioners and fellow seekers. This trusted and supportive community combined with immersive retreat-based practice yield insights and the motivation to practice.

Participants will learn about and practice several different Jewish spiritual modalities, including:

▮ Jewish mindfulness meditation
▮ Contemplative prayer
▮ Tikkun middot (cultivation of ethical traits),
▮ Reflective text study
▮ Embodied awareness in movement

— understanding that individuals will resonate with different practices
To learn more about the Well- Institutute for Jewish Spirituality Intensive click here:

The Roots of Community
Rabbi Jonathan Slater
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that it is easier to meditate with other people. In fact, I know that I’m not. I hear it all the time: from people who are just beginning, to long-term meditators, to people who haven’t even meditated but who imagine what it would be like to just sit by themselves. Not everyone here is a wuss, unable to “do the work” that meditating seems to take. Not everyone is afraid of being alone. Not everyone is unable to sustain their practice on their own. So, there must be something to practicing together.

Kol Neshama Minyan
Join our rabbis, lay leaders, and special guests for a musical, meditative, and participatory prayer experience, during which we’ll find quiet space to sink into the peace of Shabbat, and we’ll give joyous voice to our neshamas (souls) as we open our hearts to Shabbat and to each other. The words “kol neshama” means “voice of the soul/breath.”

This month’s Kol Neshama Minyan will be led by Arik Labowitz!

Date TBD

About The Center for Jewish Spirituality

The Center for Jewish Spirituality at Kol Shofar (CJS) was created to meet a growing desire for Jews in our community to explore alternative paths within Judaism. CJS offers alternative opportunities for spiritual growth that are both accessible and deep and which include meditation, music and practices that connect mind and body. It is the place to openly approach the multiple dimensions of Jewish tradition and to explore alternative practices for transformative Jewish learning.

More than half of the Jews of Marin County consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” We’ve known this for more than a decade ever since the study conducted by the late community researcher Gary Tobin, titled “Religious & Spiritual Change in America: The Experience of Marin County, California.” Our community is aware of the large number of Jews who have turned to Eastern Religions and other spiritual paths because the traditional Jewish community did not meet their spiritual needs. With the Center for Jewish Spirituality, we hope to meet those needs and intend to provide a space where wisdom is cultivated and individuals can learn techniques for contemplative Jewish practice and study.

More than 500 individuals from all over the Bay Area attend our annual Musical Meditation services at the High Holy Days. The monthly Kol Neshama Minyan, weekly Shabbat Sit and Mindful Aging class have grown significantly during the past three years.

Congregation Kol Shofar has a strong history of providing various options for Jewish learning and ritual in addition to its vibrant traditional services and classes. The openness to the many paths that lead people through their Jewish lives is central to our work as a Conservative synagogue in Marin. Our experiential approach to learning is continually reflected in our youth and teen programs, scholar-in-residence events, and volunteer-led classes.

We welcome your involvement in activities that will be offered in an authentically Jewish way. The Center for Jewish Spirituality will provide opportunities to meet others with like interests as well as deepen your spiritual life.

For more information contact or join our Facebook group

Past Programs beginning in Fall 2014

Ongoing Groups and Services
Kol Neshama Minyan with Rabbi Chai Levy
Shabbat Sit Meditation with Larry Yermack
Rosh Hodesh group with Ilene Serlin
Home Hosted Shabbat dinners organized by Meg Rose

Special Events and Guest Teachers
Musical Shabbat with Darshan (Shir Yaakov Feinstein-Feit and Eden Pearlstein/Eprhyme)
Sacred Chant Shabbat with Rabbi Shefa Gold
Concert with the Kirtan Rabbi, Andrew Hahn
Rabbi Rachel Cowan on Wise Aging
Rabbi Jonathan Slater on Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
Rabbi David Ingber
Norman Fisher
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg on God Loves the Stranger
Estelle Frankel on the Wisdom of Not Knowing
Rabbi Burt Jacobson on the Baal Shem Tov
Summer outdoor musical Shabbat services at Louise’s house with Achi Ben-Shalom
Musical Meditation Friday nights with Rabbis Chai and Leider, Eliyahu Sills, and Surya Prakasha
Shabbat and Sunday retreats with Rabbi Chai Levy and Larry Yermack

Classes and Groups
Wise Aging groups with Larry Yermack
Jewish Mindfulness Meditation with Larry Yermack
The Spirituality of Jewish Parenting with Rabbi Chai Levy
Mussar Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Susan Leider
Jewish Sound Healing with Judy Berger and Diane Yermack
Shekhina Circle with Miki Raver
Midweek Mysticism, Meditation and Music with Rabbi Chai Levy

Embodied Practices
Dance Midrash: Jew-vinate with Rabbi Chai Levy
Sulam-Chi with Levi Ben-Shmuel
Torah Yoga with Rabbi Laurie Matzkin
Torah Yoga with Leah Kahn

Holiday Celebrations
Musical Meditation High Holyday services with Rabbi Chai Levy and the band
Yom Kippur Workshops with Ilene Serlin, Diane Yermack, and Judy Berger
High Holyday sits with Larry Yermack
Dove Govrin Tu B’Shvat Moving Meditation
Contemplative Passover Seder with Rabbi Chai Levy
Shavuot with Rabbi Shefa Gold and Sylvia Boorstein