On Saturday, January 7, Rabbi Rachel will receive a second smicha / ordination, as a Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, or Jewish Spiritual Director.
A spiritual director or mashpi’ah is someone who offers guidance and teaching on matters of Jewish faith and practice, and on a personal relationship with the Divine. Reb Rachel’s ordination as a Mashpi’ah / Spiritual Director is the culmination of three years of study in the ALEPH Hashpa’ah Program, the first and only ordination program for Jewish spiritual directors.
The requirements of the training program include four intensive classes (learning done in-person on retreat), three semesters of teleconference coursework, four semesters of supervised practice with individuals and groups, and supplemental learning in related areas. Participants train individually and in group settings with mashpi’im (ordained spiritual directors) who support their spiritual growth in relationship to God and sacred service, and who model for them diverse modalities of spiritual counseling and spiritual direction.
The curriculum integrates the sacred arts of spiritual and pastoral counseling; personal, intercessory and communal prayer and ritual; the art of the maggid (story teller); spiritual approaches to Torah and mitzvot; personal and communal ethical development/mussar; working with elders on their journey of “sage-ing;” and other areas of learning.
As part of her training, Reb Rachel has offered individual and group spiritual direction within the CBI community; this fall she led a Sage-ing group, which was wildly successful and which she hopes will reconvene in the spring.
Reb Rachel will be ordained as a Mashpi’ah / Spiritual Director along with sixteen of her ALEPH colleagues. The ordination ceremony will take place on Saturday evening after havdalah at the OMNI hotel in Broomfield, Colorado; the following day will be the annual ALEPH ordination ceremony for new rabbis, rabbinic pastors, and cantors.
After this ordination, Reb Rachel will stay in Colorado for three more days for the annual conference of OHALAH, the alliance of clergy affiliated with Jewish Renewal; this year she was honored to be part of the planning committee for the OHALAH conference, and will also have the pleasure of co-leading prayer there on the final morning of the conference, preparing her teachers and colleagues for their journey home with spirit and joy.
If you’re interested in learning more about spiritual direction, and perhaps entering into a hashpa’ah experience for yourself, let Reb Rachel know.