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Mercaz HaLev: Heart-Centered Judaism at BAI

Mercaz HaLev: Heart- Centered Judaism at BAI for the mind, body and soul.

Mercaz HaLev (literally, “the heart center”), is an initiative to bring together the ongoing work of our clergy and lay leaders in the realm of Jewish Spirituality. Mercaz HaLev is both a physical place, a place within each of us, and a place that exists when we do this sacred work in community. This sacred work or Avodah, as expressed under the umbrella of Mercaz HaLev encompasses the following:
  • Study of ancient and contemporary Jewish text
  • Music and Prayer
  • Movement and Yoga
  • Meditation and Mindfulness Practice
  • Tikkun Midot Learning
It is bringing engaging speakers, artists, and teachers to share their practice and wisdom, all with the aim of deepening one’s connection to and passion for Jewish practice.
Starting in September,  experience the many offerings of  Mercaz HaLev at Beth Am Israel.
Our first  set of events take place on the weekend of September 20, when we welcome Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Scholar in residence at Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBTQ shul in Brooklyn,  for Shabbat and special ‘pre-Slichot’ (the prayers of forgiveness offered the week before Rosh Hashanah)program.

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz is a deeply traditional and radically progressive advocate for trans rights and a vocal ally for LGBT inclusivity. Raised as a secular Jew in Richmond, Virginia, he began identifying as Orthodox at 17 and spent the next 20 years learning and teaching in the world of yeshivahs. Rabbi Moskowitz received three Ultra Orthodox ordinations while learning in the Mir, in Jerusalem, and in Beth Medrash Gevoha, in Lakewood, New Jersey. His work on behalf of trans rights began while he served as the Rabbi of the Old Broadway Synagogue in Harlem and as the Aish NY Rabbi at Columbia University. Most recently,Rabbi Moskowitz was the senior educator for Uri L’Tzedek – Orthodox Social Justice.

At CBST, Rabbi Moskowitz studies, writes, and teaches on trans issues and Jewish sources, creating a body of work that Jews all over the world will be able to use. He represents CBST, speaking and teaching on these topics in other communities, including congregations, colleges, day schools, Jewish community centers, interfaith events, and academic conferences.

Shabbat, September 21

9:00 am- Join us as we learn with Rabbi Mike MoskowitzAllyship as Spiritual Practice– How can we continue to strengthen our sense of communal responsibility, advanced through our quest for inclusivity and human dignity?
6:00 pm- Seudah Shlishit (Third Meal)
6:30 pm- Expanding the “We” for Rosh Hashanah– Rabbi Moskowitz’s teaching will lead us into Havdalah.
7:45 pm- Havdalah
8:00 pm- Slichot- prayers for forgiveness.

Our Offerings:

Shacharit and Song with Hazzan Harold- Weekly on Wednesday

The weekday morning service- sing, breath and stretch through the morning service with Hazzan Harold. Livestream available.

Thursday morning Tefilah- Weekly on Thursday

A new weekly offering featuring prayer, mindfulness practice and torah.

Embodied Prayer with Nicole Levin – Monthly

Through gentle movement, breath work, and chanting we will embody the essence of prayer. Gentle practice requires no previous experience. 

Music Prayer Lab with Hazzan Harold – Monthly

Join a group of dedicated musicians, pray-ers, and fellow travelers  who are all interested in the collaboration of prayer, music making and intentional community.

Every Moment is an Opportunity to Practice- Select Sundays

A new offering on the mindfulness meditation using words of Torah to inspire our embodied experience. Adults and teens post-B’nai Mitzvah age welcome. The fall dates:

  • September 22 and 29
  • October 6, 13 and 27
  • November 3, 10 and 17