Description of Organization
The Institute for Jewish Spirituality (IJS) was founded in 1999 in response to a challenge by then President of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Charles Halpern, to help Jews find greater access to the deep wisdom of the Jewish spiritual inheritance and to help them build lives of vital and engaged practice. Rabbi Rachel Cowan, then Jewish Life Program Officer at the Foundation, gathered a small group of colleagues who worked together to create an intensive, practice-based model of Jewish spiritual learning and exploration. In January 2000, IJS launched its first programs: an eighteen-month, retreat-based learning and practice program for rabbis and a similar year-long program for lay leaders. IJS believed that professional and lay Jewish leadership needed to work together to create structures of learning and exploration for Jews seeking a serious, contemplative, practice-based Judaism grounded in mindfulness meditation for the sake of transforming the world.