Event Update: Content is evolving in response to current events. To meet community needs, educators and artists will focus on ancient Jewish practices for comfort, grounding and spiritual care. Join us for hands-on rituals, conversations and holistic wellness during these difficult times.
From its first appearance on the spiritual scene, Judaism has been infused with magical creatures, protective symbols, prophetic dreams, and both wondrous and terrifying miracles. Over centuries, across the world and in part due to assimilation, magic practices have been sidelined in modern Jewish life. Join the artists, educators, practitioners and spiritual guides who are recovering these ancient practices and explore how they can inform and inspire our lives today.
Throughout the event, stop by to connect with Lia Leibman, Herbalist to explore Ancestral Jewish herbal amulets. Our Jewish ancestors had ancient, rich, and deep relationships with healing and protective plants. Interact with these herbal allies and make your own personalized amulet while reclaiming your ancestral herbal magic.
Peruse the intriguing sessions below. The event begins with a group welcome followed by two 60-minute breakout sessions. You’ll get to choose one learning for each breakout session. Stay tuned for a welcome email with session times closer to the Nov 12 event date.
Thank you to our community partners: Sha’ar Zahav, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Moishe House – Rockridge
The Golem: The Jewish Artificial Intelligence
Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Sha’ar Zahav & Echad Leah, AI Interaction Designer
Centuries ago, our ancestors wrote of a magical being called the Golem. This proto-robot did household chores, protected our towns, and may have inspired Frankenstein. Like AI, the Golem challenges our notions of human particularity, creativity, and potential. Join Rabbi Copeland and Echad Leah for a fascinating exploration of the Golem and AI. No experience necessary! We’ll talk about Golem’s souls, humans’ lived experience, and how AI actually works.
Astrology and Judaism? It’s complicated
Katie Simpson, Katie Anne Astrology
Astrology has been debated, loved, and criticized throughout Jewish history. Why is it so complicated? We’ll explore a few texts to see why it’s not clear cut.
Rosh Chodesh Rituals & The Magic of the Elements
Carey Averbook, JCCSF Peer Connector & Spiritual Care
Rosh Chodesh is the beginning of a new month in the Hebrew calendar, and it aligns with the sliver of a new moon. We will learn about this holiday through history, explore ways you can use the marking of Rosh Chodesh for well-being in your life, and do an embodied ritual for the new month of Kislev.
Applied Clinical Demonology
Rabbi Jeremy D. Sher, M.Div., BCC Staff Chaplain, UCSF Health Rabbi, San Francisco Night Ministry Rabbi, Kanfot Ha’aretz
Learn practical ways to help people who experience demonic possession, informed by Jewish text, tradition, and theology, as well as clinical research. We’ll also spend a little time exploring the nature of evil. Rabbi Sher is a national authority on demonic possession in psychiatric patients; he has presented to the Association of Professional Chaplains on this topic, and his article “Chaplain, Can You Do an Exorcism?” was published in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin in 2020.
A Hamsa For Protection: In Morocco Then, In the Bay Now
Arielle Tonkin, Artist, Spiritual Director & Educator
Handprints (think Altamira cave paintings) have been a human signature mark and image for tens of thousands of years. According to Khalid El Gharib, author of The Hand in Morocco: Hamsa, Art, Symbol and Tradition, people used these “magic” representations to assert their resistance to fear of external dangers and forces. Contemporary Tunisian Jewish artist Rafram Haddad and many other SWANA artists and culture makers still explore this form in our histories and in our artwork, ritual, and performance practices. Discover Sephardi and Mizrahi amulets in historical and contemporary art, and join a somatic invitation connecting our hands with prayers for protection.
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