God, Gender, and Justice: A Seattle Shabbaton

at Bet Alef-Seattle, WA
Queen Anne United Methodist Church
Bellevue, WA


November 12-13, 2010

Seattle, WA

Join Nehirim, Kolenu, and the Bet Alef Learning Institute (BALI) in Seattle for a Shabbat of learning, discussion, and conversation about the nexus between spirituality, sexuality, and social justice. This day we will be sharing together, surrounded by expert teachers of international renown, will help us make sense of what is taking place both in the inner dimensions of self and in the outer world. It will support our exploration of the new edge of identity, help us make friends with what challenges us, and bring clarity to what confuses us. It promises to be a day that will expand our minds and heal what divides us.

Teachers include Nehirim’s Jay Michaelson, Bet Alef’s Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, Dr. Terri O’ Fallon from the Seattle Integral Community and, via Skype, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

Location: Queen Anne United Methodist Church

Cost:$85 Bet Alef Members, $95 Non-Members.  Senior and student discounts available

E-mail to register and arrange for payment options.


Friday, November 12

730pm – Nishmat Shabbat: A meditative Shabbat service with chanting, kirtan, and music, with Dianna Rose, Jay Michaelson and Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

830pm – Jay Michaelson, God Versus Gay?  The Religious Case for Gay Rights… and why we need to make it

Saturday, November 13

930am – Meditation with Rabbi Olivier.  Integrating the masculine and feminine within.

1030am-12pm – Torah study and discussion looking at the problematic Biblical texts that speak of exclusion and discrimination and reclaiming/reframing the voice of God and morality.

12pm – Lunch

1pm – Jay Michaelson, Why the Christian Right is More Right Than it Knows: Sexuality, Justice, and Integral Religious Development.

230 – Discussion with Terri O’Fallon (Pacific Integral), Joe Perez (Soulfully Gay), Yael Sachs, Rabbi Olivier, and Jay Michaelson

430 – Havdalah and Break for Dinner

630 – Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi – Live Video Conversation on Sexuality and Spirituality

8pm – Concluding words followed by celebration of the day with Havdalah and more singing and dancing with Dianna Rose, Jay Michaelson and Rabbi Olivier.


Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, is an innovative leader in ecumenical dialogue and founder of the Jewish Renewal and Spiritual Eldering movements.He was ordained in the Chassidic lineage of the Lubavitch in 1947. He later received a Master of Arts degree in the Psychology of Religion in 1956 from Boston University and a Doctor of Hebrew Letters degree from Hebrew Union College in 1968.Throughout his long career, Reb Zalman has been an unending resource for the world religious community. He is, today, one of the world’s foremost authorities and an active teacher of Hasidism and Jewish Mysticism.

Jay Michaelson

Jay Michaelson is the author of three books and two hundred articles about the intersections of religion, sexuality, and law. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, is completing his Ph.D. in Jewish Thought at Hebrew University, and is the founder of Nehirim, now the leading national provider of community programming for LGBT Jews, partners, and allies. Recently named to the “Forward 50” list of the most innovative Jewish leaders in America, Jay is a columnist for the Forward, Huffington Post, and Tikkun, and has held teaching positions at Boston University Law School and Yale. His work on behalf of LGBT people in faith communities has been covered by the New York Times, NPR, and CNN. Jay’s most recent book is “Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism” (Shambhala, 2009), and his next one is “The Religious Case for Gay Rights” (Beacon, 2011).

Rabbi Olivier BenHaim

With an Orthodox/Conservative, French, Sepharadic-Mizrachi background, Rabbi Olivier BenHaim has been a student of Torah and of the Jewish way for most of his life. He lived in Israel for close to 10 years, where he studied in Jerusalem with many teachers of the Jewish spiritual path, both in Yeshivas and scholarly circles. Rabbi Olivier is the Rabbi of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue in Seattle. He received a B.A. and a Masters Degree in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College in Newton, MA. He was ordained as a Rabbi in 2009. Rabbi Olivier is a teacher of non-dual Judaism, anchored in Jewish tradition. He approaches Torah as a paradigm for spiritual awakening and a lens for exploring one’s Jewish identity. He fosters a Jewish spiritual practice which includes guided and silent meditations, mystical chant, ecstatic music, song & dance.

Yael Sachs

Yael Sachs was born in Israel, raised in Japan, and currently resides in Seattle. Her career has spanned hi-tech, non-profits and international development, and through it all, her biggest passions remain teaching and learning. Her role as an educator has spanned four years teaching in the Women’s Studies Program at Haifa University, a two year stint teaching gender awareness workshops in Kosovo and Macedonia, and guest lecturing at numerous venues and conferences in Israel, Europe and the US on sexuality, gender identity and politics, femme lesbianism and alternative lifestyles. Yael firmly believes that both gender and spirituality must be deconstructed by each person and then reconstructed in a personal and often fluid context that evolves and grows as we do.

Terri O’Fallon, PhD

Terri O’Fallon, PhD is a specialist in transformative learning and change in human systems and in distance learning. She has over 25 years of experience working with many different kinds of human systems, including business, community, educational and political. She has a Ph.D. in Integral Studies, concentrating in “Learning and Change in Human Systems” and she is a certified scorer of the Leadership Development Framework. Terri is presently a principal at Pacific Integral whose focus is to develop support for the relief of suffering on our planet and bring together people who are willing to experiment with new integral structures for realizing transformative change in evolutionary systems.