Scholar in Residence, Lakeside Congregation, Highland Park, IL | Sessions on Meditation, The Queer Patriarchs, and iSpirituality

at Lakeside Congregation
1221 County Line Road
Highland Park, IL

SIR Poster 2013Join Dr. Jay Michaelson for a weekend of learning. Jay will be speaking on the following topics:

Meditation: Brainhacking Your Way to Happiness (Friday night, 8pm)

The last twenty years have witnessed a revolution in the West’s embrace of meditation. Mindfulness is now everywhere: schools, hospitals, even the U.S. Marines. But the most radical changes are yet to come. With new scientific data showing how meditation changes the brain, contemplative practice is set to explode. Based on his new book, “Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment,” Jay will explain and contextualize some of this new information, changing everything you thought you knew about the brain, meditation, and the meaning of happiness. Second, we’ll explore a few “portable” Jewish mindfulness execises, so that you can put theory into practice, no matter how busy your life is.

Beyond the Rainbow: The Surprisingly “Queer” Stories of Abraham, Jacob, and David, and What they Can Teach All of Us Today (Saturday night, 8pm; cocktails and dinner at 5:30)

Three of the great heroes of Judaism — its founder, its namesake, and its greatest king — all learned something very important about gender and God in homoeroticized encounters with other men… something which impacts how our tradition construes the ideal man and the ideal servant of God. Beyond the rainbow of LGBT acceptance, what can we all learn from these sexually variant stories in our sacred scripture?

iSpirituality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 21st Century Judaism (Sunday morning, 10:15am)

Traditional Jewish institutions are in trouble. Denominations are going broke, federations are struggling to retain relevance, and the old model of the synagogue is increasingly being questioned. Is this the end of the Jewish world, or the beginning? Jay Michaelson, the writer and activist recently named to the Forward 50 list of the “people creating the Judaism of the 21st century,” thinks this is a moment of great opportunity. Particularly among younger, educated Jews, there is a renaissance underway of new Jewish culture, spirituality, and identity. Transcending conventional movements, ideologies, and labels, young Jews are congregating on their own for prayer, spiritual practice, and cultural activities. They are mixing and matching from different religions and cultures, and are no longer quite as enchanted with the totems of of antisemitism, Israel, and the Holocaust. What can we do to make the most of this new, postmodern American Judaism — in our congregations, our homes, and our lives together?