I am now serving Or Shalom Jewish Community, as the Interim Rabbi (half-time). You can reach me there at RabbiChaya@orshalom.org (as of Oct. 10, 2022). Join me for services and other events by checking out our website: www.orshalom.org.
Jewish Prayer as Medicine Using Writing
Unpacking prayer through study, writing, and sharing in a small group. This class is available to people of all levels of Jewish learning. We will explore a few key Jewish prayers, but more importantly, I will teach you an approach to gaining access to prayer and making it personal.
Wednesday night: March 8, 22, 29, 2023, 7-8:30 p.m. on Zoom.
Contact me to register (no fee).
I have developed a unique approach to studying Torah that I call Torahscope. We begin with each participant’s birth portion, the Torah portion that was being read in synagogue the week you were born. This approach has been highly successful helping the most skeptical grasp the power of Torah study. I am also available for other forms of Torah study. I believe that we need to ask the question, “how can Torah guide me, our communities, or the world?” This class will be offered again in the Fall/Winter of 2023. This class is limited to 7 people and runs for 8 weeks. Please contact me here for more information and to apply to save your spot in the next opening.
Spiritual Direction Groups Using Writing and Devotional Listening
Group Spiritual Direction is a process of listening to the still small voice within, in a group setting. We use writing and devotional listening to deepen our awareness of the Sacred in our lives. You don’t have to be religious or Jewish to join. We often use Jewish texts as portals into our reflections.
Each group is limited to five or six people each. We meet for four sessions (every other week). At the end of this time, some people continue, some join, and some people feel complete. Please contact me here for more information and to apply to save your spot in the next opening in the Fall of 2023.
Also see the Group Spiritual Direction page.
ALEPH Smicha Week
June 27-July 1, 2022
15-hour Pastoral Counseling Survey Class for Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) Students
Soothing Our Hearts with Artistic Expression
Sunday, June 12, 2022, Kavod v’Nichum Conference, workshop leader
How can we use artistic expression as portals to moving through grief? Rabbi Ilan shared the words of our tradition with original melodies as a balm leading to wholeness. Rabbi Me’irah articulated her personal journey of painting out her grief. I offered a container to share and be heard in a sacred context using the portals of abstract art and writing with an emphasis on making meaning of our experience.
Where Does Your Heart Need Tending?
Monday, June 12, 2022, Kavod v Nichum Conference, workshop leader
We engage with grief and mourning through our work, our learning, and our personal experience. Together we learned ways to integrate and explore where your heart needs tending to through writing, sharing and Devotional Listening.
Leading Shabbat Services at Yavneh
Friday, May 13, 2022, 7:30 EST
Death and Taxes: Planning for the Inevitable
Sunday, May 15, 2022, 10 a.m. Temple Beth Torah, Fremont
Panelist re End of Life Issues
A Taste of Jewish Prayer as Medicine-Using Writing to Access the Portal of Prayer
Sunday, May 1, 2022, 3-5, PST, on zoom to accommodate people from many locations. 16 people attended.
Accessing prayer has many portals. For some it is music, others text, some dance, others study. We had a taste of finding our own stories woven into prayers we may or may not have experience with. With the assistance of learning, writing and witnessing, we asked the question “How is this prayer meant just for me as medicine?” This process helped us access and recognize prayer in general, not just the ones we will have time to learn.
What Moves You? Spiritual Reflections and Communal Meal
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 5:30PM
Spiritual Reflection: A time of spiritual hospitality in the Moss Lounge @ the 222, Healdsburg.
A contemplative experience of shared spiritual reflections upon a sacred text from different faith traditions. We heard a sacred text from the Jewish tradition in a contemplative manner, three times through. After each time, we shared responses and insights.
National Partnership for Hospice and Healthcare Innovation (NPHI)
Social Services Staff Meeting, March 17, 2021
I provided support to staff through a participatory creative expression session to assist participants in processing their experience of providing services to families and those at the end of life.
National Partnership for Hospice and Healthcare Innovation (NPHI) Annual Summit
November 3 – 5, 2021
Seven-Minute Immersion Ceremony
When G-d Grieves, Who Comforts?
Tisha B’av, August 6, 2022, 8:30 p.m.
Guest Rabbi (Santa Cruz Jewish Communities), Bring pen and paper for reflection.
Second Day Rosh Hashanah, 2022
September 27, 2022
Rabbi Chaya Gusfield and Musician/Educator Jen Myzel co-led Second Day Rosh Hashanah at Kehillah Community Synagogue (Tuesday morning, 9:15 a.m.) Hybrid service. This service was reflective, intimate, and joyous including the sound of the shofar, with original and traditional music. (For the youtube recording of the service click here. (You will need to rewind to beginning.)
Second Day Morning Rosh Hashanah Service, 2021
September 8, 2021, with Eve Decker at Kehilla Community Synagogue
Eve and I co-led for our 10th year a contemplative and personal second day Rosh Hashanah service drawing on Jewish and Buddhist teachings. For the recording of this drash, go here: Rabbi Chaya Gusfield’s Second Day Rosh Hashanah Sermon. Also see the text of my teaching on my blog, Chaya’s Garden.
Give Me Your Hand: Exploring our Tradition – Visiting the Sick and Why it Matters
Sunday, May 15, 2021, Shavuot JCC East Bay
Hospice Chaplain Support Through Creative Expression (Capital Hospice)
May 18, 2021
We used writingto explore our own grief and resilience, as well as practiced offering blessings to those who have no religious affiliation.
Guest Rabbi: Torah Study, Congregation Beth Shalom, Modesto and Chadeish Yameinu, Santa Cruz (online)
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Welcome to the Cancer Cafe, performance and discussion
Thursday, February 4, 2021
Virtual broadcast of performance, and Q&A discussion with Judith Dambowic and Rabbi Chaya Gusfield. Learn more here.
Watch the performance on YouTube | Watch the Q&A Session
Introducing the Artists’ Grief Deck
January 28, 2021
Reimagine event where artists shared their work developing a deck to assist people grieving. I read a poem I wrote that was incorporated into the deck.
See The Artist’s Grief Deck project here.