Jon Aaron (Wednesday PM) took his training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He has practiced mindfulness meditation (in the Theravada Buddhist tradition) for the past 10 years and other types of meditation for considerably longer. His teachers have included Matthew Flickstein (author of The Atlas of the Mind), Bhante Gunaratana (author of Mindfulness in Plain English), Bhante Rahula and Melissa Blacker (MBSR). He currently teaches meditation at the JCC, The Federal Reserve Bank and at Yoga Sutra. He has been actively involved in the performing arts world for the past 27 years as producer, manager, agent and festival director working with a diverse array of international artists. He is a trained musician and has also trained in dispute resolution.
Rabbi Rachel Cowan (Wednesday AM) received her ordination form Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989. From 1990-2003 she was Program Director for Jewish Life at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She is now the director of the Institute for Jewish Sprituality. Rachel studied meditation with Sylvia Boorstein and others and co-leads the contemplative practice program at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun. Her writing has been included in Moment and Sh'ma magazines as well as in anthologies, including Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition: Writings from the Bible to Today. She is the author, with her late husband Paul Cowan, of Mixed Blessings: Untangling the Knots in an Interfaith Marriage. In 2007 she was selected as one of the 50 most influential rabbis by Newsweek Magazine.
Shalom Gorewitz (Monday AM) has meditated in many traditions and with diverse techniques since 1966 including Zen, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Dynamic Meditation, as well as extensive research and experience with Jewish approaches to contemplative practices. He was especially influenced by Martin Buber’s writing about similarities and differences between Hasidism and Zen, experiences with Reb Zalman Schachter, and the generous insights provided by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. More recently, he has been inspired by workshops and meditation experiences with Shefa Gold, Jonathan Slater, Arthur Waskow, and Michael Strassfeld, rabbis who are leading us back to sources and methods of these important elements of a Jewish life. Gorewitz teaches art and critical culture courses at Ramapo College and is a well known artist whose work has been shown in 3 Whitney Biennials, 3 exhibitions at New York’s Jewish Museum, and on PBS and other broadcast channels, as well as in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; the Sofia, Madrid; and others. Some of his work, including Black Fire, Meditations for Moses, Ten Thousand Things, and The Shape of Emptiness reflect his research and practice.
Sheila K. Lewis (Friday AM) has been practicing meditation and yoga for 30 years, and instructing in spiritual practice since the 1980’s based on classic Indian traditions (such as self-inquiry), Reiki, creative arts, Jewish spirituality and a synthesis of healing modalities. Sheila received an MA in Educational Media from Columbia University and writes and develops educational curriculum for non-profits and creative workshops. She has studied and practiced many healing modalities and was the assistant director of “Waters of Life”, a holistic health center. She was the co-author (with husband, Sheldon Lewis) of Stress-Proofing Your Child.
Sheldon Lewis (Friday AM) a pioneer journalist and editor in the mind-body health field, edits several journals. He has practiced meditation, taught and led programs in spiritual practice since the 1980’s. With an MA from NYU in Performance Studies, he is interested in group process and performance. Sheldon is a health coach who has assisted patients and their families with serious illness in navigating the health care system using alternative and conventional therapies. He is co-author of The Human Side of Cancer and Stress-Proofing Your Child. Sheila and Sheldon enjoy teaching contemplative practices to help enhance the power of meditation in peoples’ lives.
Rabbi Jay Henry Moses (Wednesday AM) is an alumnus of the Rabbinic Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, an intensive study, meditation and retreat program. He was a congregational rabbi in Chicago for five years, and in 2002-03, he spent the year in Jerusalem studying Jewish mysticism. In addition to his work at Makom, Jay has also taught at the 92nd Street Y and the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning. He currently works at the Wexner Foundation as the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program.
Elaine Retholtz (Wednesday PM) was introduced to mindfulness practice in 1988. She completed the practicum in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as well as the Teacher Development Intensive at the Center for Mindfulness in Worcester, Massachusetts. She teaches MBSR in a variety of venues including the JCC, The TriState College of Acupuncture, and at Rivington House Adult Health Care Facility, where she is the Coordinator of Complementary Care Services. Currently she is a participant in the third Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders Program, as well as on the Teachers' Council of New York Insight Meditation Center.
Rabbi Jonathan Slater (Monday and Tuesday PM) is a Co-Director of programs of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. These programs offer a retreat-based study programs for rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and laypeople to support them in their spiritual growth and meditation practice, grounded in Jewish texts and traditions. He was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary and has served congregations in New York and California. He was trained in meditation by Sylvia Boorstein and others and has been part of the Makom faculty since the JCC opened its doors. Jonathan is the author of Mindful Jewish Living: Compassionate Practice.
Dr. Linda Thal (Tuesday AM) is a Jewish educator and spiritual director whose current work focuses on adult spiritual development. In addition to providing spiritual guidance for individuals, she is co-director of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction and its national Morei Derekh training program. Linda leads a two-year program of spiritual exploration and growth for lay leaders through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She received her doctorate in religion and education at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia Teachers College and her training in spiritual direction at Fordham University. She has studied Jewish meditation with Rabbi Jonathan Omer-man and in a three-year teachers’ training program through Chochmat Halev. She studied mindfulness meditation with Sylvia Boorstein and Sheila Peltz Weinberg in the Meditation Leadership Training program at Elat Chayim. Linda serves as a consultant to the Central Conference of Reform Rabbis Committee on Rabbinic Spirituality and has contributed chapters on adult spirituality to two recently published books.
Bernice Todres (Thursday AM and PM) is a consultant in Mind-Body Medicine, has been teaching meditation for over 30 years and has been a part of the Makom faculty since the opening of the JCC. She is a certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, specializing in Sleep. Her CD "Sweet Dreams" has just been released.